Tenancy Agreements

Tenancy agreement

Five things landlords need to know about tenancy agreements.

From solictor Tessa Shepperson who runs the popular law site www.landlordlaw.co.uk


 

1) You can create a valid tenancy without a written tenancy agreement

Your tenant will have a valid, enforceable oral tenancy agreement from the moment you let them into your property and start taking rent. You cannot therefore allow someone to live a property on the basis that they will get a tenancy later, if they behave themselves. In this case you will have an oral agreement without the protection of a tenancy agreement

2) Not all tenancies are assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs)

Assured Shorthold Tenancies are the most common form of tenancies and were set up by the Housing Act in 1988 and exist when:

- the tenant moved in on or after 28 February 1997 and
- the tenant pays rent to a private landlord
- the tenant has control over the home so that the landlord and other people cannot come in whenever theywant to and
- the landlord does not live in the same building as the tenant

Some tenancy types are not ASTs, including:
- tenancies where the landlord lives in the same building as the tenant, so long as this is not a purpose built block of flats where the landlord lives in one flat and the tenant in another
- lets to limited companies
- high and low value lets ie under 250 pa (1000 pa in london) or over 100,000 pa
- lets to students by the college or university they are studying with

The above are all known as unregulated or common law tenancies and need a slightly different type of tenancy agreement.

3) You can have an AST for a room in a shared house

You can, however, this needs a slightly different type of tenancy agreement, designed for this situation. A normal AST form for the let of a whole house of flat will not be suitable.

4) The tenancy agreement can include a form of guarantee

If you want your tenant to give a guarantee, it is often convenient to include this as part of the tenancy agreement. The guarantor then signs the same document which will include a special guarantee section. However if there are a lot of guarantees (such as with some student lets) it can be difficult to get everyone to sign the same document, so here generally landlords use a seperate deed of guarantee.

5) The tenancy agreement will continue to apply after the end of the fixed term

People often think that after a fixed term ends, the tenant has no tenancy agreement. However actually the tenancy (if it is not renewed by a new fixed term tenancy agreement) will run on. If they pay rent monthly the tenancy will run from month to month, if they pay weekly it will go from week to week, and so on. If this happens the terms and conditions in the preceding tenancy agreement will continue to apply.

So if you don't want to give your tenant a new fixed term agreement, you don't have to. M any tenancies run on as periodic tenancies for many years and this is perfectly legal and normal.

Find out more

You can find out more about tenancy agreements and your rights as a landlord by contacting Torfaen Council Housing Options team: 01495 742302

Check your tenants track record before signing

Over 1 million landlords in the UK hand over the keys to their property to strangers. TenantVet, a new tenant review website, allows landlords to check referrals and recommendations on tenants from previous landlords, letting agents, and local authorities.

The service is free and allows landlords to check if their tenant will be a problem before handing over keys. Visit TenantVet here: www.tenantvet.net

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