Following the recession, mortgage lenders have tightened their belts and are no longer ready to lend to people whom do not have considerable deposits and secure incomes. This has meant that many people ready to step on the property ladder have delayed and instead chosen to rent a property.
The following is some basic information regarding different tenancy agreements and how taking legal advice at the start of your lease can save you money in the future.
There are three common types of tenancy agreement:
1. Assured tenancy ('AT') - this is a longer-term arrangement in which, if you comply with the conditions of the tenancy there is no reason it cannot continually be extended. They are normally given by local authorities and the housing association, but private landlords can also do so.
2. Assured shorthold tenancy ('AST') - these are often give for a period of 6 months and no renewal is guaranteed after this.Nevertheless, if a landlord wishes to evict you from your property you are protected under the Housing Act 1988 and they are unable to do without a court order. ASTs are usually provided by private landlords.
3. Company letting agreement ('CLA') - an arrangement where a dwelling property is let to a tenant company
Your tenancy agreement
Even though there is no legal requirement, a tenancy agreement should always be in writing. The agreement will document the terms and conditions under which the landlord is happy to receive rent payment in return for you residing in the property. It is an important legal agreement and should be drafted with care so that you can feel secure in your rented property for a long period of time.Numerous tenants start their tenancy without having properly negotiated the terms properly, this then inevitably leads to disputes in the future.
It you speak to a specialist solicitor in the early stages it should help prevent any issues arising in the future. Experienced solicitors which specialise in this area are often able to recommend changes to your tenancy agreement which will help protect your interests. If you are taking out an tenancy with a local authority (as mentioned above with ATs) then it is more likely that you will just need a solicitor to quickly read through the lease agreement on your behalf.
Tenancy agreements which are put together by private landlords may not have the same protection woven in for tenants. Your specialised solicitor will help get rid of these before you start your tenancy.
A specialist solicitor should also be able to provide you with specific advice regarding deposit money paid, access issues and maintenance / service charges.
When seeking a specialist landlord and tenant solicitor use the Internet to look at their website and ensure that they have a team dedicated to this type of work. It is often a good idea to drop one of the solicitors an email and get a quote for looking at a lease agreement. Imagine how much money you will be saving by having your agreement legally checked now rather than fighting a legal dispute against your landlord in the future.
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