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This is the fourth in a series of 10 articles written by specialist landlord & tenant solicitor Tessa Shepperson, founder of the online Landlord Law Service.
Tenancy agreements are important. Although it is possible to create a tenancy without a tenancy agreement, this is a very bad idea. For example:
So you need a tenancy agreement. But not just any old tenancy agreement. It should be one that is suitable to your situation. For example:
For each of these, you should have a tenancy agreement specifically designed for that situation. For example:
Then there are special clauses you may want to include in the tenancy agreement:
You need to be careful about drafting clauses for tenancy agreements yourself; however, under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999, individual clauses in tenancy agreements can be invalid if they are considered ‘unfair’.
There is not space in this article to discuss this in detail, but here is one example. A clause prohibiting pets will be considered unfair and invalid unless you include wording which says that the tenant can request permission for keeping a pet, which the landlord must not unreasonably refuse. Even if you are 100% certain that you will never give permission for a pet, if the clause omits that wording the clause will be invalid, and the tenants will be able to keep as many ill trained Alsatians and Doberman dogs as they wish.
So you see that a properly drafted tenancy agreement is important. That standard AST you downloaded from a free site may be suitable for your letting. But then again it may not. Do you want to risk it?
My Landlord Law site has an extensive selection of tenancy agreements which you can read about here, and you can customise our tenancies by adding extra clauses. There is also a free Which Tenancy Trail which can help you work out which tenancy type you need. Why not take a look?
What tips can you share? We love to read contructive comments so please leave one. If you’ve enjoyed this article please share it.
OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS SERIES
1. Have you got what it takes to be a landlord?
2. Make sure your property is legal before you rent
3. Check out your tenants or live to rue the day
4. You are here | Why you need to have the right tenancy agreement for your letting
5. All about tenancy deposits
6. How to increase rent the proper way
7. Help! My tenant has stopped paying rent – what do I do?
8. I think my tenant has left, can I change the locks?
9. What do you do if your tenant won’t leave when their section 21 notice expires?
10. The various and wondrous ways that tenancies end.
Tessa Shepperson is a solicitor specialising in residential landlord and tenant law. She practising online via her web-site Landlord Law www.landlordlaw.co.uk and blogs at the Landlord Law Blog www.landlordlawblog.co.uk
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