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Common Mistakes Seen in Tenancy Agreements

What Should Be In a Tenancy Agreement? PropertyLoop

What Should Be In a Tenancy Agreement? 

If the owner of the rental property is providing the future occupants with a written tenancy agreement it is imperative that all involved parties take care to sign the document, with each tenant receiving a copy of the signed agreement.  

Typically speaking tenancy agreement will confirm the address of the appropriate rental property and the owner’s details, alongside the date on which the tenancy commences and the duration of the fixed term.  As can be expected alongside this the landlord should detail the amount the occupants of the property are expected to pay in rent each month and if this sum includes utility bills and council tax.  

What Makes a Tenancy Agreement Invalid?   

It is a common misconception that in order for a tenancy agreement to be upheld it must be in a written format. Whilst this is not the case and all spoken tenancy agreements are not invalidated, it is strongly recommended such legally binding agreements are produced in writing. Even with this in mind, it is extremely uncommon for the entirety of a tenancy agreement to become invalid. However, landlords and rental property owners are not able to simply make the addition of any bespoke term they wish into the tenancy agreement, as if their terms are illegal, or directly contradict private rental sector regulations, they will not be upheld when challenged by a tenant, court, or local authority.  

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Can I Breach My Tenancy Agreement?   

This should go without saying but the tenancy agreement is a legally binding document that establishes not only the rights and responsibilities of the tenants, but holds the owner of the rental property accountable for the occupant’s safety, alongside the many other duties that come with being a landlord.  

If the occupants of the rental property were found to be in breach of the tenancy agreement then this would typically give the landlord sufficient justification to pursue repossession through the eviction process. Perhaps some of the most common examples of an eviction following a breach of the tenancy agreement would be the accumulation of rent arrears, warranting the owner of the property to respond through issuing the occupants with a section 8 notice, allowing the landlord to remove the tenants from the property.

Common Mistakes Landlords Make When Establishing a Tenancy Agreement ; PropertyLoop

Common Mistakes Landlords Make When Establishing a Tenancy Agreement 

Protecting the Security Deposit 

Once the occupant of a rental property has provided the landlord with the tenancy deposit, sometimes referred to as the security deposit, the landlord is then legally obligated to enter the sums into a government-approved deposit protection scheme. Whilst the landlord is not under any responsibility to request a security deposit from their occupants if they do unless the annual charge for renting the property is over £50,000 then the tenant only has to pay a maximum of 5 weeks rent; but regardless of the amounts paid for the deposit, it must be protected.  

The landlord must provide the tenants with confirmation of the scheme used, the amounts protected and the conditions under which deductions can be made from the amount being refunded, within 30 days of the sums being offered. If the owner of the property neglects to provide this information to their tenants they will be unable to serve them with a section 21 notice to reclaim possession of the rental property once the fixed term has come to an end. 

Illegal and Impractical Terms   

As mentioned, a tenancy agreement will outline the rights and responsibilities granted to both the landlord and the tenants through law. With this in mind, it is occasionally misinterpreted by owners that the terms added to the agreement should be adhered to with the same tenacity as established regulations, but this is not the case. Landlords are unable to make amends to existing clauses or add their own terms to a tenancy agreement that would either relieve them of any of their legal duties, such as attending to the regular repair and maintenance of a rental property; or otherwise cause an imbalance between the rights of the owner and their tenants.  

Typical examples of unfair terms that would not be upheld if included with a tenancy agreement would be to make the occupants pay rent even when the rental property becomes uninhabitable, allowing the landlord to enter the rental property at any time during the tenancy, permitting the owner of the property to give a reduced amount of notice when reclaiming possession of the property or to make the occupants of the rental pay any outlawed fees on behalf of the landlord.   

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Not Providing Tenants With Renting Documents 

Tenants must be supplied with the government’s how to rent guide from the outset of each tenancy. The booklet provides new renters with a breakdown of their rights and responsibilities, alongside where they can turn for help across varying scenarios in their tenancy. Further to this, landlords must also ensure that they have given their tenants a copy of their most recent energy performance certificate, offering the rental’s inhabitants a breakdown of how environmentally friendly the property is, alongside an estimation as to how much it will cost to run each month. If either of these documents have not been supplied to the tenants at the start of the tenancy’s fixed term, then similarly to the deposit protection, the landlord will be unable to reclaim the property through issuing the occupants with a section 21 notice.  

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