Experience is the best teacher… and this month, I learned quite a bit. In the age of working in the cloud, I have finally decided it’s time for me to reduce my business office’s foot print. I no longer need 800 square feet. So, I started looking at executive offices. It makes sense to share a conference room and a kitchen right? That way, I can save some money—and have neighbors to talk to when I choose.
So, after looking at a number of closets that proposed landlords were calling “offices,” I thought I finally found a good fit. It looked good. The property was undergoing a number of renovations—and so, the property looked so promising. After a couple of site visits, I decided to “sign on up.”
So, I asked for the lease. What I got was a 37 page single-spaced lease agreement—all for a 300 square foot office. Alarming right? Why 37 pages? When I sat down and began reading, I would be alarmed again and again.
If the lease has a mold addendum, WATCH OUT! The rental property likely has a mold problem. And what’s worse? Most of these addendums hold the tenants responsible if the tenants fail to take certain actions when the mold shows up in the rental home.
Exclusion of Appliances
Many leases will either expressly exclude appliances from the lease—or says nothing at all about them. If this happens, and your appliance stops working, the landlord will argue that the appliance is not covered by the lease—and thus, the tenant has no recourse. This means that if a tenant’s refrigerator, stove, or hot water heater stops working, the tenant is without recourse.
If a lease specifically says that it does not cover the air contiditoning… RUN! There’s probably a good chance that there is a problem with the air conditioning. Moreover, in the state of Florida, if the lease is silent, many landlords will argue that the lease does not cover the air conditioning. However, in my practice, I research the local housing codes to argue that the HVAC system must be in appropriate working condition.
If the lease is overly complicated or excludes or is silent about issues that are important to you, stop and consider whether you’re better off finding another rental property to rent.