What you need to know about DIY tenancy agreements

Valentina GolubovicValentina Golubovic
Last updated on:
November 19, 2022
Published on:
October 17, 2022

Read our guide to Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreements

Read the Guide

If you are a landlord, renting your home can be a stressful experience. You have to deal with tenants and ensure parties understand and agree to the terms of their tenancy. You should have a written agreement between yourself and your tenant that outlines all of the conditions, including how much rent is payable, the notice period, the duration of the tenancy, the deposit amount and other key terms.

To avoid expensive lawyers, a DIY tenancy agreement can mean that you decide to draft an agreement yourself or use a contract builder to generate a tenancy agreement for you.

What is a tenancy agreement?

A tenancy agreement is a contract between a landlord and the tenant or tenants which outlines the different rights and obligations of each party. You can have a written tenancy agreement or a verbal agreement.

In addition to providing you and your tenants with an overview of obligations during the tenancy, this document also provides a record that can be used if any disputes arise in the future.

Types of tenancies

Assured shorthold tenancy agreement

The most common type of tenancy used in residential lettings. You will often find this as a written agreement, but a verbal agreement also suffices. It is unique in its limited security of tenure, i.e. the landlord can evict the tenant without reason so long as they follow the correct procedure.

An AST can be:

  • fixed term – i.e. 12 months
  • periodic – month to month

Lodger Agreement

A Lodger Agreement is a contract which grants a licence to occupy part of a residential property. The licence permits someone (the “lodger” or “licensee”) to rent out a room in the property someone else (the “licensor”) is living in for an agreed fee.

The licensor retains control and possession of both the room rented out to the lodger and the rest of the property. This means that the licensor can lawfully enter the lodger’s room at any time they want without permission. This is ultimately the core difference between a licence to occupy and a tenancy, the former does not grant a party the right to exclusive possession of even one room in the property.

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How to draft a tenancy agreement?

A simple tenancy agreement is written in plain English, contains the key terms and clearly defines the rights and obligations of the landlord and tenant. A simple tenancy agreement won't contain unnecessary or illegal clauses such as cleaning fees.

Dangers of drafting an agreement or using a free online template?

The dangers of using a free tenancy agreement are terms may be out of date, you may not be able to tailor the contract to your specific needs and you don't know if the template you are using is lawyers approved.

If you are not a lawyer and you decide to draft your tenancy agreement you can be looking at a £5,000 fine if you input illegal clauses or even more than that if a dispute arises and your contract is not legally sound and does not stand up in court.

How do draft a tenancy agreement with Legislate?

Legislate is created for non-lawyers who need legal agreements whether for property professionals or ordinary businesses who need employment agreements or NDAs.

Drafting a tenancy agreement with Legislate is easy. You select your contract terms by answering a few simple questions such as:

  • what is the term of the contract?
  • is the tenant responsible for paying utility bills?
  • how frequently will the rent be paid?
  • who is responsible for paying council tax?
  • when is the rent payable?

Once you are happy with your terms you can invite parties to sign the contract. A signed tenancy agreement on Legislate means you have a time-stamped, lawyer-approved contract tailored to your specific needs.

About Legislate

Legislate can help you with the legal headache that arises from renting out properties. With Legislate you can create all your legal documents such as ASTs, lodger licenses, student tenancies, section 21, tenancy application forms, how to rent letters and others. Book a demo and Sign up today to put the confidence back into contracting.

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