The Upad Landlord: Myth busting tenancy agreements
Here are five of the biggest myths about tenancy agreements for residential lets in England:
You Must Provide a Written Agreement
Not true, you can have a verbal agreement unless your tenant has provided a guarantor, in which case they will need to see a written contract so they know what you’re asking them to guarantee. Sometimes tenants will request a written contract as it makes them feel more secure. In any case, it’s a good idea to put everything in black and white at the outset to make it clear what you’ve agreed and who’s responsible for what.
It Must be For at Least Six Months
Not so, you can agree a shorter let with your tenant if that’s what you’d both like. However, when a property is let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (which is the standard agreement for residential properties in England), the landlord can’t issue the tenant with a ‘no fault’ Section 21 notice to leave for the first four months and they must give the tenant at least two months’ notice, so effectively they can stay for a minimum of six months.
Note that any clause you include in the contract must be fair to the tenant, otherwise it might not be legally enforceable (see below).
This blog explains some important clauses recommended by Upad landlords.
You Can Include What You Like
You can, but if it isn’t deemed to be fair to all parties it won’t be worth the paper it’s written on! Basically, a tenancy agreement, like any business contract between two parties, must be balanced and fair so a tenancy agreement that only listed the tenant’s obligations and none of the landlord’s wouldn’t stand up in court.
Also, landlords can’t use the contract to transfer any of their legal responsibilities to the tenant. So, for example, you can’t make the tenant responsible for things like carrying out the obligatory annual gas safety check or for the correct functioning of the hot water system or the sewage pipes.
You Automatically Regain Possession of Your Property When the Contract Expires
Oddly, this isn’t the case. A tenant has the right to leave at the end of their tenancy agreement without notifying the landlord of their intention to do so, but the landlord must serve the tenant with written notice if they’d like to repossess their property.
If neither the landlord nor the tenant serves notice, the tenancy continues as a periodic tenancy and all the same terms and conditions from the original contract continue to apply.