The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) has finalised a new model Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement. This follows the issue of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations, by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in May 2001.
Since then ARLA has been working closely with the OFT to produce an agreement with standard pre-printed clauses that should fall within the requirements of the unfair terms regulations.
These regulations are enforced by the OFT and by local trading standards departments. There are four tests that are likely to be applied in a test of fairness.
• Is the clause in plain English?
• Is it misleading, or has the potential to be misleading?
• Does it impose disproportionate financial penalties?
• Does it create a significant imbalance in rights and obligations to the detriment of the tenant?
Adrian Turner, chief executive of ARLA, said: ‘These new regulations mean that anyone involved in producing tenancy agreements will have to forget any historic prejudices and take an entirely fresh approach.’
The new model agreement will be available from ARLA from the middle of September.