Your landlord, or letting agent working on their behalf, must provide you with a Tenancy Agreement when you agree to rent a home from them. A Tenancy Agreement is an agreement between landlord and tenant where, in return for rent, you can live in their property as your home.
Tenancies are normally assured shorthold which can be given for any timescale. However, the majority of landlords prefer a minimum of six (6) months, although they can be for longer than this if your landlord prefers. Your landlord or letting agent will give you a copy of the Agreement and will keep a copy.
You should read the Tenancy Agreement through carefully before signing it. It is a legal document and legally binding and you are agreeing to abide by the terms written in it. Any changes to the Agreement should be decided between yourself and the landlord and written into the document before signing it. Do not be afraid to ask questions and make sure you understand what you are signing.
Agreements should contain information such as:
- the name of the landlord
- where they or their agent can be contacted
- how much the rent is and when it is to be paid (this is usually monthly)
- when the tenancy begins and how long it is for
- whether the property is furnished or unfurnished
- any rules regarding such things as whether pets are allowed or not, who is responsible for decorating etc.
- details of the deposit scheme where your deposit or bond is protected
Once the fixed period of the tenancy has expired, your tenancy will then become a "periodic tenancy" whereby you have the right to continue to live in the property and all the terms and conditions of your original agreement still stand. Alternatively, your landlord may grant you a further tenancy on a fixed-term basis. If you wish to leave the property you should generally give the landlord four week's notice although the exact timescale depends on whether your tenancy is a fixed term or periodic tenancy.
If the landlord wishes you to leave he must give you at least two months notice that he requires possession. He can give you notice during the fixed term but the notice period cannot end before the end of the fixed term, provided you do not break the rules of the Tenancy Agreement.
If you receive any notice from your landlord you should contact your local Housing Options Team as soon as possible.
Remember - A Tenancy Agreement is a legal document. Make sure you read it thoroughly, understand it and are prepared to stick by its terms before you sign it.