Once a suitable tenant has been found and you have accepted the tenant application, there will be some important paperwork to complete before the tenancy can start.
At this stage, the let is agreed subject to contract and satisfactory references. At KFH we always recommend the use of an independent, specialist referencing company which can also offer other services, such as a 12-month free Tenant Eviction Service where applicants have passed the referencing criteria. Initial referencing and Right to Rent checks using this service are free to landlords when they choose to use a KFH Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement. It is important to ensure this process is completed correctly and having a professional letting agent is advantageous for complete peace of mind.
If you are happy with the reference reports, your lettings agent will put together the tenancy agreement that sets out exactly the terms of your contract with your tenant, including any special requirements you may have.
Among other pertinent details and conditions, the tenancy agreement will include the following:
- The address of the rental property
- The name and address of the landlord
- The name of the tenant(s)
- The date the tenancy will commence
- The amount of rent to be collected and the frequency of its collection
- The duration of the tenancy
- The amount of the deposit that has been paid or the use of a Zero Deposit Guarantee
- The details of the tenancy deposit scheme being used
- The reasons for making claims against the deposit at the end of the tenancy (e.g. unpaid rent and damaged property beyond reasonable wear and tear)
- How and when the deposit will be returned or when a payment may be required from the tenant
- What to do if there is a dispute over the deposit
- What other payments need to be made by the tenant (e.g. Council Tax and utility bills)
- Whether or not sub-letting is permitted
- Whether or not pets are permitted
- Whether or not smoking is permitted
- The written notice period required from the landlord to request access to the property for inspection, to carry out works, or safety checks, etc (this must be at least 24 hours)
- The maximum length of time the property can be left vacant during a tenancy without informing the landlord
Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs)
The most common type of tenancy is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) as long as certain criteria is met. ASTs can be either periodic tenancies or fixed term tenancies. The duration can be decided upon between the landlord and the tenant; anything of six months to three years are the most common term.
Periodic tenancies have no fixed end date, but run on a month by month or basis, depending on how frequently the rent is collected. In practice, it is usually assumed that both parties are happy for the tenancy to continue until either gives notice to end the tenancy.
Non-Housing Act Tenancies (NHAs)
Any tenancy which does not meet the criteria to be an AST will fall outside of the Housing Act 1988. These type of tenancies are known as Non-Housing Act tenancies (NHAs). They may also be known as company lets or common law tenancies. Different rules apply to these types of tenancies, such as to how a tenancy can be ended, the amount of deposit which a tenant can be asked to pay, what payments a tenant can be asked to make, etc.
Finally, the contents and condition of your property should be checked against an inventory at the point when your tenants move in. It is important that this stage of the process is impartial and a specialist inventory company is always recommended. They will give you and your tenant a copy of the inventory check in report and, if instructed, another inspection at the end of tenancy to check that nothing is missing or damaged. This will be the basis of making any claim against the deposit.