Should I draft my own AST?

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  • Should I draft my own AST?

    I am going to be letting my own home out whilst I live broad for 5 years. I have found tenants and will get them checked using a checking agency.

    I could use the 'standard' AST available from WHSmiths or online, but are the any advantages to drafting my own (or having a solicitor do it)?

    What would be typical additions to it that I should think of adding?

    Thanks

  • #2
    Should I draft my own AST? No. Next question?
    JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
    1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
    2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
    3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
    4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

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    • #3
      Originally posted by aboylikedave View Post
      I am going to be letting my own home out whilst I live broad for 5 years. I have found tenants and will get them checked using a checking agency.

      I could use the 'standard' AST available from WHSmiths or online, but are the any advantages to drafting my own (or having a solicitor do it)?

      What would be typical additions to it that I should think of adding?

      Thanks
      If you use an off-the-peg AST, it is wise to have it checked by a solicitor to ensure it is fit for your purposes.

      Unless we knew what is in it to begin with, it is difficult for us to advise about 'typical additions' - but some people include clauses about the garden if applicable, pets and smoking. Define the property and if there are areas/rooms/parts of the property (e.g. attics, cellars, sheds etc) which you do not want the tenant to have use of, make it clear in the TA.

      If deposit protection applies (which it probably will), there should definitely be a clause explaining that the deposit will be protected in X scheme and that the prescribed information will be supplied within 14 days of receipt of deposit.
      'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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      • #4
        Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
        Should I draft my own AST? No. Next question?
        But don't some landlords or letting agents add conditions to an AST to add conditions that are applicable for them? (I did mean via a solicitor)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by aboylikedave View Post
          But don't some landlords or letting agents add conditions to an AST to add conditions that are applicable for them? (I did mean via a solicitor)
          Yes. Next question?
          JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
          1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
          2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
          3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
          4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
            If you use an off-the-peg AST. it is wise to have it checked by a solicitor to ensure it is fit for your purposes.

            Unless we knew what is in it to begin with, it is difficult for us to advise about 'typical additions' - but some people include clauses about the garden if applicable, pets and smoking. Define the property and if there are areas/rooms/parts of the property (e.g. attics, cellars, sheds etc) which you do not want the tenant to have use of, make it clear in the TA.

            If deposit protection applies (which it probably will), there should definitely be a clause explaining that the deposit will be protected in X scheme and that the prescribed information will be supplied within 14 deays of receipt of deposit.
            Thanks, that's exactly what I meant. I was thinking of smoking, pets and cutting the hedge once a year. Are there any other common provisions that I might like to consider?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
              Yes. Next question?
              Question 2 in OP?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by aboylikedave View Post
                Question 2 in OP?
                Mind the gap answered it, in post #3.
                JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
                  Mind the gap answered it, in post #3.
                  Yes it was a helpful post, but if anyone has any further suggestions for what I might like to consider including as conditions, they would be most gratefully received. For info, its a 3 bed terrace in London and I will be letting to young professional, two of whom are freelance web designers (will be checking via MARAS)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by aboylikedave View Post
                    Yes it was a helpful post, but if anyone has any further suggestions for what I might like to consider including as conditions, they would be most gratefully received. For info, its a 3 bed terrace in London and I will be letting to young professional, two of whom are freelance web designers (will be checking via MARAS)
                    Give us a clue.

                    Are there any activities connected with normal everyday life, which you especially do - or do not - want your tenants to engage in in your property, which are not covered by the terms of the TA you propose to use?
                    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                      Unless we knew what is in it to begin with, it is difficult for us to advise about 'typical additions' -
                      Not sure if this is helpful, but its the one in the small pack from SMiths, or I could use the downloadable one from Property Hawk' website (which includes pets, cleaning on vacating, no business etc.).
                      In fact it looks v v thorough, which takes me back to original question - what do others add which I might need to think about?

                      Sorry - I'm in a bit of a Donald Rumsfeld situation - unknown unknowns!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                        Give us a clue.

                        Are there any activities connected with normal everyday life, which you especially do - or do not - want your tenants to engage in in your property, which are not covered by the terms of the TA you propose to use?
                        Thanks. Not that I can think of....

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          In that case, your mental energy is probably best directed to ensuring all the other stuff is in place before you can let your property out : EPC, gas safety certificate (CP12), electrical safety, Inland Revenue SATR, reading up on the deposit protection schemes, deciding on one...
                          'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The problem with drafts you find online is that you do not know who drafted them. I have seen one published by a well-known organisation and was not impressed. The only other draft I have seen that is publicly available is the one in the Which? Guide to Renting and Letting (second edition 1998) and it is fine; I am sure it has been updated since then and hopefully the draft in the latest edition is equally satisfactory. Apart from that, you should only rely on drafts contained in books published by recognised legal publishers.

                            When it comes to adding your own bits in you need to exercise caution. Putting in something that says the tenant must not smoke in the premises or prune the trees is probably not going to cause a problem. However, if you go beyond that, trying to draw up your own break clause for example, you run the risk of getting it wrong.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
                              Should I draft my own AST? No. Next question?
                              Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                              However, if you go beyond that, trying to draw up your own break clause for example, you run the risk of getting it wrong.
                              OK law boffins, why is this?

                              ..because of wording/phrases being wrong or what...?

                              Please enlighten us so we know why we should not do this.

                              Comment

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