How to edit a PDF lease template
June 12, 2015 7:11 AM   Subscribe

I got this lease template for my state for my rental property, looks good, but it's a PDF file, so I can't edit it to add my own few snowflake lease requirements. I got some "PDF" editors, which didn't work great, and I even tried PDF to word converter which was even worse. Advice??

Last week I made this question, and through that found this downloadable lease template which I looked at and seems great. But I need to add a few snowflake rules to the lease (who mows the lawn, what colors they can paint the interior house, etc. And I haven't been able to figure out a way to edit the lease so it's in the same font, size, same continuity and looks good. PDF to word (docx) converters give really garbled renditions, and PDF editors, leave giant block text that are different font/size.

Any advice on how to get what I need done done? A legal lease with all the basic required local requirements, with my snowflake requirements in addition? I've been working on this for a couple hours without much luck.
posted by crawltopslow to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
If you have the time, I would just re-type it. If you have questions about how to format it so it matches the original, feel free to MeMail me (if I have time later today I could even do the would only take me a minute or two).
posted by three_red_balloons at 7:13 AM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]

In my experience (as a renter only), the usual thing seems to be a lease addendum, which tend to just look like something typed up in Word and attached to the boilerplate lease at the back. Is there some reason other than aesthetics that you're opposed to that option?

(Actually, speaking as a renter, I'd even prefer that -- it makes clear what's different from the standard lease, which is often the same from landlord to landlord.)
posted by dorque at 7:15 AM on June 12, 2015 [9 favorites]

(That download site is super sketchy; it tried to do all sorts of download managers and popups on my machine. I wouldn't trust any download from there.)

PDF isn't supposed to be editable. You can sometimes do minor changes, but editing and reflowing paragraphs, no.
posted by scruss at 7:28 AM on June 12, 2015

If it's shorter than ten pages, you can use this site to do an OCR reading of the PDF. I've used it and it does a good job at recognizing the characters. (Save it as plain text rather than in a word processing format, otherwise it will give you really weird tabs and margins and whatnot.)
posted by Lucinda at 7:35 AM on June 12, 2015

I use PDF Pen for such things, but it can be quirky, and gets difficult if you are adding so much content that it adds additional pages. You're probably better doing an addendum.
posted by slogger at 7:36 AM on June 12, 2015

Writing a document as PDF doesn't preserve the author's stylistic intent inside it, so you are kind of in the wild west of placement and such. You will be better off copying the text out, and pasting it into something like LibreOffice that knows if you have a line here, that it should wrap here, and the next line should be of the same type and size, this distance below the first -- all of which was lost in talking PDFese. Copy, Paste, Style, Snowflakeify, Save as something you can change later, not PDF.
posted by cmiller at 7:36 AM on June 12, 2015

You're the landlord? Is there a required form of lease for your municipality? If so, then you should use the required form and simply add a lease rider with your additional requirements. If not, you could always copy the text out of the lease form and use that to create your own form in a word processing application.

Honestly? This is worth a few hundred bucks of legal advice. It would be too bad to go to a ton of trouble creating a lease rider about lawn mowing and whatnot only to find out that those provisions are not allowed under the applicable law or are unenforceable because they weren't incorporated into the lease in a legally valid way.
posted by slkinsey at 7:42 AM on June 12, 2015 [4 favorites]

Just add a rider, it's much easier than trying to edit the pdf. You can google around for lease riders to see how they are typically drafted.

A local attorney can draft a lease for your particular needs for a negligible amount of money. 95% of lease text is boilerplate so it's basically an easy buck for a solo practitioner (plus you're more likely to go back to them if there are any issues down the line).
posted by melissasaurus at 8:02 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Here's an RTF export of the PDF that I made using Adobe Acrobat Professional. The formatting's a little wacky on the first and last pages, but the text is all there.

I'm just providing the text, not presenting any opinions on the wisdom of editing documents to use for legal purposes. That link should be good through the weekend, and then no guarantees after that.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 8:04 AM on June 12, 2015

Starting a relationship with a local attorney now to get this written up won't be that expensive and will give you somebody to turn to if/when you have trouble later on with things like evictions or people putting rent into escrow or withholding security deposits.
posted by Sequence at 9:43 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Any advice on how to get what I need done done? A legal lease with all the basic required local requirements, with my snowflake requirements in addition?

You could Get a lawyer [MeFi Wiki] for a brief consultation about drafting a lease that complies with local laws, includes your snowflake conditions, and helps ensure your snowflake conditions comply with local laws. Some lawyers may offer free consultations to help build future business, and the State Bar of Texas offers a lawyer referral/consultation service and a lawyer directory that can be searched by location and legal issue.

Generic legal forms can be risky to rely on without a lawyer to review whether the form will actually protect your legal interests - depending on the jurisdiction, some of the easiest defenses to an eviction can be related to technical defects in leases or notices, which could create additional costs and delays in the process.
posted by Little Dawn at 6:39 PM on June 12, 2015

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