Because every landlord has at least had one tenant from hell.
Or, you know, have heard horror stories about tenants who run away, makes up 1000 excuses to not pay the rent, to not get evicted. And the excuses range from the usual “I completely forgot about the deadline!” to “My (non-existent) aunt needed RM1200 for a trip so I gave it to her” to “Sorry, too busy right now leh” (what?).
There are, of course, tons more crazier (and crazier) stories. Like that one tenant who left her landlord thousands in bills. Or that one that told the landlord his grandfather had passed away for the 4th time that year. The same one, all four times.
Really, since when this become the Walking Dead?
Sadly, there’s no fool-proof way to stop getting tenants from hell (We wish! Though, we can dream). But there are ways to crush those risks into dust!
Well, one of them is the underestimated (kind of misunderstood) tenancy agreement.
What is a tenancy agreement?
A tenancy agreement is a contract between you and your tenant. It can be written or oral, and covers you and your tenant’s rights. It lets the tenant live in the rented property as long as they pay the rent and follow the conditions of the agreement.
What conditions and rights does the tenancy agreement cover?
The tenancy agreement usually covers the terms of the tenancy such as:
- How long the tenant is staying (or, the tenancy period)
- House rules (if any)
- What happens if the tenant/landlord violates the agreement
- Tenant/Landlord responsibilities
- Conditions for early termination
Why should I check my tenancy agreement before signing?
This is because the tenancy agreement covers your rights and obligations, as well as the consequences of breaking the tenancy agreement.
What happens if a tenancy agreement rule is violated?
If the tenant violates the agreement, they risk getting evicted. But first, you as the landlord should collect evidence and document the tenant’s actions which violate the conditions of the tenancy agreement.
- For example, your tenancy agreement has conditions where pets and alcohol are not allowed. But your tenant refuses to comply and keeps bringing them in anyway even though if you’ve talked with them about it.
- Document the time, date and whatever your tenant does or has done with the alcohol and the actions of his/her pets. This documentation will serve as evidence.
How does the tenancy agreement help?
As a legal contract, the tenancy agreement helps in the sense that it protects your rights as a landlord or tenant. It is admissible in court should you ever need to take legal action.
Is an online tenancy agreement legal?
Yes, an online tenancy agreement is legal according to the law. There are two laws which an online tenancy agreement falls under. They are Section 7 of Electronic Commerce Act 2006 and Section 62(2) of Digital Signature Act 1997.
Section 7 of Electronic Commerce Act 2006:
- (1) In the formation of a contract, the communication of proposals, acceptance of proposals, and revocation of proposals and acceptances or any related communication may be expressed by an electronic message.
- (2) A contract shall not be denied legal effect, validity or enforceability on the ground that an electronic message is used in its formation.
Section 62(2) of Digital Signature Act 1997:
- (2) Notwithstanding any written law to the contrary—
- (a) a document signed with a digital signature in accordance with this Act shall be as legally binding as a document signed with a handwritten signature, an affixed thumbprint or any other mark; and
- (b) a digital signature created in accordance with this Act shall be deemed to be a legally binding signature.
Having a secure and legal tenancy agreement goes a long way and helps you regulate the tenancy. The key, of course, is just not about having one. But understanding the role of a tenancy agreement and how it works.