It is critically
important for landlords to have a written tenancy agreement.
it is possible to create a tenancy without a written
agreement, it is certainly not a good idea.
Here are four good
reasons why you should always have a written agreement:
With a written agreement you can prove what
was agreed between you and the tenants. Otherwise your tenants could
claim, for example, that the rental figure is less than you actually
agreed, and without a written agreement you wouldn't have any
evidence to the contrary.
You wouldn't be
able to evict your tenants using the faster and cheaper accelerated
possession procedure without a written agreement.
There would be no
point in you holding a tenancy deposit, because you would not be able to
make deductions from a deposit without an appropriate clause in a
You may want to
insert special clauses, such as a break clause, or a 'no pets'
A written agreement is not enough
However, it's not
enough to have a written agreement. It also needs to be properly
You can download standard tenancy agreements for free from a number of websites, but
how do you know if they're any good?
Taking a chance and trusting to luck with a free, poorly drafted agreement could end up costing you thousands if it all goes pear-shaped.
You also need to be
careful about adding clauses yourself, because they could be
considered 'unfair,' and therefore invalid, if poorly worded.
To give you an example,
a clause stopping your tenants from keeping pets would be considered
unfair, and therefore invalid, unless it stated that the tenants can
request permission for keeping a pet, and that the landlord must not
Even if you know you would never give
permission for a pet, your 'no pets' clause would be invalid if it
omitted that wording.
Your tenants would therefore be entitled to keep a pet without even getting your consent.
Protect yourself and your property from pitfalls such as these by getting a properly drafted tenancy agreement.
Make sure it is appropriate for the circumstances of your tenancy (eg common law tenancy, assured shorthold tenancy, etc.).
The best option is to speak to a solicitor specialising in residential landlord and tenant law, or to contact a reputable letting agent, ideally one who is regulated by ARLA or RICS.
Don't forget that you should also credit-check and reference potential tenants.
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