What is the Model Tenancy Agreement and What Has Changed?
The government adjusted the terms of the model tenancy agreement in January to make sure it was easier for renters to find properties if they owned pets. Figures show that, before the changes that took place on 28th January, only 7% of landlords advertised pet-friendly lettings.
Given the increase in demand for the companionship of cats and dogs in the coronavirus lockdown, the Housing Minister Christopher Pincher explained the reasons behind the decision: “We are a nation of animal lovers and over the last year more people than ever before have welcome pets into their lives and homes. But it can’t be right that only a tiny fraction of landlords advertise pet-friendly properties and in some cases, people have had to give up their beloved pets in order to find somewhere to live.”
But what is the model tenancy agreement, is it the same as the standard tenancy agreement, is it legally binding and what does it mean for landlords and letting agents? Keep reading to find out.
What is the Model Tenancy Agreement?
The model tenancy agreement is a draft contract drawn up by the government that landlords and letting agents can use when they enter into a letting with a tenant. It is designed for a shorthold assured tenancy agreement in the private rented sector. Rather than taking time to draw up a personalised, custom agreement, landlords can use the document, also known as the standard tenancy agreement, for free.
It is available to download from the government website and users can either fill in the relevant details online or print it off and use it as a physical contract. If you choose to enter details on the internet, you still need to print the final contract so you can attach wet signatures from both parties on the document. The idea is that you use the tenancy agreement in full without deleting sections, although you can add text in relevant areas.
What Has Changed With the Standard Tenancy Agreement?
The main change in the standard tenancy agreement is that, as a default, the contract will allow tenants to keep pets. If a landlord does not want this, they must send a written objection within 28 days and have a “good reason”. These good reasons could include the property being too small to house a large animal, such as a big dog, or where it would be impractical to keep animals, like a top floor flat.
With 41% of UK households keeping a pet of some sort, it is easy to see why it would be a popular move to increase the percentage of pet-friendly rental stock. Currently, pet-owning renters are limited in their choices. But as well as there being positives from allowing tenants to own pets, there are also a number of downsides.
One major issue that landlords and letting agents have is with the potential damage pets can cause to properties. The new version of the model tenancy agreement does still put the onus on tenants to cover the cost of pet-related damage, but that might not ease the worries of all property owners.
Thankfully for those landlords, you are not obliged to use the model tenancy agreement. It is there for convenience, but you are allowed to create your own contract with your own clauses, as long as it adheres to the law.
What Are the Downsides of the Model Tenancy Agreement?
The model tenancy agreement is great if you want to avoid the hassle of creating a contract for renting out your property. However, because no two rental situations are the same, having a one-size-fits-all approach to the tenancy agreement is far from ideal.
The tenancy agreement is hugely important for setting in stone the roles and responsibilities that lie with both the landlord and the tenant. It is there to solve disputes and govern the way that the tenancy runs in a fair manner. This is why you need to get it right and that often means tailor-making an agreement to suit your individual case.
The pet issue is a prime example of this. No landlord has to allow pet owners to rent their property and they may have perfectly legitimate grounds for that choice that don’t fit in with what the government agrees are good reasons. When using the model tenancy agreement, they might end up with a pet in their property that they did not want.
Solution for Creating Your Own Tenancy Agreement
When you outsource your property management services to Executive Property Management Solutions, one of our options includes the drawing up of your tenancy agreement. This way, you can ensure that everything you need is in there and watertight before your tenant moves in. Contact us today to discuss our offering.