E-Leasing Pitfalls to Avoid
by TSSA Staff with Review by TSSA Legal Counsel

The TSSA e-Lease has simplified the rental process significantly with its integration into the various management software programs. You have the security of using the TSSA lease agreement with the flexibility to choose the online rental and tenant management system that fits your business needs and processes best.

While this integration has created a streamlined process, each of these systems vary greatly in the way they collect information and how they allow you to execute the rental agreement. Because the features of each varies so widely, you will need to look at your software program and review your processes to avoid the pitfalls in e-leasing.

Check the Fields You Require

You don’t want to receive a lease back from your tenant with important information missing. You should have the ability to adjust which fields are “required” in your software program. It’s generally a simple toggle-on or-off feature for each field. Take the time to review your software program to adjust these settings. Some members prefer to have tenants complete the Tenant Information Sheet (TSSA Form #12) before providing a lease agreement to the tenant for signature, so that they can gather all important data.

Review the Lease Before Tenants Move In

You should have a process for reviewing the final lease before the tenant can move in. This could be a final review by the onsite or remote manager before sending the unit number or gate access code. Check for missing, incomplete or bogus information that may be a warning sign of a future problem tenant. Be sure to check for the final signature before the tenant has access. Each platform offers different ways to collect the signature. Eviction would be your only legal option for getting rid of a customer for non-payment or non-rent breaches when you do not have a signed lease agreement.

Altering Lease Language a Bad Idea

Now that use of the lease is allowed via direct license to members, some members are tempted to alter language in the lease. Language should be removed only after review by an attorney. Some language in the TSSA lease is mandatory by law (such as the bold/conspicuous language about Chapter 59 lien rights, and the notice regarding email notices). Other language is simply important for your protection or the tenant’s protection. Tread carefully! There is a reason a standardized lease has worked so well for so many for so many years.

Some members also consider adding language to the TSSA lease. Again, an attorney having expertise in self-storage law should be consulted before adding language to avoid unintended consequences, including language that would not be enforceable under state law and which would inadvertently create liability. Also, if the language added is in conflict with other parts of the contract, you’ll have a problem. We do not recommended that you alter the TSSA lease in any way, but understand there can be special circumstances. With paragraph 6 and 7 of the lease, you can add special provisions and addenda as dictated by your particular need. This can be hard coded in your management software so that it generates automatically for all tenants.

TSSA has fine-tuned its lease language over more than 30 years with thorough review by TSSA legal counsel, TSSA’s executive team, its board and other members based on their real-life experiences; altering it should only be done judiciously, and always with advice of legal counsel.

The TSSA e-Lease and other e-forms are available to members with an annual subscription fee for unlimited uses per year. Click here to learn more about the TSSA e-Lease. 

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