Landlords are your contracts legal
Landlords, are your contracts legal?
We have started to notice that many landlords to not have a formal tenancy agreement in place and are either relying on a gentleman’s agreement or a contract that is not legally binding, all well and good until something goes wrong.
We are especially getting enquiries from new and accidental landlords who have now got a problem with a tenant and are looking for free advice and guidance and it is highlighting how many of them do not have a legally binding tenancy agreement in place.
After discussing the matter with several landlords, we range around a couple of letting agencies that use our services and found that they are experiencing the same. One local Birmingham letting agent said that they have found when they are asked to manage a property with an existing tenant in place just over 15% have no paperwork in place. We contacted one of our clients in London and they said on average 60% of new instructions with a tenant in place, had a old modified agreement or one downloaded from the internet.
Many private landlords are ignorant to the fact that many of these contracts even if signed in good faith, may not be legally compliant.
It was interesting that both agencies also mentioned that despite all the press and advertising it seems there are many landlords and tenants that are unaware that a deposit must be lodged with the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme.
With a little internet research and a couple of phone calls we found out that there are currently 143 pieces of legislation in the UK that relate to letting a property. Private landlords must decide if they have sufficient knowledge of all the legislation affecting them or to employ the services of a professional letting agency.
Despite what some would have you believe legislation in the lettings market is designed to protect both landlords and tenants, so it is important all parties are fully aware of the many and varied regulations relating to the industry.
Ignorance is no defence so landlords and tenants should consider that the best way to ensure their rights are being protected is to let through an experienced letting agent who is a member of a professional body such as ARLA and holds Client Money Protection.
You have to consider the peace of mind benefits against the cost of using the services of such an agent as they will ensure you comply with the law at every stage.
A failure to draw up a bespoke and legally compliant tenancy agreement can leave both parties vulnerable and potentially lead to disputes between landlords and their tenants especially if the relationship turns sour and leads to an eviction.