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Whether you are a landlord or tenant, it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with your rights and responsibilities regarding your tenancy agreement. Many people sign these agreements without reading them through fully, or understanding what their obligations may be. If you are not fully compliant with your responsibilities as a tenant or landlord, you could land yourself in trouble with certain situations. Usually a tenancy agreement would be issued as a short hold tenancy of approximately 6 months initially. This is a legally binding contract between the landlord and tenant residing at the property, and so you must read through it carefully before signing anything, and discuss any concerns together.

As a tenant, if you are considering ending your tenancy, moving someone else into the property or otherwise, you need to be aware of the occupancy rights of your tenancy agreement. Depending on your tenancy agreement, you may have the right to transfer your tenancy to another person should you need to vacate sooner than the end of your contract. You will also need to speak with your landlord about this and discuss details regarding the deposit and whether it is transferable. He or she may also wish to inspect the property before the new tenant moves in.

If a tenant passes away whilst renting a property, a spouse or partner may be able to take over the tenancy of the property, which is known as succession. The tenancy agreement may outline details of this, but you can also get advice from your landlord in order to reach an agreement.

Unfortunately some tenants have been known to abandon their property. It is important to remember that this does not end your tenancy or liability to pay the rent. Your tenancy agreement should set out the procedure required in order to end the tenancy, in most cases this would involve giving formal notice in writing and returning the keys. If a tenant abandons their property, the landlord is within their rights to reclaim the property, and charge rent as well as any outstanding repairs or damage. In the same way, if the landlord wishes to end the tenancy, they must also give formal written notice.

If a landlord requires possession of a property, and needs to take legal action, they will need to go through formal proceedings in which case it will be considered by a local court. Written notice is required along with intentions and reasons for requesting possession. Depending on the reasons, whether it be non-payment of rent or needing a quick house sale for example, could depend on the formal procedure necessary. The tenant will have the opportunity to also attend court and defend their case if they oppose the landlord’s intentions. Either way, legal advice is highly recommended.

If you need advice regarding the tenancy agreement or its contents, it is worth getting legal advice regarding any disputes or concerns over your rights and obligations as either a landlord or tenant.

by Cormac Henderson

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