New research from Direct Line for Business reveals that 10 per cent of landlords have no formal tenancy agreement in place, with a further 58 per cent using contracts that may not be legally binding.
- 10 per cent of landlords have no formal tenancy agreement in place with their tenants
- Among landlords who don’t use a letting agent, 58 per cent are using contracts they have adapted themselves and which may not be legally binding as they have not been checked by a lawyer
- 13 per cent of landlords have experienced disputes arising from a tenants’ rental contract in the last two years
- Nine per cent of landlords have not informed their tenants their deposit is held in a government-backed tenancy deposit protection scheme (TDP)
- Direct Line for Business launches new Legal Documents Service, which gives new and renewing landlord policyholders access to tenancy agreement templates they can complete and which can be reviewed by an accredited law firm to ensure they are legally compliant
London, 6 April 2016: New research by landlord insurance provider Direct Line for Business1 reveals one in ten private landlords has no formal tenancy agreement in place with their tenants.
The research exposes that where contracts are in place, landlords may unwittingly be asking tenants to sign documents that are not legally compliant. Of the landlords who don’t use a letting agent, 58 per cent used adapted tenancy agreements from either old agent contracts or other landlords (38 per cent) or an updated template they found online (20 per cent).
It appears landlords employ letting agents when they first rent out the property, then use the old contract template when agreeing a direct rental with new tenants or upon renewal with their existing tenants. The lack of professionally reviewed tenancy agreements may explain why more than one in eight (13 per cent) landlords have experienced disputes specifically arising from tenants’ rental contracts in the last two years.
Also concerning is that nine per cent of landlords have not informed their tenants that their deposit is held in a government-backed tenancy deposit protection scheme (TDP). This is despite the fact it’s a legal requirement2 that landlords provide the name and contact details of the tenancy deposit protection scheme (TDP) and its dispute resolution service within 30 days of taking a deposit. The research also revealed that four per cent of landlords have not taken any deposit from their tenants.
Christina Dimitrov, Business Manager at 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.
We understand that getting legal documents in place can be complicated which is why we’ve launched our new Legal Documents Service for landlords. Not only can this save landlords time and money, but creating the documents is both quick and easy, and most importantly, they can be reviewed by a Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) regulated law firm to ensure they are legally compliant. Based on our research of solicitor prices, it is estimated each landlord using the service would save over £2503.
When it comes to rights and protection, 38 per cent1 of landlords in England have never heard of the government’s ‘How to rent: the checklist for renting in England,’ which explains the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants. Less than a third (29 per cent) of landlords have supplied or directed tenants to this guide."
Direct Line for Business has launched a new Legal Documents service, which provides a range of legal documents including tenancy agreements and repossession notices. It employs a sophisticated document automation system enabling landlords to build legal documents quickly and easily. To ensure the documents are legally compliant, landlords can send them at no extra cost to MyLawyer Solicitors LLP, a Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) regulated law firm, which will conduct a review, answer any questions and make any necessary amendments, all within three working days.
For further details on Direct Line for Business’ Legal Documents Service visit www.directlineforbusiness.co.uk/legal-documents/landlord
Notes to Editors
1 Direct Line for Business surveyed 50 private landlords 1st – 8th March 2016
3 Epoq internal research of legal costs. Figures based on the average mystery shopped price of 13 randomly selected law firms in six major UK cities, rounded to the nearest £5 (November 2012)
Direct Line for Business
Launched in 2007 Direct Line for Business provides a range of insurance products for the small business sector direct by phone or online.
Direct Line for Business insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.
Direct Line for Business and U K Insurance Limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.