Landlords - is your documentation legal?

Research recently published by Direct Line for Business reveals that up to 10% of landlords don’t use a fully legal letting agreement with their tenants.  The research results highlights that some landlords have no formal written tenancy agreement in place at all, while many others may have a defective one.


The research results indicate that even where legal contracts are place, many landlords and agents could be using forms which are not fully up-to-date with changes in the law, leaving them not fully protected and in some cases putting their ability to evict a bad tenant at risk.

Of those landlords surveyed who were not using a letting agent:

  • 58% said that they were using modified agreements obtained from previous lettings carried out on their behalf by an agent.
  • 38% use a template they were given by a friend  
  • 20% have modified, and agreement which they found on the internet


The survey revealed that it is very common for new landlords to use a letting agent for their first lettings, eventually taking on the job themselves once they have gained enough confidence. However, what they fail to do is keep themselves up-to-date with changes in the law and the necessary paperwork that goes with it. This approach leads to problems if things go wrong and the relevant documentation is sub-standard. 13% of the landlords questioned reported they have had difficulties in this way when disputes arise.


2015 saw a significant number of legal changes in the private rented sector (PRS) and the amount of documentation and compliance issues for private renting in England has multiplied considerably. Not just letting agreements, but forms and possession notices such as Section 8 and Section 21 have all changed and will not be legally enforceable if used in their old forms.


New legislation introduced requires important clauses in tenancy agreements, for example in the cases of health and safety: smoke and CO alarms,

where the onus is placed on the tenant to make regular checks during the tenancy. One issue that is commonly overlooked by inexperienced self-managing landlords is the protection of deposits in one of the government approved deposit protection schemes, and just as important, the serving on the tenant of the deposit statutory notice (section 213). Without this compliance, and for tenancies starting on or after 1st October 2015, the serving of the Gas Certificate, the EPC Certificate and the government’s “How to Rent” Guide, any possession notice served will be invalid.


Landlords should always ensure that they obtain their agreements, forms and notices from a trusted source where the agreements are regularly up-dated.


Article courtesy of  LandlordZONE®  


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