Robust tenancy agreement 'vital for any landlord'

by Sarah Ashcroft

A decent tenancy agreement is a vital resource for any landlord looking to attract student tenants.

This is according to Eddie Hooker, managing director of Total Landlord Insurance, who explained that having such "robust" paperwork is essential to make students and their guarantors are aware of any obligations they have during and at the end of their contractual time in the property.

Such requirements might include cleaning the abode or maintaining the garden and may be alien to some young people if this is the first time they have lived somewhere they do not have a parent taking care of them or the luxury of the maintenance staff in student halls.

With outdoor spaces and lawns, it is unlikely that looking after the bushes and flowerbeds will be a priority for young tenants - Mr Hooker observed - and therefore it is essential the landlord lets them know exactly what state they wish their yard to be kept in.

"It's all about preparation right at the beginning of the tenancy - make sure there's proper paperwork and everyone's aware of what their obligations are," he added.

Mr Hooker explained the need to have a house returned to its owner in a decent state is precisely why landlords use deposit schemes, whereby the tenant's deposit on the property is to be returned to them on the condition the dwelling in question is clean and undamaged when the students hand in their keys at the end of the term.

The expert noted that a robust tenancy agreement needs to cover all bases to ensure both parties know where they stand on what is permitted.

For example, if pets are or are not allowed, this needs to be set out in the paperwork, similarly with whether or not the tenants are allowed to smoke anywhere on the property.

"That's why you've got deposit schemes and your insurance should be adequate. I always say it's about communication - explain to the tenant what you expect them to be doing," Mr Hooker concluded.

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Published on: September 13, 2012

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