Do I Need A Solicitor To Draw Up A Tenancy Agreement?
Landlords are often faced with many legal pitfalls that can initially appear complicated and stressful. If a landlord fails to meet any of their legal requirements, this can lead to potential disputes with their tenants, but a well-drafted tenancy agreement can help alleviate many of these possible issues. Here, we explain why a landlord should have a solicitor draw up their tenancy agreements in order to avoid disputes and even legal action.
For many landlords, renting property is a hugely rewarding experience. When things run smoothly, and tenants are happy, it can be a great source of income whilst providing a home for its occupants. However, as many landlords understand, disagreements with tenants often occur and can cause significant distress to both parties.
While it is not legally required for a solicitor to oversee the drawing up of a tenancy agreement, getting legal advice can help to prevent disagreements between tenants and landlords, and provide mechanisms through which these problems can be resolved quickly.
In this short guide, we explain exactly what a tenancy agreement is, why you should consider instructing a solicitor to help you draw one up, and how Percy Hughes & Roberts can assist with any tenancy agreement query you may have. If you have any questions we have not answered, our specialist landlord solicitors are happy to speak to you regarding your landlord query. You can contact us by completing the enquiry form below or by calling 0151 666 9090.
What is a tenancy agreement?
A tenancy agreement is a contract between a landlord and tenant that details certain rights of both parties during the tenancy. It explains the terms and conditions of the rental agreement, specifying each party’s rights and responsibilities throughout. It can be written or verbal.
A tenancy agreement is made up of two types of terms
- Express Terms: What is written in the agreement, such as the amount of rent, details of the tenants, the notice period, and other relevant details
- Implied Terms: Things that are customary or required by law, such as keeping the property safe and fit for habitation, carrying out basic repairs, acceptance of fair wear and tear and similar provisions.
There are various details that must be included in tenancy agreements, including but not limited to:
- The names and addresses of both the tenant(s) and the landlord
- The start and end date of the tenancy (if it is a fixed term)
- Details of who is allowed to use the property, including any pets
- The amount of rent payable
- Whether the rent includes council tax and energy bills
- The date when rent is to be paid
- Details of any additional charges
- The landlord’s responsibilities
- The tenant’s responsibilities
Tenancy agreements are popular with both landlords and tenants because they lay out all of the legal requirements from both parties at the start of the tenancy. Both parties sign this agreement and can then be held accountable if either party breaches any terms.
Do I need a solicitor To draw up a tenancy agreement?
The laws surrounding tenancy agreements can be complex, which means it is vital that landlords draw up an agreement that protects their interests. By renting your property to a tenant, you are granting them substantial legal rights. While the tenancy agreement does not have to be drafted by a solicitor, having it prepared professionally can give you peace of mind that if a dispute does crop up, you are on the right side of the law.
If landlords create an agreement that is legally flawed, they can open themselves up to significant legal costs when dealing with tenant complaints. For example, it is always a good idea to get legal advice in relation to any terms that may indirectly discriminate against the tenant. Landlords cannot discriminate against their tenants for the following reasons:
- Sexual orientation
- Religion or belief
- Being a transgendered person
- Being pregnant or having a baby
Clauses written in tenancy agreements can often be overruled if they are found to be illegal or discriminatory. Landlords also have various legal obligations that can often be overlooked if legal advice is not taken from the outset, both in the preparation of a tenancy agreement and in the fulfilment of their duties. These obligations include:
- Preparation of an Energy Performance Certificate
- Registering the deposit with a Tenancy Deposit Scheme
- Checking immigration status in line with the Immigration Act 2014
- Right to rent checks
- Carrying out an inspection and providing a gas safety certificate
- Performing an electrical safety check
- Registering as a landlord with the local council
- Ensuring the property follows fire safety regulations and passes carbon monoxide and smoke tests
Using a solicitor to draw up your tenancy agreement ensures that you do not overlook any of your legal obligations and also guarantees that none of the terms and conditions in the agreement are unlawful. The right legal advice can save time and money in the long run, meaning landlords have peace of mind when renting out their property.
Using an expert landlord lawyer also ensures that you are advised on the current legal requirements in an area of law that is often updated and subject to change.
How Can Percy Hughes & Roberts Help?
Landlords can pre-empt and minimise any tenant dispute with a well-written, tenancy agreement. This area of law can often be complex, so while it is not a legal requirement to get professional advice, it is highly recommended that landlords seek the advice of a solicitor when drawing up a tenancy agreement.
Our specialist landlord team, based in Birkenhead, has been delivering the highest quality legal services for clients across the Wirral, Merseyside and the North West for more than 100 years. We understand that drafting a tenancy agreement can be daunting. We can provide expert legal advice and instruct you on your next steps.
Our landlord solicitors can help you with a range of issues relating to landlords and tenants and represent numerous landlords both residential and commercial. For more information on our landlord services, do not hesitate to get in touch with our expert solicitors today. Call us on 0151 666 9090, or send us your query by email by filling in our online contact form.