Read Tenancy Agreements

Under 25% of Renters Read Tenancy Agreements

A new survey from law firm Weightmans has found that only 24% of renters read tenancy agreements.

It says this is largely due to the UK being in a digital era where online agreements and quick clicks are the norm. 

Out of those surveyed, 39% of respondents admit to signing contracts they don’t understand; only 24% of Brits read tenancy agreements, and when broken down by gender only 20% of men read tenancy agreements, compared to nearly 28% of women.

The survey reveals what the law firm calls “a concerning trend” which is lack of thorough review of contract terms and conditions, which could lead to significant financial and legal issues. 

So the study also found that just 24% read the terms and conditions when it comes to signing a tenancy agreement. Similarly only 33% read the terms and conditions of credit card agreements and 31% of mobile phone contracts. 

Car insurance contracts receive the most attention, with 36% of Brits taking the time to go through their legal terms and conditions. 

Nicola Gonnella, a partner at Weightmans, says there are eight essential steps that renters should take to understand their agreements.

1. The importance of not rushing this process cannot be overstressed. Allocate ample time to review every clause and provision in the contract thoroughly. This ensures you are not pressured into agreeing to terms you haven’t fully understood or considered. A rushed decision can lead to oversight of critical details that might have significant implications down the road;

2. Contracts can be notorious for their use of complex legal terminology, which can be a major barrier to understanding. Whenever you encounter terms that are unfamiliar, it is advisable to consult a legal expert;

3. Some sections of a contract are particularly crucial and deserve extra attention. Focus on understanding your obligations, the fees and costs involved, the duration of the agreement, any clauses related to indemnities, liabilities, termination of the contract, and the penalties that might be incurred for early termination or breach of the contract;

4. Seek clarification. If any part of the contract remains unclear, or if you need further explanation on a specific clause, seek clarification from a legal expert;

5. It’s not uncommon for contracts to undergo several rounds of negotiation before the final version is ready for signing. Make sure that any verbal agreements, modifications, or last-minute changes discussed are accurately reflected in the written contract. Signing a document that does not fully capture the agreed-upon terms can lead to disputes and misunderstandings;

6. Consulting with a legal expert can provide an invaluable layer of scrutiny. They can identify potential pitfalls, suggest modifications for your protection, and ensure that the contract aligns with your best interests;

7. Once signed, ensure you have a copy of the contract for your records. This document serves as your proof of agreement and is vital for reference in case any questions or disputes arise. Keeping organised and accessible records of your contractual agreements can save considerable time and effort in the long run;

8. Remember, signing a contract is a formal commitment. Fully understanding the terms and conditions before affixing your signature not only protects your interests but also fosters a more transparent and trustworthy contractual relationship.

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