DCLG Model Tenancy Agreement and Code of Practice

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) announced a couple of new measures which will put:

... power in the hands of people to get the deal they [deserve], without punishing the vast majority of good landlords while still encouraging more investment in the sector.

The first measure is a model assured shorthold tenancy agreement, which landlords can freely download. 

Quite how such an agreement has the "benefit of avoiding the need for landlords to leave properties empty ..." is a little unclear! 

There are several clauses we would have preferred to see, but equally, all the fundamental provisions appear to be present. 

There is no requirement whatsoever that a landlord must use the agreement, and it is simply a means for any landlord to be able to download a free tenancy agreement. 

The second measure is a code of practice which -

... makes clear the legal requirements of landlords and letting agents alike, leaving both in no doubt about their responsibilities to their tenants.

Although voluntary, in reality, it's mandatory because all it does is act as a reminder of current landlord obligations under the various rules and regulations. 

For example, under the code, it's a requirement to have an annual gas safety record and to protect deposits, but this is required by law anyway. 

These measures don't introduce anything new nor add any further obligations to landlords. 

The Housing Minster, Brandon Lewis, said:

... this will not strangle the industry in red tape and regulation, which would destroy investment in new housing, push up prices, and make it far harder for people to find a flat or house to rent. Instead, today’s measures will both provide the help tenants need, without jeopardising the millions of pounds in investment already lined up to build new homes specifically for private rent.

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Tenancy Agreements

Landlords should be aware of the benefits of written tenancy agreements and the procedures necessary for obtaining such an agreement. Although a landlord can create many short-term tenancies (three years or less) without a written agreement, it is generally not advisable for landlords to allow occupation without first having secured a signed formal tenancy agreement.