Tenancy Agreements

We thought that you would find it useful to have access to a little information about tenancy agreements although you may wish to seek advice from the likes of a solicitor as well as make your own more detailed enquiries.

there may be either written or oral tenancy agreements
There are various forms of tenancy agreement – Image credit: NobMouse.

What is a tenancy agreement?

A tenancy agreement is a contract that is made between the landlord and the tenant(s) although it can be an oral agreement instead of a written agreement. It sets out the rights that all parties have. In the case of an oral tenancy agreement it should be appreciated that this could be difficult to enforce and prove.

Do you have to have a written tenancy agreement?

Interestingly, as far as England and Wales is concerned, you do not need to provide such an agreement to the majority of tenants. The likes of housing associations and local authorities do so.

Most tenants in Scotland are provided with a written tenancy agreement.

The tenancy agreement has to be signed by all parties and a copy provided to the tenant(s).

What is included in a written tenancy agreement?

The names of the parties to the agreement, the address of the let property, who can utilise the property, which part of the property can be used, the start date of the tenancy, how long the tenancy is to last, details of services you will provide to the tenant(s), how much the tenant will pay, what that includes and when an increase can be made and what notice period is required to end the tenancy.

What documentation must you give to the tenant?

If it is an assured shorthold tenancy agreement that was put into place on or after 28 February 1997 in either England or Wales then, within 28 days of receiving a written request to do so, you must give the tenant the terms of the agreement in writing.

The tenant, if he or she requests it, must be given your written name and address within 3 weeks.

If you have a tenant that pays their rent on a weekly basis you must issue them with the likes of a rent book.

We hope that the above is of benefit.

Is It Worth Insuring Your Buy To Let Property?

This is an interesting question and worth spending some time answering. As with most things in life, there is no straight answer!

If you have bought a property outright with your own funds with a view to renting it out you are under no legal obligation to insure it or the contents that you own in it for that matter. However, if you took out a buy-to-let mortgage on the property then the lender may have made it a condition of the advance that you arrange suitable landlords insurance.

if you had a fire at your buy-to-let property wouldn't you be glad to have landlord insurance in place?
How would you feel if your buy-to-let property were destroyed in a fire and you had no landlord insurance? – Image credit: Joseph Krawiec.

There is no question that the amount you have paid for the property will be a significant sum of money. In view of that, surely you would wish to protect your investment to make sure that should something untoward happen to it there is adequate insurance cover in place that would pay out to put right any damage to the property or your contents.

Even if you were particularly wealthy and could afford to carry out any repairs caused by the likes of fire or flood by using your savings isn’t it worth just taking out a landlord insurance policy that may only cost a few hundred pounds a year in premiums. If you did not have such cover you could be faced with having to pay a bill running into tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds.

What would happen if one of your tenants was severely injured whilst at the property and you were deemed to be at fault? The monetary claim made against you could be huge depending upon the severity of the injury. Landlord insurance would provide you with public liability cover that would hopefully be of a sum sufficient to meet such a claim.

Surely, in view of what we have said above, it is not worth taking the risk. Why not get a quote today to hopefully see how competitively priced landlord insurance can be.

Renting v Buying

Having made the decision to leave your parent’s home to set up on your own or with a partner one of the next decisions that you will need to make is whether to buy or rent a property. It will not come as a surprise to you to read that there are a number of factors that you will need to take into account in order to make such a decision.

So, let’s have a look at some of the things that you will need to consider: –

Buying or renting a property is not an easy decision
Should you buy or rent a property? – Image credit: John Picken Photography.

Investment

When you buy a property to live in, you are investing in the future in so much as you will hope that the value of the property that you own will increase in value. The equity that you hopefully build up over a number of years could be used to your benefit should you decide to move upmarket or it could be used to supplement your income if you were to downsize when you retire and use some of the sale proceeds towards supporting you in retirement.

However, if you were merely to rent a property, you would not benefit from any increase in the value of the property as the landlord would benefit in this respect.

Flexibility

If you own a property, you are able to decide how it is to be decorated both inside and outside. You can add a conservatory to it or fit double-glazing. You can have fitted wardrobes installed or put in a new kitchen. You could do none of those things if you were to let a property unless it was with the landlord’s permission and, in any case, you probably wouldn’t want to go to any great expense as there is no guarantee of being able to reside in a rented property on a long-term basis.

A rented property is more flexible in so much as you are not tied into staying in it on a long-term basis. This enables you to move around once the rental agreement has come to an end.

Administration

There is an awful lot of paperwork when it comes to buying a property especially if a mortgage is involved and considerable expense in employing a solicitor. However, with a rental property, there is not so much paperwork involved.

Maintenance

If you own your property, it is yourself that is responsible for keeping it in good order such as painting and decorating it or calling in a plumber should there be a leak. If you rent a property, it is the responsibility of the landlord to sort out these things.

So, as you can see, there are a number of things that may affect your decision as to whether to buy or rent a property.

Renting Out Your Home

There are a number of reasons why you would consider renting out your home. For instance, you may have been unable to find a buyer for your property and are desperate to move to a larger property to accommodate a growing family. Another reason could be that you would like to move overseas for two or three years but would still like to come back to the same property in the UK after that period.

Renting out your home is a big decision and there are a number of factors that you need to consider before committing yourself so let’s have a look at some of them.

you may need to take some advice as to the suitability of your property to rent out
You need to be confident that your property is suitable to be rented out – Image credit: Elliott Brown.

Find out about property rental

You need to do your research to make sure that the property rental market is for you as it is not always “plain sailing”. For instance, you may find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to evict the tenants for some reason.

Suitability of property

Your home needs to be suitable to rent out. For instance, will it attract tenants and are those tenants the sort of people you would be comfortable letting to? For example, you may own a brand new 2-bedroom apartment that has been built close to a university. Therefore, it could make ideal living accommodation for students but would you be happy allowing students to rent out your new, desirable home? However, if it were an old four bedroomed terraced property you may feel comfortable renting it to students.

Financial Viability

There is no point in renting out a property if it is not financially viable to do so. At very least, you would want the monthly rent to cover any outgoings the property has such as mortgage repayments, landlord insurance and maintenance. Ideally, it would be nice to make some net profit.

Letting Agents

You could deal with the whole letting process yourself or employ a letting agent who will receive a percentage of the rental income for providing their services that could include advertising the property, vetting the tenants including taking up references, visiting the property periodically to check it is being satisfactorily maintained by the tenants and deal with the collection of any rent and chase any arrears.

Mortgage Lender

If you have a mortgage on the property you will need to inform the lender of your intentions to let it out and obtain their permission to do so. This may involve a change in your mortgage terms such as the interest rate.

Landlord Insurance

You will need to protect your investment property by arranging landlord insurance as ordinary owner-occupied buildings and contents cover is not suitable for a property that is rented out. Further information can be found on this website.

We trust that the above has been informative.