When to Sign a Tenancy Agreement

Updated: October 18, 2017

I’m often asked by our landlords and tenant’s alike when to sign a tenancy agreement.  We’ve been working on a number of new tenancy agreements this week and we have a few excited tenants who’ll be moving home over what is predicted to be an ‘Indian summer‘ weekend.

Landlord handing keys over to tenants having known when to sign a tenancy agreement.

As soon as references have passed, we’d recommend this as a good time when to sign a tenancy agreement.

Before I’ve explained the pros and cons of when to sign a tenancy agreement, most landlords I talk to either sign the day before the start date or on the actual day of the tenant moving in.

In my opinion, leaving it to the last minute to secure the tenancy is a little too to risky for me.

Secure a tenancy in advance

Most tenants are required to give their current landlord a minimum of 4 weeks notice to vacate the property.  Before they do that, they usually try to find a property to rent to move to first before notifying the current landlord.

Once a property that is suitable has been found, they then start the application and the tenant referencing process will begin.  At this point, the tenant usually notifies their current landlord that they wish to move on and ask if they would provide a landlords’ reference.

As the new landlord you would be confident that the references are underway and your property is removed from the market as ‘Let Agreed’.

Referencing a tenant usually only takes around 3 – 4 working days.  We would obtain a previous landlords reference, an employment reference and a 6 year financial credit check.  Once the references are back and both parties are keen to progress, at this point we would draft up a tenancy agreement.

Best time when to sign a tenancy agreement

In the scenario above, the tenants are now looking to move in a few weeks time and the tenancy agreement has been drafted.   If the references are positive and it’s all green lights, I’d recommend to get your tenancy agreement signed as soon as possible.

Once the tenant and landlord signs the tenancy agreement it becomes far more difficult for either party to withdraw.  Without having a signed agreement, the tenant could withdraw anytime before the start date leaving you with weeks of lost rental income.

In terms of the first month’s rent and deposit funds, this can be paid to the landlord or agent either the day before or on the day of handover.   We always seek to have cleared funds in our client account at least 24 hours before the start day of the agreement.

Using digital tenancy agreements

Here at lettingaproperty.com we use a digital tenancy agreement that can be signed by all parties in a matter of minutes.

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For new tenancies and renewals, we aim to have the agreements signed by all parties as soon as we have agreed a move in date or an extension of renewal.   This means that our landlords have peace of mind and a tenant secured.

We offer a digital tenancy agreement service within our Guaranteed Rent and Rent on Time packages or we can provide a standalone tenancy agreement drafting service.

If you would like some assistance in drafting your next tenancy agreement, please call us on 0333 577 8888 – we’d be happy to help!

When to Sign a Tenancy Agreement
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When to Sign a Tenancy Agreement
When to sign a tenancy agreement? Asked by landlords and tenants alike, should you sign the tenancy agreement before the tenancy start date?
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  1. Kathleen Pearson December 19, 2017 at 8:13 pm #

    Can I ask how you would proceed in the event that the tenant did not pay the deposit and first months rent by the tenancy commencement date?

    With a signed and dated tenancy agreement the tenant would seemingly be in a position to commence occupation of the property regardless wouldn’t they?


    • Jonathan Daines December 24, 2017 at 4:07 pm #

      Hi Kathleen, if the tenant hasn’t paid any money towards the tenancy then I would suggest that it would be difficult to enforce the agreement as no consideration has been received. Hope it worked out in the end?



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