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Creating a Living Lease

writing a living lease

A living document is one that is continuously changed or adjusted to ensure its ongoing applicability. Editors evaluate and edit it as the environment or situations and conditions demand. In some instances, this means a document will move away from its originally intended purpose or mission, but this isn’t always the case and definitely doesn’t have to be so. A document can be kept alive purely to ensure guidelines, limitations, etc., are always accurate.

More than one definition

A lease is a document that should always be kept alive. But, we mean this in more than one way. A lease should always be editable, allowing for alterations to areas such as pricing, property policies, application guidelines, and maintenance information, just to name a few. Your tenants change, the competition changes, and the environment changes, so it’s important to ensure your lease is reviewed on a regular basis, assessed against internal and external factors, and updates are made when necessary.

Alive and well with tenants

In the case of leases, however, keeping it alive takes more than just reviews and updates. It also requires having conversations about it and helping to ensure it is doing its job properly. It’s easy as an owner or manager to have tenants sign a lease and then expect they will do their part of the agreement and actually read and follow it. But, what we know from research (and human nature) is that very, very few renters take the time to read and understand all the guidelines.

The implications of renters who don’t read their leases is damage, broken promises, and more. The outcomes can be mild, but they can also wind up costing the property significant amounts of resources, including both time and money. If, in keeping the lease alive with tenants, you knew you could help reduce the risk of such outcomes, wouldn’t you do it?

The how-to

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Schedule time for reviews. It’s so easy to rush an applicant in and out of the process and just get them into a unit. But, setting some time aside to really stop and go over the most important aspects of the lease is critical. You can and should do it at the time of signing, but you can also offer individual or group “sessions” as well.
  2. Send reminders. Utilize email newsletters and other communication methods to provide brief reminders. You don’t have to take up a lot of space or time – just commit to communicating one or two important lease requirements each month.
  3. Offer reward. We all know how far incentives go with renters. Leverage this knowledge to get more commitment and response with regard to the lease. You can do something as simple as offering a 10% discount off one month’s rent when a tenant sits through such a session.

Let someone else handle it

Sometimes it’s just better to let a professional management company assume the worry and responsibility. That’s what Class A Management is here for, and we’d love to help. Contact us today to learn more by calling 817-295-5959 or sending an email to