Why You Shouldn’t Assume Anything Regarding Your Renters and the Lease

You might not think you need to spell out every little thing in your lease agreement with your residents because some things are just common knowledge—everyone knows them, everyone follows them, and there’s no reason to waste time or paper writing them out.

But you’d be wrong.

It turns out that there really isn’t “universal knowledge.” What might be a “no duh” thing for you might not even occur to your renters.

Case in point: I was recently talking to a coworker, and referenced the classic teen movie Clueless. You know the one, of course—the updated version of Jane Austen’s Emma, the star-making turn for Alicia Silverstone that also starred a young Paul Rudd and a “chubby” (read: normal looking) Brittany Murphy, the reason people in the ’90s said a snotty “whatever” and then made a “w” with their fingers, and the source of the greatest insult of all time, ever. Like I said, it’s a classic.

And my coworker stared at me like I had spinach in my teeth. (I checked later. I didn’t.)

It was way harsh, Tai.

It’s not like I quote Clueless all the time (I obviously do it sporadically), so I was happy in my own bubble thinking that people would just know what I was referencing when I did quote it. But no. It boggles the mind. But some people haven’t seen it.

Are you willing to take that chance in your lease, that your residents will just know that it’s understood that they have to repaint the walls when they leave, or that they can’t replace appliances without getting your approval, or that they have to give full-size Snickers bars out for Halloween because no one likes raisins? Because, what if they’re first-time renters and don’t know better? Or what if they’re from a different culture or country and aren’t used to the typical leasing terms in your area? Or what if they just “forget” to make it easier on themselves so they can do whatever they want in the apartments?

If your renters do something you don’t like, and it wasn’t spelled out in the lease, well, too bad…for you.

So don’t just assume things. You know what they say about people who assume things, anyway. (They speak in cliches.)

As if!

-Jessica Fiur, News Editor