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What Should I Include in a Tenancy Agreement?

Updated on May 2, 2020
Stella Kaye profile image

Stella has written many property-related articles due to fourteen years' experience in residential lettings and renovation in the UK.

Getting a Rental Property Ready

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Rental Property Agreements - Getting it Right

A rental contract is a legally binding arrangement and should clearly mention all parties subject to the agreement. The type of contract should also be made clear. The most common agreement is an assured shorthold tenancy.

There are various rental contracts and tenancy agreements appropriate for different types of residential properties and tenancies which can be downloaded online. Property managers can even alter standard templates to incorporate the individual requirements of their property. It is also acceptable to create your own version that can be drawn up specifically for a certain property, providing it is enforceable by law. Many landlords who are members of reputable landlord’s associations will have a wealth of help and advice available to them in the drawing up of any rental contract.

Some Internet sites even offer free copies which can be downloaded, so drawing up a rental contract need not be daunting or expensive.

As well as the number one problem - non-payment of rent - landlord/tenant disputes are virtually unavoidable and commonly arise over issues such as smoking, decorating, pets and subletting as well as the usual disputes with neighbours over noise and other anti-social disturbance. Thus the boundaries that need to be set and maintained must be clear from the start of the tenancy and all obligations that the tenant and the landlord both have to comply with must be included.

The rental contract needs to state the number of people that can realistically be allowed to reside in the property. An inventory of fixtures and fittings should also be included in any rental contract and it must be made clear whose responsibility it is to maintain them.

You'll need to stipulate the rules that the tenant has to abide by in order for any tenancy to run smoothly. Make any agreement as fair and as reasonable as it can be and be precise in the wording. Overly lengthy contracts won't probably be read in their entirety before they're signed. Dates and durations must be clear and not be ambiguous so they become open to dispute. A common-sense attitude is the best approach in drawing up a rental contract that protects the interests of both landlord and tenant. Many templates are available online and can be adapted to your own individual circumstances.

How long do you want to let the property for? How much notice do you expect from your tenant? Is there the option to renew the contract at the end of the term? All of these aspects need to be addressed from the onset. A tenancy agreement does not have to be for any particular length of time but most agreements are drawn up on a six months basis.

The method of payment and your bank details can also be supplied with the agreement so that the terms and conditions of the tenancy are met. There's also the deposit to consider so the rental contract will need to be clear about where this will be held when it will be returned and very importantly, any circumstances in which it won't be refunded should be thoroughly explained.

Landlords will need to be aware that however carefully they draw up a rental contract there's always going to be some matter or other that will be cause for disagreement. The very nature of letting residential property means there'll be endless sources of conflict and with the law being on the side of the tenant in the UK, landlords will have to conduct their business in a methodical and conscientious manner to keep disputes to a minimum.

Additional Information to Supply with a Tenancy Agreement

It can be advantageous to the interests of both landlord and tenant if a list of useful information is supplied at the start of a tenancy in addition to the inventory and agreement. Your list can include such details as the contact numbers of utility providers, local information and your designated workmen etc.

Manuals for white goods etc should be kept in a folder in a kitchen drawer or similar place where the tenant can easily find on arrival. Ensure your tenant is aware of the location of the mains electricity and gas switches and water stop tap.

In fact, it's always wise to supply as much information about the property as you can in order for the tenancy to run smoothly.

© 2014 Stella Kaye


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