Having a clear, concise and legally-sound lease agreement is essential for every tenancy, and it’s important to seek the advice of a qualified and experienced legal expert when putting together a rental contract.
This is to ensure your investment is protected, and that you are covered as a landlord – so when it comes to disclosures, what exactly should you think about including? Below, we have made some suggestions (but please note that you should always seek the advice of a solicitor when drafting up a rental contract)….
The Applicant’s Assurance
This gives the applicant the chance to confirm that all of their personal information is correct, and that should it be discovered that any of it is falsified, this would be grounds for rejecting the application. In light of new rules such as Right to Rent checks, it’s especially important for landlords to have a complete and correct profile of their tenants.
The application fee
This non-refundable fee is used to cover the costs of thing such as the aforementioned identity checks, along with other background checks that are necessary to conduct a tenant screening. You may also wish to include a liability statement that protects you from any consequences should there be any tenant ramifications that arise following a tenant screening.
Once the tenant screening is complete and information such as credit checks, prior landlord statements and employee references have been obtained, you may wish to use or refer to this information later on in the tenancy. To cover your right to do so, you may wish to include an extended authorisation clause.
Deposit collection and holding
If the application is successful, tenants will be asked to pay a security deposit to hold the property. This is normally the equivalent of one month’s rent, and in accordance with the law, it must be placed into an approved Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) scheme. Landlords are not able to hold onto this money themselves. You should provide them the details of your chosen TDP in the rental contract.
You may also want to include some requirements for moving in and out – for example, if a tenant is applying for occupancy and has a pet, you may have it written into the contract that they have to have the property professionally cleaned at their own expense at the end of the tenancy.
Having these and other disclosures in your lease can give you peace of mind as well as some protection should you need it in the event of a dispute. Even if you have a template you have used for years, it’s important to remember that legislation changes often when it comes to the private rental sector, and so it is always wise to seek out a solicitor to help you draft up a compliant and legally binding rental contract.