What makes a good tenancy agreement
By Jo Eccles
Q: I’m renting out my property and the letting agent is drawing up the tenancy agreement. Should I leave it to them or am I able to have any input?
A: Tenancy agreements do vary a lot between estate agents so this is definitely worth being aware of. When we manage properties for landlords, we always insist to the letting agent that we use our own tenancy agreement, rather than theirs, so we have complete control over the terms.
Many properties have their quirks and there may well be things that need to be referenced in the agreement. For example, if you have a sani-flow system, it would be advisable to reference it in the agreement so that the tenant knows how to avoid blockages. Or, if you’re providing electrical equipment such as a TV or microwave, you may want to clarify that if they stop working, it is not your responsibility to fix them.
One of our landlords had a TV in his bathroom but didn’t mention that it didn’t work. So, when the tenant moved in, she, quite fairly, requested that it be fixed, meaning that the landlord had to pay some quite expensive bills to replace it. Had we been notified about it upfront, we could have exempted him from it in the tenancy agreement.
Another landlord who I recently spoke to had had issues with her neighbours as her tenant had bought a huge BBQ and was upsetting them with billowing smoke. I advised her that for future tenancies she may like to include a clause that puts restrictions on using a BBQ. Many landlords aren’t aware of, or aren’t given advice on, what they can have put into the tenancy terms.
If you’re choosing a property management company, or using a letting agent directly, one way to see how good they are is to understand how well they get to know the properties that they’re dealing with.
When we first started providing property management services several years ago, we quickly realised how key this is and we give every landlord an in-depth property questionnaire so we very quickly know the property as well as they do. This avoids any expensive grey areas and ensures that the rental is a success for all parties.
If you have a question you’d like Jo to answer please email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet her @joeccles.