A tenancy agreement is a legal contract that gives certain rights to both the tenant and landlord, setting out the terms and conditions of the tenancy. The agreement forms the basis of the landlord-tenant relationship specific to your client’s property, as opposed to general statutory legislation rules. For example, your client may not want pets, to insist on payment by banker’s standing order and insist on notice if the property is to be left empty more than 14 days etc.

Never, ever, under any circumstances allow a tenant into premises (handing over keys) without the signing of an agreement, paying the first month’s rent and taking a security deposit, if you have opted to do so. If you accept a cheque, ideally you should allow time for clearance.

What Are The Risks Of Not Having A Tenancy Agreement?

Without the agreement you will find it difficult to prove even the obvious points – when the tenancy actually started, how long it lasts and what the rent should be. Not having a tenancy agreement in writing can create arguments about the tenancy terms between the landlord and tenant; it is created to avoid misinterpretation as well as having proof of an agreement of the terms of the tenancy. A tenant cannot be made to sign an agreement once they have already moved into the property. If you do not have a written agreement you cannot use the section 21 notice.

Good agreements are easy to understand (plain English), up-to-date with current legislation and have taken into account almost all eventualities. Good modern agreements comply with the Office of Fair Trading guidelines. Having a written agreement protects your position and regulates the tenant’s use of the property.

What Should Tenancy Agreements Include?

As a general guideline, tenancy agreements should include the following information:

• Details of all people involved in the tenancy including names and addresses

• Amount of deposit required

• How the deposit will be protected

• When the deposit can be withheld

• Rental amount, when and how often it should be paid

• Method for paying the rent

• Start date and term of the tenancy and the end date

• Bills that the tenant is responsible for

Contact us today for advice and guidance on written tenancy agreements.