The tenancy agreement – arguably the most important paperwork a landlord and tenant will deal with. Whatever issue arises, the tenancy agreement is the key to stopping disputes over who is responsible for what and what was agreed at the start of the tenancy. Once you’ve found the perfect tenants, it’s time to get that agreement written up.
A tenancy agreement should detail everything that the tenant should and shouldn’t do, what the landlord will and won’t do and what is expected of both parties. It’s a reference point to go back to time and time again throughout the tenancy, providing the answer to a lot of possible problems that arise in rental situations.
What should a tenancy agreement include?
The list is pretty long! There’s a lot that needs to go into this document. Let’s start with the basics. You need the full names of everyone involved in the tenancy, your contact details, the rental price and how and when it’s paid, information on how and when the rent will be reviewed, the deposit amount and how it will be protected (which deposit scheme will be used), and in what instances the deposit can be fully or partly withheld. You’ll need the address of the property and the start and end date of the tenancy, along with any relevant details on landlord insurance such as home emergency cover.
The parts of the tenancy agreement to pay the most attention to are the parts that detail any tenant and landlord obligations and who is responsible for minor repairs, garden maintenance and bills. It’s a good idea to detail the rules around subletting or lodgers, smoking and pets and whether the tenancy can be ended early and if so, how.
What else is important to include?
You might want to draw up an inventory so that you have a detailed record of the state the property was in at the start of the tenancy. Take photos that show the exact condition of every internal element of the property so that you can refer back and easily decipher between damage and fair wear and tear at the end of the tenancy. This will really help when you’re deciding what to deduct from your tenant’s deposit.
Make sure you’ve got a copy of the property’s energy performance certificate to give to your new tenant, along with the Governments ‘How to Rent’ leaflet (particularly for first-time buyers) and a gas safety certificate if applicable. Before you had over the keys, your tenant needs to sign the tenancy agreement, and you’ll need to have two copies. One will be the original copy with their signature on for you to keep (not a photocopy or scan), and a copy for the tenant with your original signature on.
You might be thinking that this all sounds like a lot of work. Yes, you might end up with 10+ pages but there’s plenty of templates to help you online – just make sure the one you use is in-date and relevant for your respective country!
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