Your security as a landlord: The tenancy agreement

 

By Roland Romata

People become landlords for various reasons. Some are looking to make a long-term investment and others simply no longer need their place of residence for their own accommodation purposes. This area of the modern economy has grown considerable over the past few decades. As a result, it has become highly regulated. These regulations provide substantial protection for both landlords and tenants. Given the financial interest of the parties and the size of the current rental industry, it is important to be aware of the obligation and rights of the landlord.

As a landlord, what do I need to be aware of?

As mentioned, letting out your property involves complying with many regulations. To start with, there are the HM Revenue and Custom requirements concerning income tax. There are also regulations concerning the health and safety of the tenants, property maintenance, deposit management, rental increase and so on.

My tenant is my friend

I have dealt with numerous tenant and landlord disputes. Most of the time, the parties used to be close friends, family members or co-worker. Unfortunately, human relationships are fragile and such living arrangements often end up in disputes.
For example, one landlady, who I spoke to, rented out a room to a friend. She did not have any tenancy agreement in place given their friendship. She had taken the deposit and handed over the keys. After a few months, they had a fall out and the tenant vacated the property.

The landlady was shocked one day when she received a summons to appear at a court hearing as she had failed to secure the deposit using the one of the statutory scheme, the process caused her much distress.

Another common issue that I hear relates to the landlords not knowing enough about the tenants. For example, when tenants move out, the new tenant will need to sign a new agreement to make the tenancy legal. Unfortunately, I have dealt with cases where the leaving tenant recommends a new tenant who ‘takes over’ the lease. The landlords often fail to have the new tenant sign the lease. In a particular case, it took the landlord more than eight months to evict a tenant who took over such a lease but failed to pay rent.

It does not matter who your tenant is, or how good a relationship you may have with them. It is in your best interests to have a valid tenancy agreement written up and signed by your tenant(s). It is also crucial that you consult a specialist solicitor so you know your rights and obligations.

Roland Romata is one of Caven’s most knowledgeable case handlers with extensive experience in this matter from dealing with clients on a day-to-day basis.

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