Tenancy Agreement Form The importance of a tenancy agreement If a buy-to-let property is being let out by a landlord it is important, both for the landlord and for the tenant, that a tenancy agreement is prepared and signed before the tenant is given the keys and moves in to the buy-to-let property. This is because from the tenant's point of view, they need documentary proof of their tenancy, particularly if they are claiming Housing Benefit. From the landlords point of view without having a correctly filled out tenancy agreement means that a landlord will be unable to use the accelerated possession procedure. Having a tenancy agreement is important from both parties point of view because it provides a written record of what has been agreed between the landlord & the tenant regarding the occupation of the buy-to-let property. Where to get a tenancy agreement It is quite easy for a landlord to get hold of a tenancy agreement form to use. It is possible for instance to download a FREE tenancy agreement. To find out the websites that provide a free assured shorthold tenancy agreement a landlord should go to Google and type in free tenancy agreement in order to find these sites. Annual members of Landlord-Law can download a variety of different types of tenancy for different situations from the Landlord-Law site. Printed forms can also be obtained at any good stationers (such as WH Smith and Staples) - for example those printed by Law Pack Publishing and Oyez. A landlord should always ensure that when they obtain a tenancy agreement that it is from a reputable solicitor and it is up to date. Tenancy agreement forms printed before 2002 may not take into account property the guidance issued by the Office of Fair Trading on the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts 1999. Once a landlord has downloaded or bought a tenancy agreement, they should read it just to check that they agree with its contents. Most purchased tenancy agreements will cover the main points and will include clauses regarding the tenant's use of the property, termination of the agreement, and the like. Altering a tenancy agreement If though, on reading a tenancy agreement the landlord is unhappy about parts of it, the landlord should be very careful indeed about altering the wording in any way. For example a clause prohibiting pets might say something like: "Not allow or keep any pet or any kind of animal at the buy-to-let property without the landlord's prior consent (which will not be withheld unreasonably)" On reading this, a landlord might think "there are no circumstances under which they will allow their tenants to keep pets." They therefore will be tempted to delete the reference to about obtaining the landlords consent. However, that qualification is there for a very important purpose - it is there so the clause complies with the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 and the Office of Free Trade guidance. If a landlord removes it they may well be making the clause void. In which case they will effectively have no clause forbidding pets at all! Some alterations to a tenancy agreement will be fairly straightforward. For example if a landlord wants to delete a clause forbidding pets because you have agreed that the tenants can keep pets, then a landlord needs to cross the relevant clause out. If a landlord does make any changes, it is a good idea for the landlord and the tenant to initial any alterations at the time of signing, just to confirm that the alteration was agreed to by both the landlord and the tenant and was not something that was altered afterwards without the other parties consent. For most alterations, even some that seem straightforward, it is best to get a landlord's proposals checked or re-drafted by a solicitor who knows and understands this type of work. It is very easy for a landlord who does not know what they are doing to invalidate a clause by using inappropriate wording. Once a landlord is happy with the tenancy agreement, they need to ensure that both the landlord and tenant sign and date it to ensure that the tenancy agreement has been correctly validated.