Your need-to-know guide to Tenancy Agreements
As a landlord you know that you need a tenancy agreement but you also need to know which one is right for you. A tenancy can either be fixed-term, running for a set period of time, or periodic, running on a weekly/monthly basis.
Here’s our quick guide on everything you need to know about Tenancy Agreements.
If the tenancy started on or after 15 January 1989 and the rent is less than £100,000 a year but more than £250 a year, you would need an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). Most tenancy agreements tend to be ASTs.
If you have a lodger living in your home that you share rooms with an Excluded tenancy would apply.
Tenancies starting before 15 January 1989 would be Assured or Regulated tenancies.
Typically a tenancy agreement will include;
- the property address
- the names of all people involved
- the amount of rent and how to pay it
- when the rent will be reviewed
- the deposit amount, how it will be protected and when it can be withheld
- the start and end date of the tenancy
- any tenant or landlord obligations
- which bills the tenants are responsible for
- whether the tenancy can be ended early and how this can be done
- who’s responsible for minor repairs
- whether the property can be let to someone else (sublet) or have lodgers
You have to get the agreement of your tenants before you make any changes to the terms of the agreement.
Ending a tenancy
If you want your tenants to leave, you must give them notice in a particular way, including certain information and warnings. This depends on the type of tenancy agreement and its terms. If you have an AST, in some cases you can take back your property without giving any reason. This would be dependent on the tenant’s deposit being protected, giving them at least 2 months’ written notice and the leaving date being at least 6 months after the original tenancy began. If they have a periodic tenancy the above will apply, if there’s a fixed term and you want them to leave during that fixed term, you’d need to have a reason for them to leave that’s included in the Housing Act 1988. This could be because they are behind on their rent payments, they’ve used the property for illegal purposes or you want to move back into the property. These would also apply for an Assured tenancy.
If you have an Excluded tenancy you only need to give ‘reasonable notice’ to quit, which is usually the length of the rental payment period, and it needn’t be in writing.
It might seem obvious, but the most important thing is to make sure that your tenants sign the tenancy agreement! You should have the original version, not a photocopied, faxed or scanned copy, before you hand over the keys. Your tenant should have their own copy of the tenancy agreement with your original signature on it.
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