Model agreement to set out rights of tenants and landlords

The government is introducing new measures to encourage longer term tenancies and improve standards in the private rented sector.

A model tenancy agreement, developed with the sector, will set out the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants, and provide an industry benchmark for written tenancy agreements.

Ministers say the agreement will ensure families can benefit from longer tenancies without changing the existing legal framework for the rental market.

They also believe it will reduce costs for both tenants and landlords who will not have to pay letting agents to arrange frequent contract renewals.

Tenants will also be able to access better information so they know the types of tenancy they can request.

The government is also introducing a tenants’ charter which will give advice on what to do if something goes wrong with a tenancy.

The charter will ensure greater transparency about letting agents’ fees to prevent unreasonable practices and unfair charges. This will enable tenants to know the full costs before they sign up to any contract.

The proposals are in addition to measures already announced. These include new legislation which will require all letting and managing agents to belong to an approved redress scheme. These schemes will enable both landlords and tenants to pursue complaints. The aim is to drive up standards by weeding out rogue agents.

There will also be a £3m fund for councils in England to help them tackle acute and complex problems with rogue landlords.

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 will provide courts with the power to impose unlimited fines on landlords who are found guilty of not meeting their statutory responsibilities.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “The government is determined to match support for home ownership with steps to improve the rental market, without strangling the sector with unnecessary rules and red tape.

“The proposals will raise the quality and choice of rental accommodation, root out the cowboys and rogue operators in the sector, and give tenants the confidence to request longer fixed-term, family-friendly tenancies that meet their needs.”

Please contact Ingrid Hindle in our Warminster office on 01985 214444, or Sarah Gratton in Westbury on 01373 865577, or email ihindle@mulaw.co.uk or sgratton@mulaw.co.uk  for more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of commercial property law.