The Key To Peace Of Mind Renting out your property may seem like an easy source of income, but can also be a legal minefield. If there are disagreements between you and your tenants, it can quickly become a drain on your time and resources. The best way to avoid this is to take the right legal advice at the start.
We can deal with all areas of Landlord and Tenant Law and are skilled in settling disagreements. But prevention is better than cure. Before you even look for a tenant, we can help you decide what the terms of the tenancy will be and can build these terms into a written 'tenancy agreement' tailored to your needs.
Tenancy Agreements A tenancy agreement is a contract between you and your tenant. This contract between you and your tenant can be written or verbal. In England and Wales there is no law to say that landlords have to provide a written tenancy agreement, but it is a good idea to do so. Otherwise, if you have a dispute with your tenant about the terms of the agreement, it is your own word against theirs as to what was agreed.
The main advantage of having written tenancy agreement is that it sets out your rights and responsibilities as a landlord in a way that is legally enforceable. This keeps disagreements to a minimum because both sides know where they stand.
There are several types of tenancy agreement. Of these, the two most common types are the 'assured shorthold' tenancy and the 'assured' tenancy.
Assured Shorthold Tenancy This is normally for at least six months and the tenant has fewer rights to stay at the end of the tenancy period agreed.
Assured Tenancy This is often used by public-sector landlords. It gives the tenant far greater rights to stay at the end of the tenancy period agreed.
Ideally, you should contact us before you agree the terms of a tenancy with your tenant. This will give you the chance to ensure that the terms are fair and legal before you commit to them.
Getting Advice Ideally, you should contact us as soon as you start thinking about renting your property out. This will give you a clear idea of the terms to offer to any tenant you are considering.
We can: explain the different types of tenancy agreement and identity the most suitable for you ; draw up or check a tenancy agreement for you; highlight the essential requirements and the terms of your tenancy agreement; explain any related legal issues; ｷ warn you of nay pitfalls, including advice on how to end an agreement; and give you advice on the type of tenant references to ask for .
Drawing Up Your Agreement
Once we have been instructed, we will explain your rights and responsibilities as a landlord. You have the opportunity to explain your specific needs and concerns. This will help us to draw up a tenancy agreement that is tailor-made to your needs. During this process, we will cover the following issues with you.
Length and type of tenancy What type of tenancy do you want? How many tenants will live in the property? What notice will you or your tenant need to give to end the tenancy? How long will the tenancy last?
Restrictions What restrictions do you want to place on your tenants about keeping pets or playing loud music?
Rent How much rent can you charge? When must the tenant pay the rent? What penalties are there for paying late? When can you increase the rent? Are Council Tax and fuel include in the rent?
Deposits What deposit must the tenant pay? Is the property furnished? If so, will the agreement include a list of furnishings and fittings? When should you return the deposit and in what circumstances can you keep it?
Service charges and repairs Will you provide any services such as laundry, maintenance or meals? Will you be making separate service charges for these? What are your duties to make repairs?
Access What are your rights to enter property?
It is a good idea to give all these issues some thought before visiting us, and take along any documents which may be relevant.
Using The Agreement Once you have a tenancy agreement, make sure that both you and your tenant sign it at the start of the tenancy. You must give your tenant a copy of the agreement if they ask for it.
Related Matters We can also give you advice on some of the broader issues involved in being a landlord, such as tax liability and what to do if the property you want to rent out is mortgaged.
Disagreements If you do have a disagreement with your tenants, there are several ways we can help. Whether it's a simple case of checking your legal right's or something more complicated such as adapting your tenancy agreement, negotiating a solution or even going to court, we have the knowledge and experience to support you.
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