Creating a tenant handbook comes with many responsibilities and can be a daunting task. Although it takes time to create an effective handbook, tenant-landlord relationships can remain healthy as long as two parties are in agreement and aware of their rights. Following are some tips for creating a comprehensive tenant handbook.

What is a Tenant Handbook?

A tenant handbook is a document that outlines a tenant’s rights and expectations as an occupant of rental property. Typically, this document will be provided to tenants by landlords or building owners to ensure that occupants understand the parameters of the lease agreement and what is expected of them.

General Overview of Contents

Generally speaking, tenant handbooks should contain the following information:

  • Overview of the rental property
  • Contact information for landlord or building owner
  • Lease agreement
  • Expectations for tenants
  • Lease termination and renewal policies
  • Security deposit policies
  • Subletting policies
  • Maintenance procedures
  • Liability policies

Creating a Tenant Handbook

When creating a tenant handbook, it is important to keep the needs of the tenants in mind. This includes providing clear and concise language, avoiding legalese, and ensuring that the handbook is easily readable and understood.

In most cases, landlords must provide tenants with a copy of the handbook before occupancy to ensure that tenants understand their rights and are aware of the rules. Here are some tips when creating a tenant handbook:

Include Local Laws

Make sure that the handbook includes all applicable local laws that apply to rental agreements. It is important that tenants are aware of their obligations to abide by laws such as noise ordinances, parking regulations, and more.

Be Clear and Concise

The tenant handbook should be organized and easy to navigate. Avoid using technical language or legalese, as this can be difficult to understand. Instead, use clear and concise language when writing the document. Additionally, make sure to include visuals such as pictures or diagrams so that tenants are able to understand the information quickly and efficiently.

Keep It Up to Date

It is important to regularly review and update the tenant handbook to ensure that all information is accurate. Local laws and regulations may change, so it is important to be aware of any changes that may impact the handbook. Additionally, landlords should keep any lease agreements updated, as these are often included in the handbook.

Review and Distribution

Before distributing the tenant handbook, it is important to review the document for accuracy. Ensure that all information is up-to-date and that any changes to the handbook have been noted. Once the document has been reviewed, landlords should distribute the handbook to all tenants prior to occupancy.


Creating a comprehensive tenant handbook can be a time-consuming task. However, by briefly outlining the tenant’s rights and expectations, landlords and tenants can remain in agreement in their dealings with one another. The tenant handbook is an integral tool for landlords and tenants alike, and should be taken seriously when creating the document.

What should be included in a tenant handbook?

1. Property Rules and Regulations: A list of required behaviours, rules, and regulations that must be adhered to in the rental unit and on the property, such as quiet hours, pet policies and smoking or vaping policies.

2. Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords and Tenants: A thorough explanation of the respective rights and responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenant, including lease termination and rental payment processes.

3. Safety Tips: Tips for maximizing safety on the property, such as installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, avoiding scams, staying aware of security concerns, and keeping stairwells and side walks free of potential hazards.

4. Maintenance Procedures: Information about the maintenance process for the property, including contact information of your landlord or landlord’s representatives, tenant-issued maintenance requests, emergency maintenance and repair procedures, and expected turnaround times for repairs.

5. Lease Information: A summary of the rental lease and a copy of the entire lease agreement.

6. Moving Out Procedures: Information about the move-out process, such as expectations for how clean the rental should be kept, the security deposit refund process, an explanation of the walk-through process, and any other moving-out requirements.

7. Resources: Important contact information, such as property management, local law enforcement, and city and state resources, as well as other community resources like nearby transportation options, local parks and attractions, and other nearby lifestyle amenities.

What should a landlord include in a tenant handbook?

1. Building rules and regulations

2. Lease agreement terms

3. Requirements for proper maintenance and cleaning

4. Policies on guests and parties

5. Noise and conduct expectations

6. Information on alerting the landlord about repairs and needed services

7. Acknowledgement of tenant rights under applicable laws

8. Payment terms and options

9. Deposits and refunds

10. Disclosures about the property and the local area

11. Lease termination and subletting policies

12. Instructions for leaving the property

13. Emergency contact information

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