Drafting Tenancy Contracts
Renting a property without laying out in clear writing all rules and expectations for both the landlord and tenant(s) is inviting trouble to ensue. The relationship between a landlord and a tenant is complex – laws on national and local levels preside over all aspects of property lease. At HHS Lawyers, all details of tenancy are recorded in a properly drafted agreement that’s suitable for different purposes such as:
A residential tenancy contract can be for the leasing of apartments, houses, condominiums, and/or townhouses. A residential lease is paid generally on a quarterly or monthly basis and is for a short time period compared to a commercial lease – often a year or less.
The purpose of a commercial tenancy contract is to provide property for a tenant to conduct business operations, which may be service-related, trading, storage, or manufacturing. Our legal drafting team can provide assistance in the drafting of different kinds of commercial tenancy contracts.
The lawyers and legal consultants that comprise our legal drafting team in Dubai include key components in every tenancy contract, which are as follows:
Names of tenants and occupants
It’s recommended for a tenancy contract to name more than one tenant. Requiring several occupants to sign as the official tenants is an additional insurance for a property owner: every tenant has the legal responsibility of paying rent and following the other terms of a tenancy contract. This means if one tenant fails to secure the full amount, a landlord can legally seek what’s due from the other signatories of the contract. In addition, if a tenant commits a violation to the lease agreement, the landlord may terminate the tenancy not just of the offender but for all tenants as well.
For residential contracts, it is a good idea for an agreement to contain an additional occupancy clause that states only tenants are allowed to live in the rental. If guests are to be expected, the contract can stipulate the allowable number of days for them to stay. If a tenant sublets the unit or allows an unapproved roommate to move in without securing permission, a tenancy contract may also give the landlord the right in terminating the tenancy, if necessary.
Description of the rental
This clause contains the rental property’s complete address (including unit number and building, if applicable). To avoid disputes, a tenancy contract also has to note specific parking spots and/or storage areas that are included. If a rental includes parking for customers, the agreement has to indicate the stalls or spot numbers. Similarly, the contract has to specify the areas that the tenants aren’t allowed to access.
Duration of the tenancy
Tenancy contracts can be short term (month-to-month), wherein a tenancy renews automatically until tenants or the landlord opt to terminate, or for a specific term (usually on a yearly basis). Our legal drafting team will help in specifying the duration of the tenancy by noting the tenancy length, start date, and the expiration date.
The amount of rent isn’t the only thing that have to be included in a tenancy contract as it also has to spell out when it is due and how it is paid. To avoid confusion, our legal drafting team advise clients on spelling out crucial details such as charges if a cheque for rent bounces, charges for late payments, amount of the rent, grace period, and acceptable payment methods.
Deposits and fees
Our legal drafting team also helps in avoiding common disputes between tenants and landlords by including the following contract provisions:
- Security deposit in preferred currency;
- Whether the tenant is expected to replenish the deposited amount if the landlord is to make deductions mid-tenancy;
- How the deposit may be used (for instance, to cover repair costs for damages that a tenant caused or to cover unsettled rent) and how the deposit may not be used (for instance, it won’t be accepted as last month’s rent);
- How and when the deposit will be returned and how deductions are accounted for after the tenants move out;
- Non-refundable fees, may be for pets, cleaning, maintenance, etc.
It is also recommended that details are included on where the security deposit will be held and whether interest will be provided on the deposited amount to the tenant.
Repairs and maintenance
Your best defense with rent-withholding battles and hassles regarding security deposits is by including maintenance and repair policies in a tenancy contract. This includes:
- Restrictions on alterations and repairs by tenant (for instance, painting the unit unless the landlord approves it in writing);
- A requirement that tenants provide an alert to dangerous and/or defective conditions with the specifics on procedures for repair requests and handling complaints;
- The responsibility of the tenants to maintain the cleanliness of the property and pay for damages that may be caused, including or excluding wear and tear.