How to write a Tenancy Agreement

A tenancy agreement is an incredibly important component of renting property. Whatever issue arises, the tenancy agreement can put a stop to disputes over who is responsible for what and what was agreed at the start of the tenancy. It should detail everything that the tenant should and shouldn’t do, what the landlord will and won’t do, what is expected of both parties and it serves as a reference point throughout the tenancy.

So, you’ve got the house, you’ve found the perfect tenants – it’s time to write that tenancy agreement! It may feel daunting but it is certainly necessary – if you ask us, tenancy agreements can end up providing the answer to a lot of possible problems that arise in rental situations.

What should a tenancy agreement include?

A tenancy agreement should include the following details:

  • The full names of all people involved in the tenancy.
  • The rental price and how and when it is paid.
  • Information on how and when the rent will be reviewed.
  • The deposit amount and how it will be protected i.e. which deposit scheme is being used.
  • When the deposit can be fully or partly withheld, for instance to repair damage caused by the tenants.
  • The property address
  • The start and end date of the tenancy.
  • Any tenant or landlord obligations including who is responsible for minor repairs.
  • Garden maintenance
  • Which bills the tenant is responsible for.
  • Whether the property can be sublet or have lodgers
  • Landlord’s contact details
  • Pet clauses
  • Smoking clauses
  • Whether the tenancy can be ended early and how this can be done.

A good tenancy agreement is often 10+ pages, but don’t worry – there’s a few online templates you can use such as this one that does a lot of the hard work for you. Read it through and check that it reflects the way you want the tenancy to work, and add in any of your own additional clauses. If you choose to use a different template, just be sure that it’s in-date and relevant for your respective country.

Anything else?

We also strongly recommend drawing up an inventory so that you have a detailed record of the state the property was in at the start of the tenancy. Take photos that show that exact condition of every internal element of the property so that you can refer back and easily decipher between damage and fair wear and tear at the end of the tenancy – vital when deciding whether you need to make any deductions from your tenants deposit.

You’ll also need to handover a copy of the property’s energy performance certificate to your new tenant, the governments ‘how to rent’ leaflet and if the property has a gas supply, a gas safety certificate. Before you hand over the keys, your tenant needs to sign the tenancy agreement. You’ll need two copies – the original copy with their signature on for you to keep (not a photocopy or scan!), and a copy for the tenant with your original signature on.

Phew! It may seem like a lot of work, but write yourself a checklist and get the process nailed. With a solid tenancy agreement, you should be able to sit back, relax and enjoy a problem-free tenancy!

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