Tenancy Agreements: Common Mistakes

A tenancy agreement is the core of any rental. However, a lot of landlords don’t pay much attention to it, or simply use the same agreement over and over. If you’re a brand new landlord who is about to list a property via an online property agent or letting agency, then it’s absolutely essential you avoid the most common mistakes and mishaps landlords can make on a tenancy agreement.

A correctly drafted tenancy will protect the rights of both a landlord and the renters equally. It should plainly state the obligations and responsibilities of both and is critical as a piece of evidence when it comes to disputing claims. It also must be signed by both parties. These are the kind common mistakes which can sometimes be found:

Repair and Damage

This is the single biggest cause of tenant/landlord disputes. A clear tenancy agreement will state who is responsible for what – particularly when it comes to tenant responsibility as well as the landlords. The property must be kept clean and repair issues must be reported promptly. Ensuring a tenancy includes a landlord’s contact details will go a long way towards speeding up any issues that need to be addressed.

Pets

A tenancy agreement should clearly state the landlord’s position on pets. This way, tenants will be aware that if one comes to live in the property, they will be in breach of contract and financially liable for any repairs caused by damaged furniture or soiling.

Illegal Clauses

Landlords can’t decide what their tenancy stipulates on a whim. All information within the written agreement must be fair, realistic and legally actionable. You can’t add something like a clause stating tenants are responsible for boiler maintenance, or that they need to hire a cleaner regularly, which has no legal grounding for enforcement.

Check the Small Details

When landlords simply download tenant agreements online and fill them out in a rush to save time, small and highly critical details are often forgotten about. Forgetting to add a tenant’s name or the correct address, or adding the wrong date can really cause you a world of inconvenience – particularly if issues arise later on during the tenancy.

Updating the Agreement

Lastly, always ensure that your tenancy agreement is up to date. This doesn’t just mean regarding renters. Over the years laws change and an outdated contract can cause a lot of problems regarding disputes. So it not only pays to stay abreast of legal development and policy changes, but to move forward with updated tenancies that reflect them.

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