We currently live in a world where document management, legal documents and paperwork such as contracts have gone through digital transformation. Millennials have grown in a digital world and in the present and near future, they would make up the majority of those renting and letting houses and apartments.
It comes as no surprise that the digital universe which is growing 40% each year will affect the housing market in different ways. This has already begun with information on websites, online realtors and it is extending to the online tenancy agreement.
What is an online Tenancy Agreement?
A tenancy agreement is a contract between an individual and their landlord. It may be written or oral. The reason for a tenancy agreement is that it offers certain rights to both the future tenant and the landlord. In practice, it asserts the right of the tenant to occupy the accommodation and the right of the landlord to receive rent for letting the accommodation.
One of the newest ways for both tenants and landlords to fulfill this contract is to sign this online. An electronic lease agreement prevents time-wasting and can be signed at any place and at any time. Modern technology enables both the tenant, the landlord, and other parties to put their signature on the document. Which annuls the need for the solicitor, future tenant, and landlord to meet in person.
An online tenancy agreement is based on the same principle; the only key difference is that it is online. Tenancy agreements have several different names such as Assured Shorthold Tenancy, Short Assured Tenancy, Letting Contract, and a Residential Tenancy Agreement.
These differ based on factors such as the leasing period. For example, Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreements are typically arranged for six-months but this can be extended for longer periods. This allows the tenant to stay in the property for the initial fixed period or the agreed-upon time period.
In the UK, Assured Shorthold tenancy gives the landlord the right to possession after the initial six month period with regard to the Housing Act 1988. The Housing Act 1988 defines several main criteria for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy such as the requirements that the tenant is an individual, that the property must be the tenant’s principal home and that must be let as separate accommodation.
Traditional housing tenancy agreements are forthright and the chances of being duped are slim. People have a lot of concerns about online tenancy agreements. Such as their legal strength and validity.
Nonetheless, if you make an online search for assured shorthold tenancy template, assured tenancy agreement template, basic tenancy agreement template free online tenancy agreement, or free tenancy agreement pdf, you abound to find millions of results.
What are the key concerns for online tenancy agreements?
One major concern about the online tenancy agreement is legality. Electronic signatures and transmissions are 100 percent and safe. A contract or agreement no longer has to be signed in ink to be law binding.
This is according to the U.S. Electronic Signature in Global and National Commerce Act of 2000 (ESIGN), the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), and the European Union eIDAS (EU No.910/2014).
These documents are usually foolproof and have features such as authentication of signatures, signature affixation, reliable transaction history, and check the authenticity of the contract.
What are the benefits for landlords or tenants?
Besides being an environmentally friendly option, an online tenancy agreement allows Landlords to write up their own contracts on their own terms, cutting out the middleman. This may bring different advantages such as flexibility, professionalism, and convenience.
Flexibility enables the landlord and tenant to easily make changes to the online agreement when first drawing up the contract, or when renewing the said contract. This also brings convenience to future tenants since there are fewer meetings between the parties involved.
For a landlord with multiple properties, it enables them to easily manage all of these properties digitally without the need for a multitude of paperwork.
It is easy to search online for free tenancy agreement template word, free tenancy agreement form, copy of tenancy agreement or sample of a tenancy agreement form and copy those documents but some times a template might not be enough. Sometimes advice from a professional such as a lawyer or realtor might be needed.
How to create a tenancy agreement?
As with anything, planning and research are the most important aspects. Remember to research local housing laws and regulations to ensure that your contract will follow them to the letter. Remember that you may need to display additional statutory information or disclaimers for an online document.
You can choose to build the lease form from a paper lease agreement form or from a template found online. It is easy to build this on one of the e-signature services. This way you can optimize the information and create fields for the tenant to fill in. The website app.pdf.co also offers a simple and unique to sign PDFs.
If this is done efficiently with all the needed details clearly laid out, it would make it impossible to have misspelled words or mistakes such as incorrect details within the online contract.
Standard tenancy contracts should include the following:
- Name(s) and contacts of landlord and tenant(s)
- Address of the property
- Date of the tenancy agreement
- Date tenancy commencement
- Whether the tenant is under the age of 18
- Amount of bond charged (if any)
- Rent amount and payment frequency
- Rent payment method
- Any fees to be paid
- List of any components provided by the landlord
- The type of tenancy and date it’s expected to end
- A separately signed insulation statement and healthy home statement.
- Insurance statement
It is essential to thoroughly look through this chosen method of the agreement before issuing a signature, every information on the document is essential to consider so as to know what and what agreements you have agreed to as it is a legally binding contract. Raise concern and seek advice on incomprehensible aspects.
A couple of things to look for in these agreements are:
- Signature authentication
- Signature affixation
- Contract authenticity
- Comprehensive transaction history
- Easy download
- Rent amount and who is liable to make payment
- Lease Termination
This should include information of a lease termination procedure; prior notice duration, cleaning responsibilities and a stated duration of when your security deposit will be reimbursed
- Agreed repairs to be done by the landlord before and after moving in:
Make sure to thoroughly check the property for pre-existing damages and that it meets your satisfaction before signing any contracts. Possibly document all damage and report them before any advancement so as to not be charged for them later. Request for a list of all components of the property and make sure each of them is in working order, if not demand they be repaired and add each component state to your documentation.
- Tenant Obligations
These should include the dos and don’ts within your tenancy. An example is if you can accommodate a roommate. Some landlords do not allow for it and it is advisable to know this prior to signing any agreement. Other examples of such obligations are smoking, pets, sub-letting, and decorations. And make sure to check what penalties of contract agreement breach will be attracted
- Start and end of tenancy
It is important to note the start and end of your tenancy giving you adequate time to structure your lease
How to sign an online tenancy agreement?
When using the website, app.pdf.co. You simply have to sign up or log in. Select the mode to sign pdf files. Next, you upload the pdf you would like to sign. You choose the first icon under “Add signature and click proceed to save.”
That will open a new dialogue box allowing you to draw your official signature.
After drawing the signature, click on “Insert Signature.”
Simply adjust the size of the signature with the plus or minus buttons and place the signature where it needs to be.
What happens after Document delivery?
After the lease form is completed and signed by all parties, there is a need to have multiple copies, with some of the online e-signature services, the documents can be stored and share via the Cloud. Also, the lease agreement can be saved in PDF versions or even printed out as a hard copy backup.
Collecting the deposit can also be done digitally. It is possible to do so through bank transfers, with PayPal or Stripe payments. The landlord and tenant must agree on what kind of payment method either of them would prefer.
The best method would be one which will easily show proof of payment to the landlord. Some of these options even offer real-time notifications to the landlord.
Property management is not an easy task but the online lease agreements are trying to simplify things in an already technically advancing world.