PO Box 295, St Peter Port, Guernsey GY1 3RU

Yes, absolutely.  A lease should be arranged for ALL accommodation owned or operated by a landlord regardless of size, purpose or type of property.

A lease will contain important obligations on the part of both the landlord and the tenant.  The rights and the duties expected from both sides is made clear and is for all parties to see.

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A deposit is paid on signing of the lease and is often 1 month’s rent, although it can be more. If (and only if) the tenant has fulfilled all the terms of the lease, the deposit is returned to him in full. The lease should state the timeframe within which the landlord has to return the deposit (or balance of deposit, see below) at the end of the tenancy. Typically this might be 2 weeks or a month.

The deposit is taken and held by the landlord to protect him and his property if problems arise with the tenancy, or if he has to make repairs, pay for cleaning, repairs or other unexpected costs at the end of a tenancy caused by the tenant. This does not include normal wear and tear, which would be the responsibility of the landlord.

If a landlord finds he has such bills to pay he should produce a list of the problems and what they have cost him, with receipts where applicable, and present it to the leaving tenant along with the balance of the deposit. If his costs have been more than the deposit then he can bill the tenant for the outstanding amount.

A good quality inventory at the start of the tenancy along with a tenant taking care of the landlord’s property and returning it to him in the same condition should result in the return of the deposit in full.
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Exclusive possession means that the tenant must have full possession of the landlord’s rental property and have exclusive use of, or, part use of that property. This allows the tenant to enjoy the use of the property uninterrupted for the term of the lease provided the tenant adheres to the terms and conditions specified in the lease. (Always refer to the terms of the lease.) 

Within that it is normal for the landlord to make regular inspections of the property and the tenant must allow access for this, for workmen to make any repairs that are the landlord’s responsibility that might be needed, and for the landlords to show the property to prospective new tenants when the tenancy is in its notice period. The lease should make mention of this.

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On a fixed term lease the lease will end on the fixed date stated. On a rolling lease the term will end by the giving of notice by either landlord or tenant within the notice period stated in the lease.

At the end of the lease the property’s use reverts to the landlord and the tenant usually has to leave the property with their possessions. Once the lease has been terminated, the property will usually have to be left in the condition it was in at the start of the lease prior to the tenant having moved in.

If both the landlord and the tenant are happy with the arrangement then there is every likelihood that the lease can be renewed and extended for a further similar term. The arrangement can continue on a rolling basis on the same conditions without the need for a whole new document. A landlord will usually draw up a lease extension document. Equally, the landlord may issue a new lease or simply continue with the original one.
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The GPRLA lease available to and used by many of our members is a 1 year rolling residential lease. This lease can cater for one, several or even many years of occupancy during a single tenancy. It is a plain speaking lease, avoiding legal jargon where possible, so it is easily understood by landlords and tenants. After the initial year the lease rolls on indefinitely, to be terminated at the end of a set notice period initiated by either tenant or landlord.
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A rolling lease is one that may be extended indefinitely or for a further specified term. Leases extended indefinitely will state the length of notice to be given by either landlord or tenant if they decide they want the arrangement to end. The GPRLA standard lease used by many of our members is a 1 year rolling lease.
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In Guernsey residential leases are usually for 1 year. The length of time should be stated clearly in the lease. At the end of the year some landlords require a new lease to be signed to allow continued occupation of the property, typically for another year. Other landlords use rolling leases that can be extended without the need for a new lease, and these state a notice period, typically 2 months.
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The lease states who the landlord and tenant/s are, where the property is, who can live there and what the deposit and the rent will be. It should also state what rent change will happen in the event that the tenancy continues for longer than a year. Usually a deposit of at least 1 month’s rent would be required at the beginning of the tenancy, and rent would expect to be increased annually by inflation.

It details what the tenants’ responsibilities are, such as cleaning including the windows, taking out the bins (and on what days), keeping the communal areas in flats clean and unimpeded and looking after the garden where it is for sole use of a property not divided into flats. It should also state whether there is parking and where, when the rent is due, whether the tenant will maintain electrical and gas appliances and boilers, and that the tenant will insure their contents and the inside of the property for fire and similar risks.

It details what the landlord’ responsibilities are, such as maintenance of the outside so will typically provide a property that is wind and water tight, that the property is maintained and has buildings insurance and insurance of the landlord’s contents. For properties which share communal areas, e.g. flats, the gardens are maintained by the landlord.

This is by no means a definitive list, reference to your responsibilities should be determined by reading the actual lease.
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A lease is an agreement between two parties, the landlord and the tenant. It is also a contractual document that can be brought before the Court as evidence should either the landlord or the tenant fall in breach of their contract.

Both landlord and tenant will have a copy. Both copies are signed by both landlord and tenant and signing is normally witnessed by a third party.

The lease should be kept in a safe and secure place as it is an important document.
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