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How to draft a tenancy agreement?



Apartment renting always entails a certain amount of risk. You never know what who your tenant really is, and if he will take good care of somebody else’s property.


That is why, if you plan on renting your housing, you should protect your interests in the best way possible. Each landlord ought to prepare the tenancy agreement which will protect his property and enables him to make claims, if the tenant appears to be an untrustworthy person.


Introduction to drafting an agreement.

Each agreement has to be signed by both parties, and include information on the date and place of its conclusion. As far as the general rules are concerned, you have to remember that this document has to be prepared in two identical copies, one copy for each party. Another general practice is that each party, apart form their signature at the end, should put their initials on every page of the agreement.


Details concerning tenancy agreements


I. Personal data

Each tenancy agreement should include detailed information about the parties, meaning the tenant and the landlord. Personal data should be taken from the identity card or other official document which confirms person’s identity (such as driver’s license or a passport). The following information should be placed in the agreement:


• forename and surname;

• PESEL number;

• ddress of residence;

• ID’s serial number with the three-letter code.


If one party has a different address of stay than their residence address, both may be mentioned in the agreement. It is important to remember about the current phone number and e-mail address, which make the communication between the parties much easier.


II. Housing’s description

An important element of the tenancy agreement is the declaration of the landlord that he is also the owner of the rented property. The tenant should verify this information and ask for access to any confirming document. Land and Mortgage Register excerpt may be serve as one. We should never enter into the tenancy agreement with any third party, unless it is the attorney of the owner. If we are actually dealing the the attorney, we should ask him to present the power of attorney signed by the principal.


The aforementioned declaration of the owner should provide information concerning the property itself; above all, the following:


• address of the rented property;

• storey on which it is located;

• total area and number of rooms.


It becomes also a common practice among landlords to make more effort and describe briefly each particular room of the premises. Such a description may be very useful when the tenant returns the property in the unfit state of repair, and the landlord wants to claim his rights and demand repair.


It is also a good idea to include photos of the apartment to the agreement in order to be able to check the state of repair of each room. Photo-documentation is still a rare practice, but many landlords start to follow it to be able to respond to tenant’s argument that "I had to deal with this problem form the very beginning".


Apart from this brief description of each room, we should also provide the description of the technical condition of the property, as well as the description of the technical condition of installations and equipment (meaning household equipment).


III. Obligations of the tenant

It is important to specify rights and obligations of the tenant. The agreement should include a provision saying that the tenant is obliged to maintain the property in the proper technical, hygienic and sanitary condition.


He is also obliged to adhere to house regulations, and to take care and protect form the damage or desolation the shared area of the building, such as staircase.


And not only that. The agreement usually obliges the tenant to pay utilities (electricity, water, gas) on time. It seems to be obvious, but as a rule, the provision concerning this kind of payments has to present in the agreement.


Obligations of the landlord

The tenancy agreement is not made to impose obligation on the tenant only, and so it usually provides a number of information concerning the landlord and his responsibilities. Very often, however, such information is summed up in the sentence: "The landlord shell make the correct and full usage of the premises possible for the tenant". It sound quite vague.


This provision should be understood in the following manner: the landlord is responsible for preparing the premises in such a way that the tenant does not have to worry about access to the running water, or heating in the winter time. The tenant has the right to demand having i.e. broken tap fixed, and all the important repair works done, so that his stay in the rented property is pleasant and safe.


IV. Specification of the rent amount, security deposit, and length of the agreement

This is undoubtedly the landlords’ favorite section of the agreement. Here, the following information should be included:


• amount of the monthly rent payable by the tenant;

• amount of the security deposit paid by the tenant in order to cover possible costs of repair after he returns the premises.


It is also important to remember about the definition of the tenancy length. The most common practice is to conclude the tenancy agreement for the indefinite period of time, where both parties are granted the right to termination notice issued accordingly to the notice period described in the agreement. Usually it is one month.


Both parties can terminate the agreement at any time, notwithstanding its length, also when the other party breaches contractual provisions. In this case, it is not important which is the breaching party.


Mateusz Kozłowicz


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