The Tenancy Agreement
Landlords will usually have two weeks (14 days) to enter into a tenancy agreement with you once they have received a holding deposit. The ‘deadline for agreement’ is the 15th day after the holding deposit has been received. You may agree a different ‘deadline for agreement’ with them in writing (which could be more or less than 15 days).
Contracts can vary significantly in length, detail and style. They can range from a couple of pages to being 30+ pages. These form the core and standard terms that you will be bound by.
Ensure anything that was agreed or promised at the viewing is added to the tenancy agreement.
Remember you cannot simply cancel or break the contract because it no longer suits you.
You will have statutory rights and obligations in addition to your contractual ones.
Types of Tenancy Agreement
Generally, if you rent a property in the private rented sector as an individual or group you will usually be an Assured Shorthold Tenant. This is the most typical type of tenancy students have in the private rented sector. Typically:
- Students are usually offered a standard fixed term of 12 months, although you may be able to negotiate a shorter term. If you sign a fixed term contract you are liable to pay rent for the full period.
- You will have either ‘exclusive possession’ of a room, or more typically, the whole property. The landlord/agent can only access the area you have exclusive possession of if they give you 24 hours notice in writing
- If you rent from the University or live with your landlord you will have a different type of tenancy/licence and notice/access rights.
- Contracts can be written or verbal and both are valid and binding.
- If you are sharing and you are all listed on the same contract this is a joint tenancy and usually means you have joint and several liabilities. It is important to understand that this means you are individually responsible for the whole contract and payments as well as collectively. This liability often carries over into the guarantor’s liability too.
- >You may be sharing but just have your name on a contract and have sole liability for your room but joint liability for communal areas.
The Student Advice Centre run a tenancy contract review service if you are unclear about any aspect of your contract.
Use the online Shelter tenancy checker to help you work out what type of tenancy