Tamara Price, Lettings Manager, highlights some of the important things tenants should look for when reading through their tenancy agreement...
One of the most important parts of renting a home is understanding and signing a tenancy agreement, yet the number of tenants who aren’t fully aware of what is stipulated within their tenancy agreement is likely to be far higher figure than we’d suspect it to be. It’s a vital part of the rental process as it lays down the law on the things a tenant can and cannot do, states the length of the tenancy, highlights which bills, if any, are included, while also outlining what your landlord will expect from you and vice versa.
The tenancy contract acts as a binding contract between tenant and landlord and included the legal terms and conditions of your tenancy and the type of tenancy agreement it is - typically a fixed-term tenancy or periodic tenancy.
Below are a few important things we’d urge tenants to familiarise themselves with before agreeing to sign a tenancy agreement:
Many disputes arise between landlords and tenants because of special clauses that were included in the tenancy but which slipped by unknown to the tenants. A landlord may include specific rules that relate to that particular property, such as whether pets can be kept in the home, certain areas where you may or may not smoke, cleaning or general maintenance obligations etc.
The list of potential special clauses that can be included within a tenancy agreement runs far and wide, and in most cases the landlord or letting agent will be sure to point these clauses out to make sure they are well known and understood beforehand, but it’s always worth double checking the agreement to avoid any surprises that may result in you changing your mind about the property.
Your tenancy agreement should also outline your deposit position, stating how much you are to pay and how it’ll be protected. Landlords in Wales are legally obliged to protect tenant deposits in one of three government-approved deposits schemes - the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, the Deposit Protection Scheme or My Deposits.
The agreement should also outline any reasons a landlord may request to withhold a partial or full amount of the deposit. These reasons usually relate to damage to the property or furnishing that requires repairing that was caused by tenants or guests during the tenancy - not including natural wear and tear.
There is often a great deal of confusion as to whether tenants can sublet a property, but with a clear and concise tenancy agreement there really needn’t be. Of course, it is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure this is made easy to understand, but if you’re a tenant and you’re unsure it’s best practice to find out for sure what the rules are.
Subletting a property without permission from your landlord can lead to severe consequences, with large fines and the potential for legal action to be brought against you.
As a tenant it’s important to know where you stand when it comes to minor repairs and major repairs - understanding the difference and knowing who has to take responsibility. Some landlords will be happy for tenants to carry out minor works such as small DIY jobs if they would like to do so, whereas other landlords prefer to rectify all jobs themselves, no matter how small. Oftentimes a landlord will instruct the services of a property management company to deal with all maintenance and repair issues.
These are just a few important things to look for in a tenancy agreement, but the truth is the entire contract is important so we urge you to read it thoroughly and if you have any questions whatsoever, don’t hesitate to raise them with your letting agent or landlord directly.
To find out more about the wide range of properties we have available for let across Cardiff, contact our expert lettings team here at CPS Homes. There’s also plenty you can learn about renting in general over on our Renting FAQs. You can get in touch by calling 02920 668585, e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by popping into one of our three Cardiff branches.