A tenancy agreement is a contract between a landlord and a tenant which stipulates the terms and conditions of the rental agreement. The agreement details the rights and responsibilities that the landlord and tenant have to each other, and the responsibilities they have to the property.
A tenancy agreement can be in writing or simply an oral agreement. It is preferable to have a written tenancy agreement in place, as this can be referred back to at a later date should a dispute occur over responsibilities.>
A tenancy agreement should include the following information which must be given to the tenant within thirty days of paying their deposit.
- The full name and addresses of both parties i.e. the landlord and the tenant(s).
- The address of the rental property.
- The date from which the tenancy agreement starts and ends.
- The amount of rent to be paid and the date and frequency (i.e. weekly or monthly).
- Details of any deposit that must be paid and conditions under which the deposit will be kept or returned.
- Details of how the deposit is protected and the name and contact details of the tenancy deposit scheme and its dispute resolution service.
- How to apply to get the deposit back.
- The name, account number and sort code of the account where rent should be paid into (if paying by direct debit).
- The notice period both the tenant and the landlord must give should either party wish to terminate the tenancy agreement early.
- The responsibility of each party towards the property e.g. who is responsible for minor repairs.
- Details as to whether the tenant is allowed to sublet or open the property to lodgers.
- Rules on whether pets and smoking are permitted.
- What to do if there is a dispute regarding the tenancy agreement or the deposit.
Once the tenancy agreement is written up both parties should take their time to read it carefully before signing. A copy should be given to each party to retain.
Tenancy agreements once signed are legally binding and can be upheld by the courts. It is important that all tenancy agreements comply with statutory law. Any laws which are passed in parliament after the contract has been signed are still legally binding even if they are not specifically detailed within the agreement.