The National Association of Realtors is a trade organization for licensed real estate brokers and sales persons. Not all state Realtor associations offer standardized Realtor-approved forms for use by their members. Instead, Realtors differ in forms issued by the state's real estate commission. If the state does not issue a particular agreement or contract, such as a lease agreement, the broker must use a contract that is appropriate, and legal, for the situation.
Standard Lease Agreements
Most of the state-approved contracts deal with the purchase of real estate and their contracts do not extend to lease agreements. When a state does not provide forms, some state or local Realtor chapters, such as the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors, offer Realtor-approved forms, including lease agreements. Some local municipalities, such as the city of Boulder, Colorado, offer city-endorsed lease agreements since the state of Colorado does not have a state-approved lease agreement.
Risks of Generic Lease Agreements
Realtor Barbara Holland, of H&L Realty & Management Co. in Las Vegas, Nevada, notes in an April 2010 article entitled "5 Risks for Property Management Newbies" that there are dangers in using generic lease agreements. Boilerplate agreements such as those easily found on the Internet, Holland says, may not be thorough enough, or include sections which are required by state law. The bottom line, she warns, is "you’re leaving yourself exposed" with a generic lease.
Customize For Your Needs
Lease agreements should address such issues as when the rent is due, penalties for late payments and when the lease is in default if payment is not made. The lease should spell out who is allowed to inhabit the house, how many pets, and what kind of pets, if any, are allowed on the property. A poorly written lease agreements can lead to ambiguity, which can cost a landlord if the agreement does not cover a broad enough range of important issues.
Realtors are bound to a code of ethics which, the NAR says, often demands ethical behavior higher than that required by the law. Still, because of the wide range of circumstances that may need to be addressed in a lease agreement, the Institute of Real Estate Management offers accreditation to become a Certified Property Manager. The training offers Realtors who acquire the certification expertise with leases and other property management situations with residential, commercial and industrial real estate.