Friday, September 09, 2005

Landords - check the terms of your tenancy agreement

Reuters.co.uk: OFT issues new guidance to buy-to-let landlords
Thu Sep 8, 2005 8:04 AM BST

The Office of Fair Trading is concerned some tenancy agreements or leases place an unfair burden on the tenant and has issued new guidance to landlords on how the regulations apply to tenancy contracts. The aim is to help landlords stay within the law and provide clear and fair contract terms for tenants.

The OFT receives more than 200 complaints every year about unfair terms in standard tenancy contracts, such as financial penalties, exclusions of the landlord's liability for repairs and unfair termination and eviction clauses. It is very important for landlords to get it right because if a contract is deemed to be unfair, it is unenforceable.

The OFT guidance outlines why some standard contract terms used in tenancy agreements are considered to be potentially unfair and includes possible ways of revising them. Examples of unfair terms include those that exclude or limit the landlord's liability, for example by transferring the landlord's legal obligations to the tenant. Leases which impose potentially excessive penalties on tenants for failure to meet the terms of the contract - for example, by charging excessive rates of interest on late payments of rent - would also be regarded as unfair. Clauses which enable the landlord to vary the terms of the contract, to impose new rules on the tenant or increase the rent at short notice would fall into the same category, as would requirements to give an excessive amount of notice before leaving.

A consumer leaflet, 'Unfair tenancy terms - don't get caught out', which gives a brief overview of the OFT's views on unfair terms in tenancy agreements, is also available. The guidance and the consumer leaflet are available from the OFT website (www.oft.gov.uk) or by phone on 0800 389 3158.

If you're not up to speed in what you can put in a tenancy agreement check this out.

Chris

Link

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