What terms of rental agreement may be considered as unfair? There a re several signs for defining unfair terms in tenancy contract:
- term restricts or reduces the rights given to the tenant by the common law
- term is contrary to the requirement of good faith
- set up unreasonable penalty or fee
- exclude landlord’s liability granted to him by the law
- contract has some additional requirements initiated by landlord that impose some restriction for tenant(s) or restrict his rights
Generally speaking, unfair terms cause a significant imbalance in the landlord’s and tenant's rights and obligations arising under the tenancy agreement.
Example of most common unfair clauses in rental agreements:
1. allowing the landlord unreasonably to enter or revise the property within rental period without the tenant’s consent, except for good reason (such as in an emergency or repairing)
2. increase rental payment without agreement previously revised by the tenant(s). There are list of reasons of increasing rental costs that may be considered as fair reasons.
3. excluding landlord’s liability to keep property safe and his duty of care that
3. terms and statements that contain phrases such as “save as may be prohibited by statute” and “as far as the law permits” may be considered as unfair if they restrict or discharge the landlord from liability
4. exclude tenant’s right to reimburse cost that was spent on repairing work in property from the rent payments. It is a tenant's right to set-off and it is granted by common law and couldn’t be excluded.
5. let the landlord changing what was agreed as letting. For example, landlord couldn’t take to regain the possession of furniture after the tenancy agreement was agreed and signed.
6. tenant’s obligation to pay for professional cleaning service when he(she) move out. Tenants must leave the property in the same condition it was at the moment of moving in.
7. landlord has no right to seize any tenant’s belongings to cover rental payment or other unpaid costs. Any terms containing or implying such conditions should be considered as unfair.
8. give a notice at last day of fixed-term tenancy and pay a rent for notice period. Such clause is considered as unfair as the last day of the fixed term has already been stated in the tenancy agreement.
If the unfair term was put in contract nor landlord or agent neither tenant could rely on them in case of dispute. According The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 tenancy agreements or any contract shouldn’t have unfair terms.
Get advice or complaint about unfair terms?
Any person may get advice in respect of unfairness of term in tenancy agreement:
As well, tenant may complaint if he believes that unfair term is used in contract and landlord refuses to remove such term or change it:
- local trading standards department (contact available on official website or in local council)