Writing a tenancy agreement is a good tool for building a long-lasting and profitable real estate business. The sad aspect is, the exact agreement and terms surrounding tenancy are often left to assumptions and unwritten rules. This is fertile ground for disagreement and misunderstanding. Whether you are a landlord or tenant, you need to have a good understanding of what a tenancy agreement is is crucial. This knowledge will shield you from potential liabilities, court sessions, and lots of headaches.
What is a Tenancy Agreement?
A tenancy agreement is a simple agreement between a tenant and a landlord. The agreement usually has terms and conditions pertaining to the lease and use of a property such as a room, apartment, house, or other.
The agreement is a legal document that is admissible in court in case of any misunderstanding. We always enter into agreements hoping the worst never happens. But life happens. Hence, it pays to have a well-drafted agreement. If you are a tenant, make sure you know the implications of such an agreement and what to look out for before signing.
Due to the relatively informal nature of renting in Ghana, most landlords do not use tenancy agreements or do not even know of it.
This article is for landlord exploring the use of tenancy agreements in their business and tenants who want to secure their interests and prevent conflict.
Importance of Tenancy Agreement
A tenancy agreement is one of the tools that ensure that both parties; Landlords and Tenants enjoy their rights and also do their responsibilities.
It is the document that outlines the terms and conditions, role and responsibilities as well as the benefits each person enjoys.
The tenant enjoys the property and the landlord enjoys rent based on their agreed terms.
When well done, the tenancy agreement is a middle ground between landlord and tenant for resolving conflicts.
But even before any conflicts arise, the agreement will help avoid many conflicts in the first place. In the agreement, specific terms are written and agreed upon. The responsibilities such as who pays the utility bills, who takes care of the maintenance, under what conditions can the tenant be evicted, and so many other details.
Once both parties have read, agreed, and signed this agreement, they are obliged and legally bound to living it out.
It is important that both parties are happy with the terms at the start.
Drafting an agreement that reasonably benefits the tenant and at the same time is favorable to you the tenant is a good way to start a healthy relationship with your tenants. This fair treatment is even more important when you have a lot of tenants living together. Remember, they can always rise up and take you on for bad treatment.
Using an agreement is also important because it shows the landlord’s seriousness with their role in making the tenants stay peaceful.
Main Components of a Good Tenancy Agreement
The key to writing a good tenant agreement is to start with the main sections to include. Listing all the sections will help you comprehensively outlined what needs to be provided. That way you do not forget important details.
1. The property address.
The agreement must be specific about the location of the property that s being rented. If it a room, it must be stated with the exact directions to the room within the building. If it a house, exact directions must be given.
2. The details of all parties involved.
The details of the tenant and the landlord should be included to settle any ambiguity between the people entering the agreement. Note that official and legally recognized names should be used and not nicknames, etc.
3. The landlord’s address.
The exact address should be included.
4. The amount of rent and how it will be paid by the tenant.
The amount, the medium of payment such as mobile money, etc, when it should be paid any penalties involved if the payment isn’t made on time. Collecting rent is one of the biggest challenges landlords face. So it is important to outrightly state these terms to help. It is common practice that a certain amount is charged for each day that outstanding rent isn’t paid. Also, a grace period is a common practice.
5. The deposit amount and which scheme it will be protected by.
6. The proposed term of the tenancy.
The term states when the agreement starts and when it ends. It stipulates that the rent, what happens when rent isn’t paid, what happens when the tenant doesn’t receive possession of the property after paying the security deposit.
7. Notice periods required to bring the tenancy to an end
This is a section under the term section. It stipulates how the agreement ends, how it can be renewed, and under what circumstances the tenant could be evicted.
8. The rights and obligations of both parties
9. A forfeiture clause to allow possession of the property where the tenant is at fault
10. How are Utilities to be catered for? Who’s responsible for each?
11. Any other special arrangements
Knowing the ins and outs of writing a tenancy agreement is a good thing for your business. As much as we have done our research to get you the best of information, we do not advise you to take this as legal or business advice. Seek the services of a professional who will examine your situation and provide the tailored help you need.