Ten Reasons Why

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Ten Reasons Why Landlords should always use a written tenancy agreement From Tessa Shepperson of Landlord Law

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Its not strictly necessary to have a written agreement : Under s54(2) of the Law of Property Act 1925 you can create a legal tenancy without a written document if: It starts immediately It is for a term of not more than 3 years It is at a market rent and No premium is paid So why do we need one?

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1. To record what was agreed Otherwise if the tenant says he agreed to pay ?800 p.c.m. whereas you KNOW he agreed to pay ?1,000 – How are you going to prove this?

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2. To record the type of tenancy There are lots of different types of tenancy agreement – Standard ASTs Resident landlords Lets of a room in a shared house Etc … How will people know which YOUR tenancy is? If there is no written document?

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3. To make rent payable in advance Did you know that the only reason rent is payable in advance is because the tenancy agreement says so? If there is no tenancy agreement clause, then the rent will automatically be payable in arrears

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4. To allow you to make deductions from the deposit The deposit money belongs to the tenant. If there is no clause authorising deductions in a tenancy agreement – you cannot make deductions!

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5. So the landlord can protect his position There are lots of other clauses which you can use to regulate the tenants’ use of the property - for example: Forbidding alterations & re-decoration without the landlord’s agreement Prohibiting pets Setting out how utilities should be paid Etc …

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6. To use in Court Proceedings For example - you cannot use the special ‘accelerated procedure’ for section 21 claims, unless you have a written tenancy agreement. Even if you use a different procedure, it may still affect your case if you do not have a written agreement

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7. So you can provide a copy to guarantors If you take a guarantee then the guarantor must be given a copy of the tenancy agreement If they have not had proper information about what they are guaranteeing, the guarantee may be unenforceable …

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8. So you can comply with s48 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1987 This says that you need to provide the tenant with an address in England or Wales for the service of documents If this is not done then the tenant can withhold rent until you have …

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9. Because the tenant cannot be forced to sign one later If your tenant refuses to sign a tenancy agreement then, if he is already living in the property, there is nothing you can do to make him – short of evicting him. Which will be more difficult as the accelerated procedure will not be available to you …

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10. Because it is the proper thing to do If you are a serious landlord it is essential that you have a properly drafted tenancy agreement – otherwise not only do you look unprofessional, it will also make it more difficult for you to deal with bad tenants

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Find out more: Find out what type of tenancy agreement is suitable for YOUR property at : www.landlordlaw.co.uk/which-tenancy