Rental Housing Forms
Regarding the particular subject of leases, there are a variety of lease agreements on the RHOL Forms Web and one can add clauses to one of them to cover special types of property or other special circumstances. A very large number of clauses are provided on a page that is linked from the top of the LEASES section of the list of forms. There is also information elsewhere on the RHOL site regarding some specific lease requirements of certain states.
One way to get a residential lease form that is most likely to be in conformance with a particular state's laws is to obtain one published by that state's Association of Realtors, as they generally have an attorney to keep their forms relatively up to date with the latest statutes. Unfortunately, Realtor Association lease forms usually suffer from the deficiencies that they are generic and relatively short. They usually do not cover many of the issues that can be important to specific types of properties. However, an astute landlord can benefit from comparing the Association's lease to other more complex lease agreements available from other sources such as RHOL. A local Landlord Association may also provide a good basic residential lease agreement for its members, although forms from this source usually suffer from the same deficiencies as those from Realtor Associations. Many landlord associations are listed on our Associations page ( http:///rental/associations.asp ) and in our Associations database, for which search forms are found on many pages including on the right side near the top of the Associations page.
Keep in mind that, no matter where the form comes from, it is the landlord who bears final responsibility for using a form meeting the legal requirements of the specific state and providing the terms that are adequate for the particular properties for which it is used. Accordingly, it is advisable for a landlord to always (1) read through the entire landlord-tenant law of his state, making notes about important issues; (2) be knowledgeable about important issues such as maximum security deposit, termination period, and when a deposit of a terminating tenant must be returned and/or accounted for; and (3) keep abreast of changes in the law. Unless legal advice or a legal agreement was provided by a competent attorney licensed in the landlord's own state, a landlord should personally check it against his state's law or have it checked by a competent landlord-tenant law attorney. The latest version of a state's landlord-tenant law is available from a number of sources, including often on the state's official web site.
Some RHOL forms are available only in one format -- HTML, Word, or PDF -- while others are available in two or all three of those formats. Most PDF forms are available as fillable forms.
Many government Web sites (e.g., the IRS and Courts in many jurisdictions) make their forms available in PDF format. Adobe now allows creation of PDF forms that can be filled in right on the computer screen and then saved and/or printed. In addition to providing better looking forms of all types, this is a particular advantage for Court forms because many judges want all the information typed and few of us have convenient access to typewriters any longer. You will find an * next to the names of those that are "fillable."
Non-members can view a list of forms that are available to members by clicking here .
Members can view and download forms by clicking here .
For more detailed information about using the forms and agreements and the various file formats, visit our Using Forms & Agreements page .