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TENANCY AGREEMENT CHECKLIST: (ENGLAND & WALES UK)

Hello! I’m Tessa Shepperson and I’m a solicitor specialising in residential landlord and tenant law (in England & Wales only). If you are a landlord you should already be using a tenancy agreement when you rent out your properties. But do you understand the law relating to tenancy agreements and how it all works? For example 

The important details and clauses your tenancy agreements need to contain so YOU are not at risk

The consumer regulations which apply to all tenancy agreements - and which can make clauses you add yourself invalid (if you do not know the rules), and

The rights and obligations that will apply to your tenancy whether or not they are set out in your tenancy agreement!

One of the purposes of a tenancy agreement is to protect YOU! So you need to make sure that it is drafted correctly and has all the right things in it. Here is my checklist of ten top things to watch out for when you are drafting your tenancy agreement for your tenants:

1 LANDLORD LAW | WWW.LANDLORDLAW.CO.UK | WWW.LANDLORDLAWBLOG.CO.UK | TWITTER.COM/TESSASHEPPERSON 148 UNTHANK ROAD, NORWICH NR2 2RS | 01603 763096

Landlord-law is a service provided by TJ Shepperson solicitors - this firm is authorised and regulated by the solicitors regulation authority (no 78852).


Tenancy Agreement Checklist 1. Work out what tenancy type you have. Most tenancies will be assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs) but not all. If your tenancy is NOT an AST you will need a slightly different type of tenancy agreement. (Note that in some situations, such as lettings on a boat – you may not have a tenancy at all …) 2. Will you have people sharing the property? If so – are you going to rent out the whole property for them to share together? Or are you going to give them each a tenancy agreement for their own room and for shared use (with the other tenants) of the common parts of the property (eg kitchen, lounge etc). If the latter, then again you will need a different type of tenancy agreement 3. Are you going to be taking a deposit? If so make sure you have a suitable clause in the tenancy setting out the things you are entitled to make deductions for – otherwise you will not be able to make any deductions! (Note you will need to comply with the tenancy deposit regulations too) 4. Has your tenant passed referencing? (You do DO referencing, don’t you?) If not, you may want to consider taking a guarantor or perhaps six months rent in advance (but note that if you take rent in advance you need to be VERY careful) 5. Is there a contact address for you (the landlord) in the tenancy agreement which is in England or Wales? If not, your tenants are entitled to withhold rent until you provide a ‘section 48 notice’. This can be a particular problem for landlords of English/Welsh property who are living in Scotland or overseas 6. How long a fixed term are you going to give? If they are a new tenants, a long fixed term is probably not advisable, as this will make it more difficult for you to get rid of them if they turn

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Landlord-law is a service provided by TJ Shepperson solicitors - this firm is authorised and regulated by the solicitors regulation authority (no 78852).


out to be unsatisfactory. Six months is best. If the tenants prove themselves, you can always give them a longer fixed term later. 7. Are you willing to let to tenants with pets? If so you need to have special clauses in your tenancy agreement 8. If you are NOT prepared to allow pets, your prohibition clause needs to be in the proper format or it will be invalid 9. Are there any external documents you will want the tenant to be bound by? For example your insurance policy, a headlease, or maybe some house rules? These need to be attached to the tenancy agreement and signed by the tenant, if so. Otherwise they may be entitled to ignore them 10. Are there any important matters relating to your property which are not mentioned in the tenancy agreement but which perhaps should be? For example allowing your gardener access for seasonal pruning, special instructions for the use of a septic tank, or the bills you will be paying on the tenants behalf? If so you may need a bit of advice on how to deal with them.

If you’re feeling confused about tenancy agreements, and would like more information about the points raised above - and your rights and obligations generally, please visit: TenancyAgreementManual.co.uk

3 LANDLORD LAW | WWW.LANDLORDLAW.CO.UK | WWW.LANDLORDLAWBLOG.CO.UK | TWITTER.COM/TESSASHEPPERSON 148 UNTHANK ROAD, NORWICH NR2 2RS | 01603 763096

Landlord-law is a service provided by TJ Shepperson solicitors - this firm is authorised and regulated by the solicitors regulation authority (no 78852).


You are welcome to print out this checklist or save a copy to your computer, but please do not alter or edit it in any way. You can get information on all the issues set out in my checklist - and many more - for FREE by visiting TenancyAgreementsManual.co.uk and signing up for the free Tenancy Agreements 101. You’ll get instant access to the 101 (which has a MASSIVE amount of information to help you) plus the option to buy paid products from time to time. I may also contact you occasionally with news of any important legal changes and occasional money off offers and promotions.

4 LANDLORD LAW | WWW.LANDLORDLAW.CO.UK | WWW.LANDLORDLAWBLOG.CO.UK | TWITTER.COM/TESSASHEPPERSON 148 UNTHANK ROAD, NORWICH NR2 2RS | 01603 763096

Landlord-law is a service provided by TJ Shepperson solicitors - this firm is authorised and regulated by the solicitors regulation authority (no 78852).


Landlord tenancy checklist