Tenancy Agreement can be called the Control Panel in a tenancy arrangement between the landlord and the tenant. Tenancy Agreement gives a landlord the full legality to exercise his power and assert his rights over the tenant under the defined terms contained in the agreement until the tenancy is over.
Legal experts caution that no landlord should allow the tenants to occupy a property before signing a tenancy agreement. A tenancy agreement will have explicit terms of tenancy stated and endorsed by both the parties, relating to matters like,
- Amount of Rent
- Amount of Deposit
- Eviction: Without a Tenancy Agreement no landlord can ask a tenant to vacate the premises. Evicting through the courts under section 21 can be done only under a tenancy agreement.
- Risk of Stay and Sign Option: Letting a tenant in after a verbal understanding and then asking for a tenancy agreement is malafide. When a tenant moves into the property and pays his first rent he becomes an assured short hold tenant without a tenancy agreement. Such a tenant can refuse to regularise the situation by signing a Tenancy agreement after he had moved in. In that situation the landlord will feel powerless as the tenant is already enjoying privileges like,
- Assured short hold tenancy
- Monthly periodic tenancy
- Liability on repairing covenants in s11 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985
- Hard to evict the tenant from the property other than a court bailiff (Protection from Eviction Act 1977)
- Landlord bound by regulations such as the gas regulations and powers exercised by Local Authorities, under the Housing Act 2004 relating to the condition of the property.
- The tenant cannot sublet the property without the landlord’s consent (s15 Housing Act 1988)
- No improvements or alterations to the property without the landlord’s written consent (s81 Housing Act 1980), and
- A tenant must act in a ‘tenant like manner’
Some legal curbs on the tenant is no substitute for the lack of a properly drafted tenancy agreement. It goes without saying that all landlords must make sure that they have signed a tenancy agreement before letting the tenant in!
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