The tenancy agreement defines the legal relationship between landlord and tenant, explaining all the rights and responsibilities of both parties. A well drawn-up, clear agreement is essential and, while you can purchase agreements or download them from the internet, the quality can vary.
An agreement should include, at the very least:
• Contact details for all parties (including the agent, where applicable)
• Deposit amount and protection scheme
• Monthly rent
• Length of tenancy
• How the tenancy can be extended
• Under what conditions the tenancy can be terminated
Our experienced letting team will prepare a suitable tenancy agreement for you as part of both our Tenant Find and Fully Managed Services. This way, you can be sure that the agreement is legal, and favourable to both you and your tenant.
Always keep a copy of the agreement and ensure your letting agent has a copy, too. Note that even without a formal agreement, as soon as you take a deposit, accept rent or hand over keys to a property, an agreement is formed and relevant laws for tenants and landlords apply.
Types of tenancy agreement
Assured Shorthold Tenancy
The Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) is the most common type of agreement and lasts for a minimum of six months. It may be a 12-month tenancy with the option of a break clause after six months. At the end of this term, the landlord has the right to have the property back.
Many lenders insist on this type of tenancy agreement, so check with your lender if you are considering any other kind.
Renting a room
If you are letting rooms, in an HMO for instance, the rules are different and a separate AST should be used for each room or you can use a license agreement.
This is typically used when a tenant rents a room in a house also occupied by the landlord. Utility bills can become an area for dispute in this kind of tenancy, so ensure arrangements are clear and in writing before the let is agreed.
Tenants in house or flat shares can use an Assured Shorthold Tenancy in joint names. However, it’s a good idea to have a clause that gives more flexibility regarding notice times, for example, four weeks or more. Landlords also need assurances that there is joint responsibility for damage to the property.
Matters can be simplified by having individual agreements for each tenant, so if one person fails to keep up with their rent, the other tenants are not affected.
These are old-style contracts which predate the Assured Shorthold Tenancy, so only exist today where the property has been rented out to the same tenant over a long period of time.
“Our clear and detailed tenancy agreement spells out all the rights and responsibilities of both landlord and tenant, so everybody knows where they stand. By working with a qualified agent like Hunters, you can rest assured that the tenancy agreement is up to date and legal.”