Originally Posted by calphi27
30 days unless the contract says more (max is 60 days)
Correct. As is the 3x damages comment (plus atty fees). That is the most critical legal issue for a landlord. The other 90% are the great practical comments others have provided.
Best to take first month rent, last months rent and security deposit equal to another months rent. There are great tenants who can't pay that, but few bad tenants who can. Just first and security is ok, but not the gold standard.
The Bradford Publishing (Google it) form lease is decent. Boulder County has local leasing laws that others do not. They offer a form lease online. It is "tenant friendly". You are the Landlord so you want "Landlord friendly."
1) Pick a great tenant
2) Pick a great tenant
3) Pick a great tenant
4) Do everything everyone else said, except that property management companies are a personal preference. They vary greatly so do your research and is you use one, still be sure to see your property inside and out on a regular basis.