As many as one in ten private landlords have no formal tenancy agreement in place with their tenants, according to new research by Direct Line for Business.
Worryingly, the research also found that where contracts are in place, landlords may unwittingly be asking tenants to sign documents that are not legally compliant. Of the landlords who don’t use a letting agent, 58% used adapted tenancy agreements from either old agent contracts or other landlords (38%) or an updated template they found online (20%).
The research revealed that it appears to common practice for landlords to use letting agents when they first rent out the property, then use the old contract template when agreeing a direct rental with new tenants or upon renewal with their existing tenants. Direct Line suggests that the lack of professionally reviewed tenancy agreements may explain why more than one in eight (13%) landlords have experienced disputes specifically arising from tenants’ rental contracts in the last two years.
“Tenants and landlords need a contract in place to protect both their interests,” said Nick Breton, Head of Direct Line for Business. “Contracts, deposits and deposit protection all help to make clear what is expected from each party when renting a property, and which can help minimise disputes where possible. If an old contract is adapted it may not comply with new legislation or be relevant for the current market.”
“Given the volume of disputes arising from tenancy agreements it’s important to get the contract seen by a legal professional before it’s signed,” he added.
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