Tenancy Agreements | UK Tenancy Agreements

A tenancy agreement is a legal agreement in writing (but very dangerously can be oral) that sets out the rights and responsibilities of both landlord and tenant. It contains details such as the length of the agreement, the rent payable, inventory and what is and isn't allowed in the property. If the rental period is below three years, you do not have to, by law, give a written agreement, but it is in your best interests to do this; it protects you.

As a private landlord you will rent the property at the market rate and your right to increase the rent depends on the type of tenancy. If you have rented out to your tenant for a fixed period of three years or more, you are legally obliged to give them a written Tenancy Agreement. 

Where there is no written tenancy agreement (an oral agreement), a tenant that started the letting after 28 February 1997, has a right to ask for a written statement on the date the tenancy began, rent payable and when, and what are the rent review arrangements.

Types of Tenancy Agreement

There are different types of tenancy agreement. The most common, and the ones you will use as landlords are:

Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST): 

The Assured Shorthold Tenancy is the most common in the private rented sector, and the one you will most likely use as a Landlord. If the tenancy begins, or was agreed, on or after 28 February 1997, it is likely to be an Assured Shorthold Tenancy.

Under this tenancy, you as Landlord must adhere to the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme. This is designed to solve the problem of a tenant’s deposit being held unfairly by the Landlords. All deposits taken under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy must be protected by a Government scheme, either Insurance or Custodial.

Bare Contractual Tenancy

If you rent out to multiple persons, and the combined rent is over £25K pa, the tenancy will be different. Bare Contractual Tenancies tend to occur in large households where several people occupy a property, for example a student household. Remember, if you rent to 5 people paying £100 a week each in rent then this equates to £25K per annum.

Assured Tenancy.

This type of tenancy agreement is usually issued by Housing Associations and not private landlords.

Regulated (or 'protected') Tenancy: 

If you rented the property out before 15th January 1989, you may have a Regulated or Protected Tenancy. This tenancy offers the tenant the most protection against rent increases or eviction, and you should try to change this to an AST.