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Tenancy Agreements: Key Information

What is a tenancy agreement?

A tenancy agreement is contract between a landlord and a tenant. The agreement will outline the rights that apply to both the tenant and landlord, such as a landlord’s right to receive rent at the given time and a tenant’s right to live peacefully in their home.

The tenancy agreement can take the form of a written document or an oral agreement between both parties. The agreement can provide both the landlord and tenant more than their statutory rights, it cannot however, provide less than their statutory rights. In a case where the tenancy agreement does not meet this requirement, that term cannot be enforced.

The content of a tenancy agreement can include express terms (what have been written or have been agreed orally between both parties) and implied terms (the rights dictated by law).

Within the UK, the requirements for a written tenancy agreement differ. In England and Wales even though many tenants do not have a right in law to a written agreement, social housing landlords must provide each tenant with a written agreement. In Scotland landlords must give a written tenancy agreement to their tenants regardless of whether the tenant is a public sector accommodation tenant or if the tenant is an assured or short assured tenant of a private household. In Northern Ireland landlords of the majority of housing associations and local authorities must provide tenants with a written agreement.

What information should a tenancy agreement contain?

The agreement should be signed by both parties and in cases where there is more than one tenant each tenant should receive a copy of the agreement. By law landlords are obliged to give their tenant their name and address regardless of the form the agreement takes.

The agreement must outline the obligations a landlord has to their tenant as well as their obligation to make repairs (which depends upon the type of tenancy).

A written tenancy agreement must include the following detail:

  • The names of both the landlord and tenant and the address of the property
  • The commencement of the tenancy
  • Rules of whether individuals other than the tenant can use the property, and if so it must indicate which rooms.
  • The duration of the tenancy must be made clear
  • Details of the amount of rent, how often it should be paid and when must be made clear. This includes details of whether the rent will increase as well as additional payments like council tax
  • Details of extra services made by the landlord should be clear ( maintenance of household items)
  • The notice period in which the tenant and landlord should give if the tenancy is to end

Terms of the tenancy agreement

There are obligations that are given by law but may not have been set out in the agreement. The rights that are outlined by law will vary by the type of tenancy agreement. The most common obligations are outlined below

  • The landlord must carry out basic repairs on household items and services like maintenance of supply of water, electricity etc.
  • The tenant has the right to live peacefully without being disturbed by the landlord
  • The tenant should not cause damage to property and must live in a ‘tenant like’ manner
  • The tenant must allow access of the property to the landlord to make repairs
  • Within England, Wales and Scotland the laws on obligations of tenants and landlords differ between renting from social housing or from a public sector landlord.

Discrimination of the tenant

Rules about discrimination do not apply if the landlord lives in the same property as the tenant, but in cases where both the landlord and tenant share a living space. Landlords must not discriminate against tenants on the basis of their disability, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, gender, religion or beliefs, pregnancy or maternity.

The landlord will be breaking the law if they:

  • Rent out a property in worse condition to one tenant than any other
  • Treats a tenant differently regarding use of facilities
  • Will evict or harass a tenant because of discrimination
  • Does not make suitable changes to the accommodation for a disabled tenant.

If you want to make a claim against your landlord, or simply require more information, contact us on: 01626 248608.

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