We are excited to announce the release of our brand new Tenancy Contract Builder which is now available for use by all members.
It’s been a while in the making and huge thanks to all the beta testers who helped fine tune the system.
The builder will only produce assured shorthold tenancy agreements for the time being but we plan to add the contractual and lodger agreements in time. Also, the agreement designed for the Dispute Service tenancy deposit scheme isn’t yet supported but will be in time. If you need this sooner, please let us know.
Before the builder, we had six tenancy agreements, four of which were assured shortholds. However, the problem was that the deposit schemes all now have both insured and custodial options. This meant, to have the correct prescribed information we would need eight AST’s totalling 10 agreements. Then, Wales has different information requirements to England so if we were to split properly and only include the correct information, we would need approximately twenty different agreements! To further add confusion, it would have been ideal to have a separate HMO agreement where utilities are shared or paid for by the landlord. This would have required a doubling of agreements totalling around forty! This would not be feasible and we would end up with people downloading the wrong agreement for the wrong situation.
Enter the Tenancy Builder!
The builder fixes this problem by being able to select firstly the country where the property is located and then which deposit scheme you use (or if there is no deposit).
After choosing the country, you are redirected to a form specifically designed for each country. The necessary information is entered via a form on the website such as tenants names, landlord details, dates of tenancy etc. and after pressing “create PDF”, a PDF with all of the information entered is populated ready for print.
Our agreements were always suitable for all types of property including HMO’s but they weren’t as perfect as we would have liked. Now, amongst the many options, you can choose how bills and such are to be paid and by whom. This allows for a true distinction between a regular letting (if I can use that term) and a HMO letting.
Other points of interest
One part we are particularly proud of is the ability to create a draft version in the first instance. If you select the “draft” checkbox, the dates produced by the tenancy builder are populated with “DRAFT – for information only”. You can then go back and edit the agreement by un-ticking the draft checkbox and enter the dates for a final version.
This is a really useful part of the workflow and allows the sending of a draft by email with ease.
There are many options to choose from including whether the property is mortgaged. The builder also asks whether the property needs an EPC or gas safety. When these are selected, a document checklist is automatically populated into the agreement. All you need to do is then add the appropriate documents to the PDF produced. This way you will have full compliance with the latest requirements that could prevent a section 21 being served if not done properly (England only although this feature is still available in Wales agreements).
The system is fully ready for Wales changes too! In time, AST’s will be replaced with “occupation contracts” in Wales so we have designed the system with this in mind. It should be fairly straightforward to add new occupation contracts to the Wales form when needed.
You can go back to a previously created agreement and make changes to produce a new version. Please note, we don’t intend to store them for long so please don’t use the system as long term document storage.
You can sign an agreement from within the form although this is a bit tricky on a desktop machine with a mouse! It works well on a tablet or phone though.
The produced PDF is fully compliant with all e-signing apps so you can produce the document and upload it to your favourite signing service.
One of the last options is whether to “flatten” the PDF or not. For those who don’t know what this means, basically to flatten a PDF is where the text becomes part of the form itself and can’t be edited once downloaded (but you can still go back to our system and download a new edited version). Choosing to flatten is best if you are on Windows and don’t have PDF editing capabilities. However, if you’re on a Mac or some tablets, you could choose not to flatten and once the PDF has been downloaded, you could then edit the form in your favourite PDF reader/editor.
None of the fields are mandatory which means you can leave everything blank and simply press create PDF to download a blank agreement to fill in later if you prefer. When doing this, you will have to select a couple of options such as which deposit scheme you use and check the utility and attached document sections are correct. The default settings are for our regular downloadable agreement though so normally there won’t be much to change.
With this being brand new technology, please double check the produced form has all the fields appropriately populated and everything looks okay. If you spot any issues, please let us know.
We hope you all enjoy the new Tenancy Contract Builder and we hope this improves the productivity workflow of your contract making.