Getting the paperwork correct when renting out a house for the first time can be a challenge. But the more experience you have with managing your real estate portfolio, the easier it is to understand the documents you need and the ones you don’t.

A huge factor in your success as a property owner is how you can maintain records of all your important documents. These documents guarantee that you and your tenant are in agreement over every aspect of your property.

To help you gain a better understanding of the important documents you need, we at T-Square Properties have put together the following guide:

Lease or Rental Contracts

You should always have your lease agreements available. All tenants living in the property should be listed on the leases, and everyone should sign the document and keep a copy of it. Including any co-signer or guarantor.

You must also disclose the monthly rent amount, due date, allowed payment methods, and whether late fees can apply. The tenant’s lease should state the size of the security deposit, and whether the renter’s insurance is necessary.

This agreement should also specify how often the property will be inspected and who will have access to the tenant’s unit.

Move-In and Move-Out Checklists

Make checklists to record the state of the property before and after each renter leaves the property. Every room in the property should be listed, along with spaces to describe the cleanliness of every element and appliance.


Go over the property and note the condition of each item on the list before the tenants arrive. Do this again after they leave and repeat the process.

Lease Renewal Letters

You can provide lease renewal opportunities to your tenants a month or two before the lease term expires. This helps you prevent extended vacancy periods and expensive property turnover fees. Even if the tenant decides not to renew, it can serve as evidence that the options were offered to them.

If the contract is renewed, landlords should conduct a renewal screening to ensure that the tenant’s financial and employment standing hasn’t changed.

Inspection Reports

A comprehensive walk-through is a good idea to prevent the frustrating situation of disputes with a renter regarding damage caused during the tenancy.

The purpose of this rental inspection report is to assist you in accurately documenting the condition of the property from the start of the tenancy. It can also serve as a checklist and report and a method to ensure you comply with housing standards.

It is highly recommended that you read this report with the tenant so you can be in agreement with each other on the outcome.

It is also important to include photographic documentation in this landlord document, which will serve as legal proof in case of a dispute and prevent disagreements over the property’s condition after the tenant vacates.

Rental Application Form


Landlords can use a rental application form to collect a range of personal data from prospective tenants and use that data to screen them to see if they are a suitable fit for a rental. Before signing a lease agreement, a landlord must evaluate all rental applications, to decide which prospect is the best for your property.

If all potential tenants receive the same rental application, it will guarantee fairness in your screening procedure. In order to comply with the Federal Fair Housing Act, this is essential. Discrimination against people on the basis of their race, skin color, nationality, religion, gender, age, family situation, or handicap is illegal as they are protected classes under the Federal Fair Housing Act.

Background Check Records

Landlords should examine their applicant’s credit and background when they submit an application.

As their landlord, you should then keep a copy of this information in the tenant’s file just in case something goes wrong later. Make a list of initial questions to pose to prospective tenants and make sure you’re posing the same question to everyone.

Call any references mentioned on the rental application as well. Then prepare a list of inquiries for each reference to ensure consistency and openness.

Move-Out Letter

If a renter decides to leave, you must write them a move-out letter outlining the conditions of their departure. Send the letter out two or three weeks prior to the departure date and then make sure you keep a copy of it, for your records.


In this case, you might wish to remind your tenants of the penalties for breaking the lease, such as fines or fees that would be removed from their deposit if they leave soiled or abandoned furniture on the property.

Request that they lock the door after they are done and give you a forwarding address where you may mail any remaining security deposit funds.

Bottom Line

Owning a rental property involves a lot of paperwork. But by keeping track of important documentation, you can be sure you’ll be ready for anything. So, by keeping the rental documents mentioned in article safe but on hand, it will make operating your rental property more convenient.

You can make sure that you and your tenants have a positive, professional connection during their tenancy by collecting all paperwork required to secure your property. But if you find keeping track of all the necessary papers becomes difficult, you can choose to hire a property manager to assist you.

At T-square Real Estate Services, Inc. we are a licensed real estate and property management company providing a variety of property management services to turn your property into a thriving investment.

We take pride in our ability to provide value to our clients by forging steadfast and enduring bonds with our property owners. Contact us today!

Disclaimer: This blog article is for informational purposes. The information contained in this blog article may not be the official policies of T-Square Properties.

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