Letting & renting property: a guide for landlords and tenants

Whether you're renting or letting property, it's important that the right agreement is in place to protect your rights and to rely on if you end up in a dispute.

So many tenants and landlords enter into the wrong types of tenancies with terms that don't suit them just to save a few bucks and end up regretting it later on.

That's why we've put together this short guide on renting/letting property, so you'll know where you stand when renting/letting property and the steps you should take to protect yourself.

Assured shorthold tenancy

When letting out your property the tenancy will automatically be an “assured shorthold tenancy” (an AST), unless you specify otherwise. An AST is a type of legal tenancy prescribed by law and ASTs come with certain rights and responsibilities.

In order to be an AST the agreement will need to be written and will contain the details of both parties and all of the terms of the rental. It should be signed by both parties to ensure it is binding.

What if you don’t want to enter into an AST?

If you don’t want to enter into an assured shorthold tenancy agreement and would prefer something a little less ‘official’, you may want to consider a licence agreement. This is much less formal, and confers less rights, but it does not give both parties the same protection.

Beware of trying to pass an AST off as a licence agreement, a court will often see through it and treat it as an AST in any case.

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If you’re letting your property

If you’re letting your property through a managing agent, they will often draw up an AST for you. Managing agents are not lawyers though and they will often simply use one draft for all of their rentals. Whilst these draft agreements will sometimes be perfectly suitable, some may be poorly drafted or will not include specific terms you would want (e.g. a break clause at 6 months, no pets, details of who pays for repairs, etc.).

It’s always worth reading through the tenancy agreement thoroughly yourself and if there are any parts you don’t understand, have a specialist take a look.

If you’re letting a property and aren’t using a managing agent, or you’re concerned that the draft tenancy agreement isn’t up to scratch, it’s definitely worth getting it checked over by a specialist property lawyer before using it. Otherwise, you may find yourself with nightmare tenants who you can’t kick out of the property!

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If you’re renting a property

If you’re renting a property, it may well be worth having a specialist lawyer check over the agreement for you before you sign; especially if you aren’t entirely sure of what your obligations are.

If you don’t, you could find yourself tied into a long and expensive lease which doesn’t suit your needs and circumstances.

Avoiding costly disputes

Remember, if you have a dispute with your landlord or tenant, it’s usually the tenancy agreement which will determine the outcome, so it pays to make sure it’s up to scratch before you sign it. This limits the potential for a dispute and helps ensure any issues can be solved quickly and easily.


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