A tenancy agreement is in effect a contract between the owner of the property and the tenant. As with any contract this means there are rights and responsibilities for both parties. This also means it is vital to be clear about what you expect from your potential tenants so there is no ambiguity regarding their responsibility to you and yours to them. With a few simple tips, it is possible to create a tenancy agreement that will be fair for both the landlord and tenant.
First of all you need to make it clear who is paying the rent. It may sound obvious, but in some cases a guarantor may be responsible or in the case of a couple or family renting a property one member of the family is likely to be the one paying the rent.
Another crucial detail is the term i.e. when the tenancy begins and finishes. You can then decide once that time has expired whether you want to continue the tenancy and how often you intend to renew it (for example every six months).
This should be made clear at the outset. You need to clearly define how much the rent costs, how often it needs to be paid and at what time (for example on the 23rd of every month). As a side note, it is recommended to put the costs in both numbers (£250) and words (Two hundred and fifty pounds) for clarity.
You should also discuss methods of payment- standing orders are often ideal as you can arrange them to come out of their account at a certain time and this reduces the risk of people delaying payment. However, some people like the flexibility of being able to pay via cheques or over the phone, so ultimately you need to decide what works best for you.
It is also important to clarify whether or not any costs are included in the rent (for example heating and electricity. Increasingly a number of properties offer free broadband internet as an incentive for potential tenants so this is worth bearing in mind!)
It is important to clarify the responsibility your tenant has for the property- for example they need to keep their rooms and communal areas clean. You may also want to clarify rules to ensure good relations with your neighbours (for example no loud music after a certain time) and some maintenance responsibilities (for example watering plants in outside areas). Also check if you are allowed to bring in additional furniture, pets etc.
Likewise as a landlord you have responsibilities as well- deposits need to be held in approved accounts, repairs should be done as promptly as possible and any complaints by tenants should be investigated immediately.
Is it legal?
A quick check online can help you find templates to create your own tenancy agreements. While these are excellent for drafting up an agreement it is still best to check with a legal professional to ensure that they cover all the necessary rules and requirements as this will help to prevent problems in the longer term. If you want to know more or want someone to check over your proposed tenancy agreement please contact us for more information or to arrange a consultation.