Finished Landlord Guide to Writing Hold Harmless Agreements

Table of Contents

Being a landlord, particularly one with a varied rental portfolio, can be tough to manage when it comes to legalities. Depending on the type of property, usages may be for many purposes. So how can you protect yourself from legal cases that are not your fault?

A hold harmless agreement can be one way of doing this. It transfers responsibility from one party to another, taking the onus off you. Below, we guide you through hold harmless agreements and give everything you need to know. 

What Is a Hold Harmless Agreement?

When selling, a hold harmless agreement is a contract that moves liability of any sale from the seller to the buyer. In doing this, the seller waives any responsibility for injury, risk, danger, or damage caused. It is often used in a sale that includes unavoidable risks. 

Hold harmless agreements are for one or both parties. It protects people from legal action for any problems that may arise. In property, this means that any issues arising from property claims or lien have become placed on the buyer, with the onus on them to resolve these disputes. 

What Are the Two Main Contracts?

Hold harmless clauses can be used in any situation with a risk of financial danger or personal injury and loss. Extreme sports and adventure travel companies may use these clauses to release them from any injuries or acts of god that may be blamed on them for negligence. 

In property, it is often used in construction and property transfer. There are two types of contract;

Unilateral is a contract in which one party agrees to relinquish responsibility from the other party. They will not make them responsible for any problems that arise.

Reciprocal is similar but relinquishes responsibility from both parties. Neither signatory will hold the other responsible in this case.

Contractors and subcontractors will have these agreements to also insure them from any losses, expenses, or claims made against them. This protects them while they are conducting the job.

Alternate Names

Hold harmless agreements have many names. These may include hold harmless letters, provisions, releases, and clauses if part of larger contracts. They can also be releases or waivers of liability.

How Does it Benefit Landlords?

Leases from landlords can have a hold harmless agreement within them. Damaged caused to the property by the tenants are then not the responsibility of the landlord in the case of repair. It is then paid for and arranged by the tenant. 

When Should I Use One?

If you are leasing the property out for any purpose, then a hold harmless agreement is advisable. If any of their party suffers damages, this states that you are not liable. 

If you are renting or leasing a property for use by a large group, a hold harmless agreement may also be helpful. This will relinquish the organizer of the event from any accidental losses or injury.

If you are engaging in an activity that involves risk, such as selling or buying a distressed property then both parties should consider one. This will relinquish responsibility for any unknown property claims or unknown problems. 

If someone is doing a service for you, consider one as well. This protects you if any third parties suffer damage in the process or service of the work going on. 

What Information Will I Need to Create An Agreement?

You will need the name and address of the person signing the agreement and the same details for the person who will be held as harmless. You will also need the details of the party providing the protection. You will also need details of the type of protection promised and an agreed time frame if the contract is not indefinite. 

Hold Harmless for Renovations or Construction

When renovating a property and hiring outside bodies, you must pay particular attention to the type of contract that you are agreeing to. For most landlords, or people doing the hiring, you will be likely to go for a unilateral agreement, though your contractor may opt for a reciprocal.

Should you opt for a unilateral agreement, if your contractor or subcontractors are injured while working, the person who has hired them is exempt from any liability. In a reciprocal agreement, the contractor would not be liable for any damage or injury caused to people while they were doing the job, or after the job had been finished.

There are three main types of agreements used in renovations and construction. They are as follows;


Broad agreements are very hard to hold up in court. This is because they cover negligence on accounts of all parties involved. These would only be used in very specific or extreme circumstances. 


Intermediate contracts are primarily concerned with subcontracted work. Liability becomes the responsibility of the subcontractor for any negligence or accidents. This is only in the case of circumstances relating to their own personal actions.

In this contract, if negligence is on the part of both the contractor and subcontractor, then the subcontractor will be liable only for their own actions. The contract only assigns responsibility and not fault. 


In this agreement, subcontractors have limited responsibility. Others found negligent are bound in their own individual contracts. 

Types of Protection

As well as the types of contract, differing types of protection exist. There are three different types available;

General Protection

General protection should be used for detailed, concise protection cover in given situations. Any event or service agreed upon in the contract is specified and the provider relinquishes any responsibility for events during the given time period. 

Services Protection

Service protection should be used when someone provides a service to another and relinquishes the customer from any responsibility that may arise to the worker during the contract. For example, if you hired someone to work on a dangerous building but were paying them accordingly, they may have a service protection contract so that if an accident occurred, the service provider would not sue the customer. 

Property Use Protection

This is for use when one person is renting or leasing the property of another for use. It relinquishers the property owner from any responsibility. For example, someone rented your property for a party, an damage or injury would be on them and not you as the owner.

Landlord getting client to sign hold harmless agreement

How Valid Are Hold Harmless Agreements?

The validity of a hold harmless agreement is questionable. Some states and nations do not uphold these clauses at all. In court, they can often only be upheld if the services and contracts are extremely explicit and involve a fair assessment of the risk involved. 

Many professions and services are totally exempt from using hold harmless clauses, If everyone attached service agreements, everyone would relinquish blame, whatever their actions.

For example, imagine a bus company had a hold harmless clause against passenger injury. If they failed to maintain their vehicles and this led to passenger injury, it would not be morally correct for a hold harmless clause to free them of this responsibility. 

Despite this, hold harmless agreements can be very useful. They show that one party understands the danger and possible loss in a contract or job. Specified correctly and succinctly, they can stand as evidence and proof. 

What Is Indemnity?

Indemnity is when another party is protected from damages and losses. This is very similar to hold harmless, but there are some slight differences. legal professionals often have their own views on which are better. 

Hold harmless generally is about liabilities and losses, while indemnity is only concerned with losses, often in a financial sense. Always be aware that these descriptions can vary across states and court boundaries. 

How Do I write a Hold Harmless Agreement?

Firstly, check on the validity of agreements in your state or local law enforcement catchment. You would not want to go to the trouble of writing an agreement to find out they are not valid in your state. If you are seeking a hold harmless agreement, seek the services of a professional.

Professional experience can save you from falling into any loopholes, and keep the information contained within specific enough that it will be valid in a court of law. 
There are also a number of templates available online to use. These range from free outlines to paid full contract services.

Hiring a Professional

Hold harmless agreements are one way to safeguard yourself against the pressures of being a landlord. They can help relieve some of the stress and strain involved in property renovation and management. 

If you still need some extra help, consider Nomadic real estate property management services. We can take the strain from running a portfolio, be it large or small. Contact us today for a quote and see what we can do for you!

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Enhanced Reporting

Your portal includes a selection of extremely useful reports. Reports are available in the “Reports” section, and are distinct from the financial statements. Unlike financial statements which are static records, Reports are dynamic real-time records that will update with current data every time you view them. 

Scroll down to learn more about Reports:

Navigate to the "Reports" module in your portal:

Owner Portal Reports
  • Keep in mind, these reports are dynamic records. They will refresh to display current information every time you view them. 

Enhanced Rent Roll Report:

Enhanced Rent Roll Report
  • The Enhanced Rent Roll Report will show the rent amount, last payment date, move-in date, lease expiration date, and security deposit amount for each of your tenants. 
  • It will also show a portfolio summary with occupancy percentage, vacancy loss, and more!

Unit Comparison Report:

Unit Comparison Report
  • If you own multiple units (or buildings) with Nomadic, you’ll get access to the Unit Comparison Report. 
  • This report enables you to quickly compare financial performance between your units at a glance without toggling between individual reports. 

Income Statement Month-Over-Month:

Income Statement by Month Report
  • The Income Statement Detail – Monthly Report serves as a month-over-month record of portfolio performance. You’ll see itemized income and expense categories and can track monthly. This report will update with fresh data every time you view it. 

Financial Statements

Financial statements will be published to your portal on a monthly basis. The statements are found in your Documents library, and provide a historical record of all financial performance. The statements serve as a snapshot of financial performance over a given period, and are static documents (unlike Reports, the statements do not update/change in real-time). 

Scroll down for more info about the Financial Statements in your Documents library:

The Documents area contains monthly financial statements:

Owner Portal Documents
  • The statements in the Documents are are static documents. They are posted to the portal once a month to serve as a historical record of financial performance. 

Download a statement to see month and YTD financials:

Owner Portal Property Statement

You'll also find a month-over-month operating statement:

Month over Month Statement

Portal Communication Tool

You can use your owner portal to communicate with our team. Any messages you send through the portal will go straight to your Account Manager. When we reply, you’ll get an email notification and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

Here’s an overview of using the communication platform:

Click "Communications" and navigate to "Conversations":

Commincation Dashboard Screenshot
  • The communications module will contain a record of all messages that you create through the portal. 

Click the "New Message" button and send your message:

Owner Portal New Message Screenshot

Responses will show up in the conversation ticket:

Portal Conversation Response Screenshot
  • You’ll get an email notification whenever you get a response, and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

You can reply in-line using the comment box:

Owner Portal Comment

Each conversation will be logged in its entirety:

Portal Conversation Snapshot

Understanding the Ledger

Your portal includes a ledger with all transactions. The ledger is populated with data in real-time as transactions flow through our accounting software. Much of this information is also available in the Reports area, as well as the Statements in your Documents library, but the ledger is the most comprehensive resource for diving into the details. 

Please scroll through the sections below to get a better understanding of how to interpret the ledger. 

By default, transactions are sorted chronologically:

Owner Ledger Dates
  • The date reflected in the lefthand column is the actual transaction date, not the “bill date”. This is the date the transaction was actually processed. 

If you have multiple properties with Nomadic, you'll see the address for each transaction in the "Location" column:

Ledger Property Column
  • You can filter the ledger to look at just one property, all properties, or specific sets of properties. 
  • If you only have one property with us, you’ll just see the ledger for that property. 

The Description column displays the transaction type:

Owner Ledger Description Column
  • BILL: this is an expense transaction, such as for repair costs or management fees.
  • CHARGE: this is a transaction  billed to the tenant, most typically a rent payment. 
  • NACHA EXPORT: this is a credit we processed to your distribution account. This type of transaction is how you get paid! 

The Amount column shows the dollar value of each transaction:

Owner Ledger Amount Column
  • Positive Amounts: if an amount is positive, it reflects a transaction that is payable to you. Typically, this will be a rent payment that we collected from your tenants. On occasion, a positive number could also signify a journal entry or credit adjustment. 
  • Negative Amounts:  if an amount is negative, this is a transaction that is either payable to Nomadic or is an amount that has already been paid to you. Typically this will be for repair costs or management/leasing fees. Owner draws (net distributions into your checking/savings account) also reflect as negative amounts, since they have already been paid to you. 

The Account Balance column shows a sum of positive/negative transactions at a given point in time:

Owner Ledger Account Balance Column
  • Account Balance should always equal zero after a net distribution has been processed. When the balance is zero, this means that all expenses have been paid and you’ve received the remainder as net operating income, leaving a balance of zero (meaning: no one is due any money, as all funds have been distributed appropriately). 

Navigating the Propertyware Owner Portal

Your portal includes some extremely useful features that help you understand your property’s financial performance at a new level, with real-time transparency into every transaction.

Scroll through the snapshots below for an overview of portal navigation! If you need more help or have specific questions about using the portal, you can reach out to your Account Manager any time for a screen share. 

You can filter all info by date range or property:

PW Portal Filters

View a snapshot of income and expenses on your dashboard:

PW Owner Dashboard View

See every transaction in real-time on your ledger:

Owner Portal Ledger View

Statements and forms will be posted to your documents library:

Owner Portal Document Library

View a suite of real-time financial reports:

Portal Reports View

See a running list of all bills, and drill down for more detail:

Owner Portal Bills View

Under Bill Details, you'll find dates/descriptions/amounts and more:

Portal Bill Details

You can also communicate with your Account Manager through the portal:

Owner Portal Communication Tools

How do net distributions work?

Net distributions keep your accounting clean and simple. Each month we’ll collect rent from the tenants, deduct any repair expenses for the previous month and any management/leasing fees for the current month, and credit the remaining net operating income to your account. 

Net Distribution

You’ll receive a statement via email each time a net distribution is processed, and can view all transaction details in your Propertyware owner portal.