The research exposed that even where contracts are in place, landlords may be using documents that are not legally binding. Of the landlords who don’t use a letting agent, 58% admitted they used adapted tenancy agreements from either old agent contracts or other landlords or an updated template they found online.
The lack of professionally reviewed tenancy agreements may explain why more than one in eight landlords have experienced disputes specifically arising from tenants’ rental contracts in the last two years.
A further 9% of landlords said they have not informed their tenants that their deposit was held in a government-backed tenancy deposit protection scheme, despite this being a legal requirement.
Nick Breton, head of Direct Line for Business, said: “Tenants and landlords need a contract in place to protect both their interests. Contracts, deposits and deposit protection all help to make clear what is expected from each party when renting a property, and which can help minimise disputes where possible.
“If an old contract is adapted it may not comply with new legislation or be relevant for the current market. Given the volume of disputes arising from tenancy agreements it’s important to get the contract seen by a legal professional before it’s signed.”
Direct Line for Business has launched a service which provides landlords with a range of legal documents including tenancy agreements and repossession notices. To ensure the documents are legally compliant, landlords can send them at no extra cost to MyLawyer Solicitors, a Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) regulated law firm, which will conduct a review, answer any questions and make any necessary amendments within three working days.