Research reveals lack of formal tenancy agreements in UK for residential property

Taylor Scott International News

One in 10 private landlords in the UK has no formal tenancy agreement in place with their tenants, new research has found. And where contracts are in place, landlords may unwittingly be asking tenants to sign documents that are not legally compliant, according to the survey by landlord insurance provider Direct Line for Business. Of the landlords who don’t use a letting agent some 58% used adapted tenancy agreements from either old agent contracts or other landlords or an updated template they found online at 38% and 20% respectively. It appears landlords employ 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. The study suggests that a lack of professionally reviewed tenancy agreements may explain why 13% of landlords have experienced disputes specifically arising from tenants’ rental contracts in the last two years. Also concerning, it says, is that 9% of landlords have not informed their tenants that their deposit is held in a government backed tenancy deposit protection scheme (TDP). This is despite the fact it’s a legal requirement that landlords provide the name and contact details of the tenancy deposit protection scheme (TDP) and its dispute resolution service within 30 days of taking a deposit. The research also revealed that 4% of landlords have not taken any deposit from their tenants. ‘Tenants and landlords need a contract in place to protect both their interests. 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,’ said Nick Breton, head of Direct Line for Business. ‘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 explained. ‘We understand that getting legal documents in place can be complicated which is why we’ve launched our new Legal Documents Service for landlords. Not only can this save landlords time and money, but creating the documents is both quick and easy, and most importantly, they can be reviewed by a Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) regulated law firm to ensure they are legally compliant. Based on our research of solicitor prices, it is estimated each landlord using the service would save over £250,’ he added. When it comes to rights and protection, 38% of landlords in England have never heard of the government’s How to rent: the checklist for renting in England, which explains the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants while less than a third of landlords have supplied or directed tenants to this guide. Direct Line for Business has launched a… Taylor Scott International

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