Top 5 tips for Tenancy Agreements
It’s vital that you have a tenancy agreement drawn up when renting out your property, no matter how well you know the tenants. Without an agreement in place, you could face disastrous consequences whilst being left severely out of pocket. Tenancy agreements are designed to protect the interests of landlords and their tenants. Read on to learn about five of the most important tips for tenancy agreements.
1. Always make sure your address actually features on the tenancy agreement. If this is not the case, the agreement will not adhere to section 48 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 and the tenant will not be legally obliged to pay rent. If you live in Scotland or abroad, you can use your agent’s address instead. It’s also wise to stick to a maximum fixed term of six months unless you know and have a good relationship with the tenants.
2. Ensure the agreement clearly states who is responsible for paying bills like water rates, electricity, gas and council tax. If you have agreed to cover any payments, you should reserve the right to increase the rent should these fees rise during the tenancy. If you have weekly tenants, you will need to provide them with a rent book.
3. Are you taking a deposit from your tenants? If so, this needs to be protected by a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme and provide the scheme with the tenant information they require within 30 days of the deposit being paid. If you fail to do this, you could face big penalties. You also need to make sure you are using the right kind of tenancy agreement for your situation. The agreements for letting out rooms, renting out homes and letting to limited companies are all different. If you do become confused about your obligations, you may wish to consult a legal professional to ensure the contract is legally-binding.
4. Produce a detailed inventory prior to the tenancy commencing. You will need your tenants to agree that the information is correct before they move in. An inventory will be required even if the property is unfurnished as there is still a chance walls, doors, carpets, showers, light fittings and more could be damaged. Without an inventory, you may be unable to make any deductions to the original deposit should something be left in poorer condition than it was when the tenancy commenced, or if items have gone missing.
5. Prior to the tenants moving in, you need to make sure they have signed the agreement. You will need a non-photocopied, non-scanned and non-faxed version of the agreement with their original signatures in place before you hand over the keys. You also need to hand the tenants original copies of the agreement featuring your signature.
At HS Lawyers, we can assist you if you need advice on producing a legally-binding tenancy agreement. You can get in touch with us right now by giving us a call or using the contact form on our site.