Most residential landlords renting properties know that they should have a written Tenancy Agreement with their tenant. At Jordans we have been instructed recently by several different clients who had obtained a Tenancy Agreement from an online website. Some of these clients believed they were buying a Tenancy Agreement from a firm of solicitors but these companies were not qualified solicitors and were not registered with the Law Society or the Solicitor’s Regulatory Authority.
The Tenancy Agreements that we viewed for these clients were not in a standard format and contained provisions which did not comply with the Law. Some of the clients believed, for example, that they could easily evict their tenant if there was a problem without giving proper notice and at any time during the Tenancy Agreement.
It is important if you are acting as a landlord of a residential property that you understand the do’s and the don’ts of residential tenancies and the starting point is to have a properly drafted Tenancy Agreement. This means that you and your tenant are aware of the important aspects of the Tenancy Agreement and that if there is a problem you are able to recover all of your out of pocket expenses and costs from the tenant. If, for example, there is nothing in the Tenancy Agreement that says that your tenant will pay your legal costs if you have to sue them for any damage they cause to the property, you can claim back the cost of putting the property right but not the legal expenses that you incur in making that claim. Some simple paragraphs added into the Agreement by somebody who knows what should be included in the Tenancy Agreement is your best starting point. There are a lot of online websites offering quick and cheap Tenancy Agreements which do not cover all of these aspects and have not been prepared by properly qualified lawyers.
The other aspect of being a residential landlord when you take a deposit is the strict rules for securing that deposit and the Tenancy Agreements do not advise you what must be done to properly protect and secure the deposit to ensure that you are complying with the Law. Many landlords still do not realise that there are strict sanctions if you take a deposit and do not secure the money in a properly registered deposit scheme and also send out Prescribed Information about the deposit scheme to the tenant. If these are not carried out within a certain period of the deposit being given to the landlord then the tenant can sue for compensation and you can end up out of pocket.
Whilst it might be tempting to use these cheap, quick and easy websites to obtain Tenancy Agreements you are not getting the extra advice and support that a properly qualified solicitor such as the team at Jordans Solicitors can provide. This can often end up being a costly mistake.
If you would like to discuss the issues raised in this article, please contact Susan Lewis of Jordans Solicitors on 0330 300 1103 or request a callback.