Written Tenancies: A Landlord’s Guide

Although it is possible in some cases that a landlord may rent a property verbally and the oral contract for tenanting a property can be legally biding, it is certainly not advisable to do so. As of February 27th 1997, it is a legal requirement that landlord must provide certain details to their tenants in writing. This is to protect the rights of both parties. If you are a landlord who is about to advertise a property via an online property agent or brick and mortar letting agency, then it’s critical you take the time to read what is legally expected of a tenancy below, in terms of written information.

Tenancy Start Date?

The rights of a landlord and of tenants begin with the start date of a tenancy, which must be recorded and given to the tenants in writing. This is to ensure that everyone is in full knowledge of exactly when the tenants started to rent the property.

How Much Can a Landlord Charge For Rent?

A written rent amount agreement is also paramount. It is up to the tenants how they split then rent between them, but it’s absolutely critical that they are aware of the exact amount they will be liable for throughout the tenancy. If rent suddenly becomes patchy and the full amount is not paid, this can land you in extremely hot water as a landlord and leave you with precious legal ground to stand on when it comes to enforcing it. It’s also important, alongside rent, to state the frequency with which it must be paid.

When Should a Tenant Pay Rent?

With most tenancies, the rent is collected on the same day that the tenancy started. But without having this in writing, things can get sloppy and ultimately leave the landlord out of pocket.

Tenancy Length

This is referred to as the fixed term of the tenancy and spans the day your tenants move in to the day the tenancy comes to an end. Although this can often be extended, or changed to a rolling contract after it is up. During this period, the landlord cannot call for an end to a tenancy without serving the tenants an eviction notice on reasonable grounds, nor can the tenant relinquish their obligations to pay rent – even if they decide to move out. It is only via a mutual agreement that the fixed term tenancy can be changed, and if it is not written down and recorded in writing for both parties, it is you the landlord who will most likely suffer. Fixed term tenancies also usually tend to have a minimum length of six months. 

Crucial Information

Although a landlord may leave the management of the property to an estate agent, the landlord’s contact details, name and address must be written down on a tenancy. This will allow the tenants to communicate with them quickly and directly, should any issues such as emergencies or maintenance jobs become a factor – and they most certainly will!

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