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Agreements

So, you’ve decided what type of landlord you are going to be and worked out your costs and charges. The next stage is to put together an agreement which will protect your position as a landlord.

This section looks at:

A written agreement sets out the terms under which a space is to be occupied. Its purpose is to protect the position of both you, the landlord, and the occupier you are letting space to. It is good practice to have a written agreement even if you have excellent relations with your tenants, as it can reduce the risk of potential disputes in the future. Be aware that even if you don’t have a written agreement with your tenants, if you accept rent payments you are effectively granting a tenancy under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.

Professional advice

As a landlord you should always get professional advice when carrying out property dealings. This is a specialist area and you can trip up badly without advice. There are two types of property professionals that you can use to help you draw up and administer agreements with tenants:

Commercial property surveyors or agents

A commercial property surveyor or agent will be able to advise you on getting the best deal for your premises and can help negotiate the key terms of any agreement: setting a market rent or negotiating the share of building repairing obligations between a landlord and a tenant, for example. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors has a facility on its website which allows you to search for surveyors by location or area of expertise or you can contact the Foundation to get a referral to a surveyor from its Register of Property Professionals.

Solicitors

A solicitor will advise on legal points arising from the agreement. It is a solicitor who draws up the lease and ensures that any key terms you have agreed are translated into the written agreement. You should always ensure that the solicitor you instruct has commercial property experience as this is a specialist area of law. The Law Society has a facility on its website that allows you to search for law firms by location or area of expertise, or you can contact the Ethical Property Foundation to get a referral to a solicitor from our Register of Property Professionals. You do not use a solicitor to negotiate the terms of the lease. If you want to engage someone to negotiate with tenants on your behalf, you should use a commercial property surveyor or agent.