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  • Buy-to-Let

    Which Tenancy Agreement Does A Landlord Use?

    There are a wide variety of tenancy agreements which a landlord can use but which is the best one? Do landlords and tenants understand all the terms and conditions in their agreements?
    If you use a letting agent, they will usually have their own bespoke agreement which can run to over 20 pages. The landlord associations - NLA, RLA etc. have some good documents, which are around 7 pages long or if you really want to, you can buy one in Smiths off the shelf!
    In difficult times, its important to use good documentation as litigation tends to increase. It often amazes me that tenants don't read their agreements before they sign them and when you point something out to them at a later stage, they are surprised they signed up to it.
    As property investors, we are bombarded by people with NMD, BMV, become a property millionaire etc but no one talks much about the practicalities of being a landlord, such as the documentation.
    With AST's, tenancy deposit schemes, fire & safety regulations, letting agreements to read there is much to read and understand. Not very exciting I know!
    Is there a need for a standard AST across the industry? Do we need to help tenants understand their agreements better? As a landlord, which document do you use?
    Adrian
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    Speaking as someone who drafts tenancy agreements for a living, I couldn't agree more that landlords need to read and know what they say. Some landlords seem to think that the contents are completely irrelevant and the shorter they are the better!
    I think that plain English style are best as then tenants are more likely to read and understand them, which in turn means that they are more likley to do what they say! Good practice is now tending towards plain English.
    You do need to use the correct type of tenancy for your situation. The 'bog standard AST' certainly does not fit all situations (and if you have downloaded it free from the internet, it may be one to be avoided). I have written a free guide which you can read here: https://www.landlordlaw.co.uk/page.ihtml?...tep=2&page
    Note in particular that you will need a slightly different agreement if the rent is over £25K and if the tenant is renting a room in a shared house. But you probably knew that anyway ...
    Note also that agreements must comply with the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 and clauses in breach of this will be void. I have checked over many agreements for clients (all under the impression that their agreement is the best) and they have all without exception contained non compliant clauses. If you have been using the same agreement for several years, it is very likely that your agreement will also.
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    Tessa Shepperon Landlord Law | Landlord Law Blog |

    Good points raised by both Adrian and Tessa. Exactly what a public forum is all about. Thanks go to the two of you.
    John Corey
    https://www.ChelseaPrivateEquity.com/blog
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    John Corey 


    I host the London Real Estate Meet on the 2nd Tuesday of every month since 2005. If you have never been before, email me for the 'new visitor' link.

    PropertyFortress.com/Events

    Also happy to chat on the phone. Pay It Forward; my way of giving back through sharing. Click on the link: PropertyFortress.com/Ask-John to book a time. I will call you at the time you selected. Nothing to buy. Just be prepared with your questions so we can use the 20 minutes wisely.

    Tessa Shepperson said:
    Speaking as someone who drafts tenancy agreements for a living, I couldn't agree more that landlords need to read and know what they say. Some landlords seem to think that the contents are completely irrelevant and the shorter they are the better!I think that plain English style are best as then tenants are more likely to read and understand them, which in turn means that they are more likley to do what they say! Good practice is now tending towards plain English.You do need to use the correct type of tenancy for your situation. The 'bog standard AST' certainly does not fit all situations (and if you have downloaded it free from the internet, it may be one to be avoided). I have written a free guide which you can read here: https://www.landlordlaw.co.uk/page.ihtml?...rid=65&...Note in particular that you will need a slightly different agreement if the rent is over £25K and if the tenant is renting a room in a shared house. But you probably knew that anyway ...Note also that agreements must comply with the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 and clauses in breach of this will be void. I have checked over many agreements for clients (all under the impression that their agreement is the best) and they have all without exception contained non compliant clauses. If you have been using the same agreement for several years, it is very likely that your agreement will also.
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    Hi all
    I have just been looking at Tessa's website and it is very helpful for anyone that is unsure of any legal aspects of residential lettings, very easy to use and I would recomend my landlords to view......
    I have some multi let and whole dwelling units I also take care of other professional landlords properties- two things I feel is most important is one to get the correct agreement for the type of let (so if there is anyone out there that is unsure please take the time to check) and two make sure you give the tenant enough time to read through the tenancy carefully making sure any questions they do not understand are answerred before they sign.
    We use a 11 page document set in plain english that runs through piece by piece this differs slightly for multi let but similar and again in plain english, we allow tenants a week to read before signing (were possible) , so I would certainly advise giving them 24 hours to read through a standard copy before signing.
    I would not advise the WH Smiths AST personally but I know lots of landlords have used it for me it does not seem to cover all basis in enough detail.
    I have seen landlords and tenants in the past rush through everything and not check that all is understood the problem then occurs 6 months down the line......
    As a landlord your duty of care should always be to advise a tenant to read carefully through the agreement before signing....so if you feel they have not read it and you gave them ample time maybe explain to them that you feel they should again run through it , making sure they do not feel rushed and answering any questions they may have before signing- I believe this can only help the landlord out in the long run and you know you did all you could to make sure they knew the terms clearly.
    so my answer would be as long as the agreement is the correct one for the type of let and is in plain english then there should not be further issues down the line.......

    Vicki
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