Tenancy Agreements | What should be included?

It is vital to have a proper tenancy agreement signed before any tenant occupies your property. A tenancy agreement is vital for setting out the tenant's obligations and the limitations of their rights.
The following provides a brief outline of what is included within a CompactLaw tenancy agreement.
This is the landlord and the tenant, however it can also include a guarantor, who guarantees to pay the rent, if the tenant does not.
This is the start and finish date for the tenancy.
Rent Amount & Payments
The amount of rent and how frequently it is paid, for example, "£500, Five Hundred Pounds per month, payable on the first day of every month".
The tenant's deposit retained by the landlord, again for clarity this is expressed in both figures and words, "£500, Five Hundred Pounds".
Method of Payment
The landlord can specify the payment method they prefer from one of the following:
Standing order to the Landlord
Standing order to the Landlord's Agent
Cheque/postal order posted to the Landlord
Cheque/cash collected by the Landlord
Tenant's Obligations
Naturally this is a long and very comprehensive list of obligations imposed upon the tenant, the following is a brief guide to some of the obligations:
1. Pay rent, though payment made by a third party on the tenant's behalf is treated as payment by the tenant. This prevents any third party from acquiring any rights as a tenant.
2. Pay all utility bills during the term of the tenancy. This includes the cost of reconnection of any of these services, if they are disconnected due to the tenant's non-payment. Also, the cost of water rates and council tax.
3. Pay television license fee for any television on the premises.
4. Keep the property in good condition. This list includes keeping, "all bath, sinks, taps, lavatories, cisterns, drainage systems and gulleys clear and freely running to promptly repair or clear any blockages to drains and waste pipes". Fair wear and tear remains the landlord's responsibility.
5. To leave the property at the end of the tenancy in a clean state and replace or repair all damaged items that would not be considered reasonable wear and tear.
6. Ban on any alterations or additions to the property, without the landlord's prior written consent.
7. Permit the landlord or the landlord's agents to enter and inspect the property on giving reasonable notice and at a reasonable hour.
8. Ban on assigning, under-letting, sharing or granting any license to use the property without the landlord's prior written consent. This includes taking in paying guests or lodgers.
9. Restriction on property use limited to residential use and not to carry on any business or use the property for illegal (including immoral) purposes.
10. General nuisance clause to prevent the tenant from doing (or permitting) anything that might cause a nuisance to the landlord or neighbours. This includes any action that would invalidate or increase any insurance on the property. The landlord can also seek payment from the tenant for any increases in insurance premiums, caused by the tenant's actions.
11. Keep any grounds or garden neat and tidy, this includes mowing any lawn, weeding and pruning. However, any alteration of the garden is not allowed without the landlord's written permission.
12. Ban on pets or other animals without the landlord's written permission.
13. No additional furniture can be brought into the property, without the landlord's written permission. (This does not apply to properties that are let unfurnished.)
14. Ban on playing musical instruments or music between the hours of 11pm and 7am.
15. Obligation to report any damage to the landlord or their agent. This includes a further obligation to ensure that pipes within the property do not freeze during the winter. The tenant will be responsible for any damage caused through their negligence.
16. The tenant also has a duty to report any damage caused by fire, theft, flood, and natural disasters, and provide sufficient detail for the landlord to make an insurance claim.
17. The tenant must also forward any correspondence or notices addressed to the landlord to the landlord or their agent.
18. The property must not be left vacant for a specified number of consecutive days, without informing the landlord. The property must always be locked and secure (including using any burglar alarm) when empty.
19. The tenant cannot change the locks on any doors or windows or make duplicate keys. All keys have to be returned to the landlord or their agent at the end of the tenancy.
20. Not to change the telephone number of the property.
21. The tenant must pay for professional cleaning at the end of the tenancy.
22. Within two months of the end of the tenancy the tenant must allow other prospective tenant's to be shown around the property.
23. Prohibition on keeping any offensive or flammable materials on the property.
24. To pay the landlord's legal costs if they have to take legal action against the tenant for breaches of the tenancy.
Landlord's Obligations
The landlord's obligations are as follows:
1. The landlord must keep the property in "tenantable repair", however this excludes having to carry out repairs during the tenancy due directly to fair wear and tear.
2. Allow the tenant to "peaceably hold and enjoy the premises" during the tenancy, as long as the tenant complies with all the terms of the tenancy.
3. To keep the property insured against fire and other risks.
4. To return any rent money paid, whilst the property is uninhabitable due to fire or other insured incidents.
5. To pay all outgoings and taxes not payable by the tenant.
Further Landlord Rights
The landlord also has the following additional rights:
1. To enter and take possession of the property if rent is unpaid for 14 days or more, where the tenant breaches the terms of the tenancy or becomes bankrupt or enters into an arrangement with creditors.
2. Any unclaimed property left at the premises and not claimed within a set period can be disposed of.
3. If the tenancy has a break clause either the landlord or the tenant can exercise this after the first six months of the tenancy.
Provision is made for deposits to be held under the tenant deposit scheme to protect deposits. Under either a custodial scheme or an insurance based scheme.
Notice provision under Section 48 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1984.
Guarantor Clause
If the tenancy agreement has a guarantor clause the guarantor covenants to pay rent on behalf of the tenant.
Signatures and Witnesses
Signature details for landlord, tenant(s) and witnesses
Inventory of Fixtures and Fittings
This is signed by both the landlord and the tenant.
Free Section 21 Notice
All CompactLaw Tenancy Agreements also come with a free Section 21 Housing Notice.
This housing notice should be used by a landlord who wishes to obtain possession of the property under an assured shorthold tenancy because the period of the tenancy has expired or is due to expire. As a landlord you must give the proper period of notice and give notice using an appropriate form.
Under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 a landlord must give at least 2 months' notice of their intention to take possession of their property. Therefore as a landlord you can serve a Section 21 notice on the tenant(s) 2 months before the tenancy is due to end, so that the expiry of the tenancy and the end of the notice period coincide.
A section 21 notice cannot be served unless the landlord has met his or her obligations under the Tenant Deposit Scheme, (see the Housing Act 2004).