Tenancy Agreements

A tenancy agreement is a contract between a landlord and a tenant, which may be written or verbal. It gives certain rights and responsibilities to both a landlord and a tenant, such as a tenant’s right to occupy a property and the landlord’s right to receive rent.

Any arrangements made by the parties about the tenancy will be part of the tenancy agreement as long as they do not conflict with law. The tenancy agreement can give more but not less than your statutory rights. If a term in the tenancy agreement gives either parties less than their statutory rights, that term cannot be enforced in a court.

Most tenants in England and Wales do not have a right in law to a written tenancy agreement, however, it is advisable to have a written agreement to avoid misunderstandings.

Many Landlords prepare their own tenancy agreements, which can lead to improperly drafted legal documents resulting in unnecessary litigation if a dispute arises. We are able to help with drafting tenancy agreements for a fixed reasonable fee.The agreement should be signed by the tenant and the landlord. If there are joint tenants, each tenant should receive a copy of the agreement.

A tenancy agreement can be made up of: 

  • Express terms: these include what is in the written tenancy agreement, verbal agreement or in the rent book
  • Implied terms: these are rights given by law or arrangements established by custom and practice and do not need to be written in a tenancy agreement

There are different types of tenancy and the type depends on the facts of your situation, not what your agreement says.

Assured shorthold tenancy:

This is the most common form of tenancy and most new tenancies are automatically this type.

A tenancy can be an assured shorthold tenancy if all of the following apply:

  • The landlord is private or a housing association 
  • The tenancy started on or after 15 January 1989 
  • The property is the tenant’s main accommodation 
  • The landlord does not live in the property

They are not suitable if :

  • The tenancy began or was agreed before 15 January 1989
  • The rent is more than £100,000 a year
  • The rent is less than £250 a year (less than £1,000 in London)
  • It is a business tenancy or tenancy of licensed premises
  • It is a holiday let
  • The landlord is a local council

There is a fixed date by which a tenant must leave the property and if any of the terms of the agreement, such as non-payment of rent are breached the landlord may apply to court for the removal of the tenant from the property.

It is not possible to obtain possession during the fixed term unless there is a breach of the tenant’s obligations under the terms of the agreement.

A landlord also cannot increase the rent during the fixed term period. A landlord has to give 2 months’ notice in writing if he wants a tenant to leave the property at the end of the tenancy.  If, at the end of the fixed term period, neither the landlord nor the tenant takes steps to renew the tenancy formally, then the tenancy continues and comes to an end on two months’ written notice.

Periodic tenancy :

Assured shorthold tenancies automatically become a “periodic tenancy” if new contracts are not signed after the fixed-terms expire in the original tenancy agreement and the same tenant remain in the property. All the same terms and conditions apply, but the only difference is that a new periodic contract begins, otherwise known as a ‘rolling’ contract, which runs on a month-by-month or week by week period. The rent will remain the same. The tenant retains their statutory rights and the landlord must follow the proper eviction procedure if the landlord wants to evict the tenant.

Rent Act Tenancy:

Tenancies granted before January 1989 were regulated tenancies protected by the Rent Act 1977. Regulated tenancies give tenants important rights concerning the amount of rent they can be charged and the circumstances in which they can be asked to leave.

The law protects tenants of residential property by preventing landlords charging them unfair rents and by giving them the right to remain in occupation of a property even after the contract term of the tenancy has ended.

  • Allows the tenant or the landlord to apply for a fair rent for the property to be registered. Once this has happened, the registered rent is the maximum amount the landlord can charge until the rent is reviewed
  • Prevents the landlord from evicting the tenant unless they have obtained a possession order from the court – something the court will only order in limited circumstances.
  • On the death of the original tenant, the tenancy can be transferred to a surviving spouse or civil partner or to a member of the deceased’s family. This then gives rise to a statutory tenancy by succession.

For further advice and information and on funding your matter, contact us on 02085944469 or email address info@chrisalexsolicitors.com.