Whether you’re a new landlord or looking to rent your next home, sooner or later you’ll be asked to draft or sign a tenancy agreement.
So, what is a tenancy agreement? Put simply, it’s a legal document which contains everything you’ll need to know about the terms of your tenancy – from the period of the let to the conditions which underpin it.
NuPad are here to help shine some light on the tenancy agreement process, outline what should be included in a tenancy agreement and what to do when it expires. Need more bespoke advice? Don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Put simply, the tenancy agreement is a contract between the landlord and the tenant that clarifies and sets out the expectations of both parties during the time a house or flat is occupied. So, if a landlord rents their home out on the provision that the tenant living there pays rent on the 1st of every month, this would be a basic tenancy agreement.
Tenancy agreements are put in place to protect the rights of both the landlord and the tenant so that rules and duties on both parts are upheld, meaning that the occupation of the property is as stress-free as possible.
Technically no, but you’ll get one anyway — and this is a good thing.
In England and Wales, tenancy agreements are not a legal requirement. That being said, even a verbal agreement is considered a tenancy agreement, providing it does not involve breaking the law. When it comes to letting a home, landlords and tenants both have rights and responsibilities, which are protected and enforced by a tenancy agreement. They can offer more than your statutory rights, but must never give you less otherwise the contract is essentially void.
Another thing – a tenancy is created automatically when someone moves into a new home and pays rent. With or without paperwork and written contracts, the person in question is still considered a tenant and so are entitled to their legal rights.
Yes, but the default type of tenancy in England and Wales is known as an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). In a nutshell, AST agreements don’t apply to holiday lets and lodgers (where the landlord is also your flatmate) and in Scotland, the system is slightly different to the rest of the UK. We advise seeking further assistance if any of this applies to you.
Tenancy agreements can be a written or verbal contract, which both pose their own pros and cons. A verbal contract may be easier and more straightforward, but should there be a dispute, it’s very hard for both parties to prove.
On the other hand, written tenancy agreements might be considered long-winded and – let’s face it – not the most exciting read. Also, if you’re a landlord, you might want a solicitor to draft one for you, which means extra expense. In spite of that, written agreements serve as a solid point of reference for both parties and aim to protect everyone involved.
A tenancy agreement is made of two types of terms, express and implied.
Express terms are explicitly stipulated in the written agreement, whereas implied terms are upheld by the law or are considered common practice. The latter might not be included in your contract and it is in the interest of both the landlord and the tenant to be aware of these rights upon taking up a new tenancy agreement.
Here’s a comprehensive tenancy agreement checklist so you know what to look out for and be aware of:
You also may decide to include any extra information, such as:
You have two options when the tenancy agreement expires:
Need more information about what happens when your tenancy agreement expires? Remember that the law is there to protect both tenants and landlords and therefore the terms of the tenancy agreement must be fair, legal and should never discriminate against either party. If something doesn’t feel right, ask an expert like NuPad or even seek out legal advice. The Citizen’s Advice Bureau and Gov.uk are also great resources for landlords and tenants alike.