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OFT cracking down on tenancy agreements

15 June 2005
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is intensifying its check-ups on buy to let investors' tenancy agreements.

According to a report from CityWire, two large-scale property companies with huge London property portfolios, Bankway Properties and the William Pears Group, have been forced to amend their tenancy agreements by the OFT.

According to the government body, the companies' tenancy agreements were unsatisfactory in several areas, including a term stating that the tenant would automatically lose his or her deposit by leaving the property early.

The OFT is also objecting to tenancy agreements which pass the landlords' legal obligations for repair of the property to the tenant, and unreasonable restrictions such as terms prohibiting a tenant from placing any flag, poster or sign where it is visible from the street.

"Landlords should take proper account of the legitimate interests of tenants in drawing up tenancy contracts," Penny Boys of the OFT stated.

"As a result of our intervention, thousands of current and future tenants will benefit from improved terms."

Under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations, which came into effect in 1999, the OFT can take legal action to prevent the use of potentially unfair terms.

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