Generally, I like to tell owners that the local apartment association is the best form to use. True, its not free, but its also been approved by the legal community in your area. Its not a generic form that may contain language that is unenforceable. For example, rent control laws are different from Oakland to San Francisco, and we are both bay area cities.
Having said that, there are quite a few places that offer free forms for you to download. The very first place to check would be your local apartment association. They will have all the forms you need and they will be legally correct for your locality. Most of these forms are for sale and it helps support the organization, but there are often some free forms to be had.
Its possible to cruise most of the associations and cull quite a few good forms. Our experience is that the apartment associations will have the best owner protection lease available and given the nature of the landlord tenant relationship its money well spent. We also suggest that all the tenant notices you may need when a problem cannot be simply talked out also be the proper form. The wrong form may cost you another month, since if exact procedure isn’t followed you often have to start the process from scratch.
The hunt for Free Forms
I used Google and searched for free landlord forms and then went to the associations. There were other choices, but I felt the professional organizations would have the best forms.
Some examples of my search
1. The Apartment Association of SE Wisconsin had two usable forms for keeping records of smoke detectors. They also had free tenant notification forms, but they were incorrect for California.
2. Coastal Credit Corp offered free tenant applications and rental or lease agreements
3. Apartment Association of Metro Denver has sample forms. You could get a good idea of what the form issues are and create your own.
4. Your Property Path has twenty or so free generic forms, from rental leases, parking and storage leases to other useful forms – all free
You can view sample forms and checklists – you cannot copy without permission, but you certainly can construct your own, careful not to plagiarize or break any copy write laws.
So, its possible with a little work to get a fairly complete book of forms that are ready to use and easily customizable. We like this approach as a lesson rather than a recommendation to use forms not approved by the legal community and apartment association in your area.
Howard bell for yourpropertypath. com