Addendum to a Tenancy Agreement - What You Need to Know!
Every now and then a landlord will need to make changes to the main Tenancy Agreement template to fit specific and unusual circumstances.The most common way of doing this is by issuing an Addendum Agreement which is signed at the same time as the AST Agreement and changes the contract as whole. This assumes that both parties know what changes are needed at the outset.
What is an addendum to a tenancy agreement?
An addendum to a tenancy agreement is an extra document that is added to the original tenany agreement. It contains additional provisions that the landlord and tenant have agreed on. This might include things like extra rules, changes to the tenancy, or even an extension of the tenancy.
In England, addendums are used to supplement the existing terms of a tenancy agreement. They can be used to change the terms of the agreement or to add new ones. This is especially useful if there have been changes to the property or the tenant's circumstances since the original agreement was signed.
For example, an addendum might be used to add a new pet policy, specifying the type of pet allowed and the security deposit required. Or it might be used to add an extra month to the lease, if the tenant needs to stay longer than originally planned.
It's important to remember that addendums only become legally binding when they are signed and dated by both the tenant and the landlord.
The addendum should be attached to the original tenancy agreement, so that the new terms are clearly visible.
Please also read our detailed guide on changing a tenancy agreement which sets out other ways to make changes to a tenancy.
In order to ensure that the addendum is legally binding, it should include the following information:
• The parties involved: the landlord and the tenant
• The date the addendum was signed
• The specific terms of the addendum
• The signature of both the landlord and the tenant
As an example of an addendum, here is a clause that could be added to a tenancy agreement:
"The landlord and tenant agree to extend the tenancy by an additional month, starting on the 1st of April 2021. The tenant shall pay the rent on the 1st of each month, as agreed in the original tenancy agreement."
It is quite common for a landlord and tenant to identify changes after the commencement of the tenancy and this scenario an addendum can be created and signed which is simply an addition to the overall AST Agreement.
For example, it could well be the case that a landlord has a ‘no pet policy’ for their property. However, if an applicant is registered blind and has a guide dog then a blanket prohibition on all pets would probably amount to Disability Discrimination because that tenant would be treated less favourably as a direct or indirect result of their disability.
In such a situation, the landlord may accommodate this with an addendum assuming there are not clauses providing for this in the master agreement.
How do I write an addendum to a tenancy agreement and what should I include in it?
The most important aspect is that there must be an agreement by both parties evidenced in a signed agreement. But it is recommended the addendum agreement meet the following criteria:
1. The addendum should be labelled as an addendum and clearly state the date in which it was added to the tenancy agreement.
2. All parties involved should sign and date the addendum.
3. Summarise the amendments to the tenancy agreement clearly and concisely.
4. Make sure that the addendum is compliant with the Housing Act 1988 and the relevant legislation in your area.
5. Specify which party(ies) the addendum applies to and the length of the agreement.
6. List any new rights, responsibilities and obligations of both the landlord and the tenant.
7. Outline any changes to the rental amount and when payments are due.
8. Specify what will happen if the tenant breaches the addendum.
9. Add any other clauses or amendments that are relevant to the agreement.
10. Detail how both parties can terminate the agreement.
What is the legal effect of an addendum to a tenancy agreement?
In English law, an addendum to a tenancy agreement is a legally binding document. It is a supplementary agreement that is added to the original tenancy agreement to modify or supplement the terms and conditions of the tenancy arrangement.
The addendum variation is considered to be part of the original tenancy agreement itself and carries the same legal weight as the original agreement.
Any changes to the original agreement must be agreed upon by both landlord and tenant, and both parties must sign the addendum in order for it to be valid. The parties may also agree to other provisions in the addendum, such as additional fees or security deposits, that are not specifically mentioned in the original tenancy agreement. The addendum must be in writing in order to be legally binding.
Can changes to a Tenancy Agreement be made verbally without an Addendum Agreement form?
The short answer is yes. But, it is sensible to evidence the agreement in writing in the event of a dispute later on and to ensure that both parties clearly understand their commitments.
The contra proferentem rule is a legal rule that states that when interpreting an ambiguous contract, the interpretation should favor the party who did not draft the contract. This rule is based on the idea that the drafter of the contract is the party in the best position to know the language used in the contract. Therefore, if the language is unclear, the interpretation should favor the non-drafter.
Is an Addendum Agreement always suitable?
No. In complex situation which require sweeping changes to the main AST Agreement the parties would be well advised to fix the main agreement at the outset so that all terms are in one place. This may require the help of a solicitor.
Whilst parties have freedom of contract, all contracts in the UK sit under the laws of the land, and parties cannot contract out of the statutes. It is important to note that the addendum must be in writing, signed by both parties and comply with all consumer protection and Equality Act 2010 legislation. Only then will the addendum be legally binding. This means any addendums cannot contradict statutory rights.
They are however, suitable for 'tweaks' to the AST Agreement to deal with matters such as reduced rent, and extra obligations a tenant is willing to take on as part of the deal and so forth.
Can I make changes to an existing tenancy agreement by adding an addendum?
Yes, it is possible to make changes to an existing tenancy agreement by adding an addendum. This is typically done when an agreement needs to be updated to address a change in the tenancy, such as a change in occupants or a change in the terms of the tenancy.
In English law, an addendum to an existing tenancy agreement is legally binding, as long as it is signed by both parties and is in compliance with the principles of contract law. Under common law, an addendum to a tenancy agreement is considered a valid amendment to the agreement as long as it is agreed to by both parties and is not contrary to public policy and statute.
How do I get an addendum to a tenancy agreement/template signed?
To get an addendum to a tenancy agreement signed, you should first have a suitable addendum that clearly sets out the agreed variations to the existing AST. Once the addendum is ready, both the tenant and the landlord should each sign two copies of the document.
The landlord should then give one copy of the addendum to the tenant, and keep the other copy for their records. The tenant should also keep their copy of the signed addendum for their records.
What are the consequences of breaching an addendum to a tenancy agreement?
If the tenant breaches any of the terms of the addendum, the landlord may take action against them. The exact course of action will depend on the specific terms of the addendum. Usually the landlord would pursue an order from the court requiring the tenant to fulfil the terms of the addendum.
You can download your Addendum Agreement Here.