Consider joint liability clauses for shared tenancy agreements

by Daniel Jones

Renting out a flat or a house to students throws up all kinds of issues to consider, not least of which is the potential for damage. A property inventory is essential, but landlords should also make sure they have a joint liability clause contained within the tenancy agreement. Do note that Lawpack's solicitor-approved tenancy agreements do have joint liability clauses.

The Association of Residential Letting Agents (Arla) has issued some advice, aimed at tenants, which highlights how landlords should approach letting their property. It notes that a joint liability clause makes each tenant responsible for the actions of their co-tenants, providing an added layer of protection to the landlords should one leave.

Another key step for both tenants and landlords is to carry out a rental inventory, which is mutually beneficial.

"A well prepared, detailed inventory assists in getting fair decisions at the end of your tenancy," says Arla. "All documents should be signed and agreed by both landlord and tenant."

Landlords should also be aware that they need to protect their tenant's deposit. "It is a legal requirement that the landlord or lettings agent protects the deposit through a tenancy deposit scheme, such as the TDS, which guards against possible misappropriation of monies," says Arla.

Aside from the legal obligations for landlords renting to students, it is vital to think about the market and where the demand is. As Arla points out, rents can vary wildly within the same university town.

It is also important to consider the property type before investing. Peter Mindenhall, researcher at IPINGlobal.com, thinks the traditional converted semi-detached property is "falling by the wayside" because of new rental regulations, while on-campus developments are "in need of upgrading".

"New-build developments with planning approval and support from the university and local council are the primary things to consider," he argues. "Some developers will also include management services or companies which will appeal to more active investors."


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Published on: March 22, 2012

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