Am I wrong to insist on signing a new contract in person?

by Readers Question

14:45 PM, 14th February 2019
About 2 years ago

Am I wrong to insist on signing a new contract in person?

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Am I wrong to insist on signing a new contract in person?

Do many landlords ever dare to sign up new tenants remotely – or only in person?

I recently gave a viewing to to a prospective tenant who was only in town for the day. We got on well. She now wants to sign a contract without having to meet again for a 2nd time.

I feel it is better to meet again in person, because if we don’t, one of us will have to “make the leap” first – she will either have to wire me £2k in rent and deposit without having a contract and keys, or I will have to post her keys and a signed contract without taking receipt of the £2k.

Does anyone sign up new tenants remotely?

Or am I worrying too much ?

Rigsby



Comments

AA

16:22 PM, 14th February 2019
About 2 years ago

Eh ? If the preconditions of the lease are met, then and only then, does it become a live document. Therefore you can sign a lease - but no keys until deposit and first months rent ( or whatever the terms are ) are received. So yes you can sign remotely.

Deborah Clare

10:01 AM, 15th February 2019
About 2 years ago

I use a rent guarantee service, so they do all the referencing, etc., process all payments via the internet and all documents are signed electronically. I prefer it because I tend to do all my landlord work in the evening as I work during the day. Tenants seem to prefer it too as it makes it easy for them, particularly if they live some distance from me or the property they will be renting. I can't think of any problems with it.

Max

10:06 AM, 15th February 2019
About 2 years ago

as AA says - contract only valid if preconditions met. Use an electronic signing service - it is easier and less time consuming for you, and more importantly, easier and less time consuming for the tenant, and as it does not involve fixed appointments less juggling of time for them as they deal with life / move out / move in.

AvenuesLandlord

16:02 PM, 15th February 2019
About 2 years ago

I might be wrong here. I remember vaguely that signing a contract without money is not good idea even without keys given to the tenants.

The contract will create a tenancy. The tenant, at least in theory, can turn up at the door of the BTL property and get a locksmith to gain access and change locks.

What do others think?

AA

16:24 PM, 15th February 2019
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by at 15/02/2019 - 16:02
On that premise someone who has viewed the flat may as well create a fake tenancy with forged signatures etc.

Paul landlord

22:25 PM, 15th February 2019
About 2 years ago

I always insist on signing up face to face on check in day. I wouldn't consider doing it any other way (having taken a holding deposit prior). It ensures that all paperwork is signed up correctly, monies are taken with receipts issued, the tenant is fully aware of the workings of the property and gives us the chance to start a relationship (with a small r) on the right footing which is invaluable. The tenants like the personal touch too. I do self manage I dont like a faceless agent with a one size fits all approach. For me i see it as 38 different properties, 38 different sets of tenants, with 38 different sets of personalities and problems. Worked for me since 1995. Horse's for courses tho i suppose.

Michael Barnes

23:26 PM, 15th February 2019
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by at 15/02/2019 - 16:02
Contract does not create a tenancy.
A tenancy is created when the LL gives possession to the T.

Martin Thomas

11:56 AM, 16th February 2019
About 2 years ago

Signing in person is obviously best but why don't you send the tenant 2 draft contracts and ask her to sign both, then return them to you? Then the contract only becomes 'live' when you sign it. We've signed up groups of students that are away on placement on that basis loads of times.

Graham Bowcock

9:51 AM, 18th February 2019
About 2 years ago

Hi Rigsby

There is no particular requirement to be present when the tenants sign. The key thing is that they have viewed the property and either you or your agent have met them. I would be wary with someone that has not been met beforehand.

From the tenant's point of view, they may want to sign up before the check in date to make sure they are guaranteed the house - think of the arrangements they need to make for schools, utilities, change of address, etc. It is quite practical to get them signed up early.

As others have said, though, you must make sure you get the money in before handing over the keys and make sure you have done all the compliance stuff, including Right to Rent.

The tenancy is not completed until both parties have signed the agreement.

It is good practice to send the tenant a copy of the agreement in advance with a recommendation that they take independent legal advice before signing.

My only concern is whether you feel or suspect that there is something amiss in this case which is making you wary. If so, it's your rules!

Graham

SimonR

14:10 PM, 18th February 2019
About 2 years ago

As Michael Barnes says a contract doesn't create a tenancy but by both parties signing before the commencement date does create a legally binding contract, the tenancy will only start when keys are handed over.
I have just set up adobe sign for my tenancy agreements as this will cut down the amount of time it takes to move someone in to a house, if its good enough for banks and other lenders its good enough for me. I will however already have met the tenants and taken I.D and referenced them


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