Types of tenancy agreements
Before you rent a property ensure you have a tenancy agreement to safeguard your interests.
A tenancy agreement is a written legal contract that sets out the rights and responsibilities of both landlord and tenant. It will contain all relevant details such as the length of the agreement, the rent payable, and what is and isn't allowed in the property.
Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)
The most common agreement used within the private rented sector is an assured shorthold tenancy (If your tenancy began, or was agreed, on or after 28 February 1997, it is likely to be an Assured Shorthold Tenancy) which means that:
- You are entitled to a possession order immediately after the initial agreed period (which is a minimum of six months, providing two months’ notice is given). Your deposit should have been placed in a government authorised tenancy deposit scheme.
- the landlord can get the property back by serving a section 8 notice if you owe at least two months rent
- the landlord can serve you notice if you break any terms of the agreement.
Tenancies starting, or agreed, before that date but after 15 January 1989, are more likely to be Assured Tenancies. However, this type of tenancy agreement is usually issued by a housing trust or housing association because they offer more security than ASTs. If you are offered this agreement, it will allow you to continuously live in the property as long as you do not break the terms of the tenancy agreement.
Regulated (or 'protected' tenancy)
If you moved into the property before 15th January 1989, you may have agreed to a Regulated or Protected Tenancy. This type of tenancy offers the most protection against rent increases or eviction.
You should consult a copy of the guidance from the Office of Fair Trading website at www.oft.gov.uk to ensure your agreement does not have unfair terms.
Letting out rooms
Although ASTs are the most common within the private rented sector, you may only be able to afford a room within a landlords property and therefore will need a different agreement, for example:
- If you live as a lodger and share living accommodation with the landlord, you may have a Non-Excluded Tenancy or Licence.
- If the property is divided into flats and you occupy a different flat from the landlord, you may have an Excluded Tenancy or Licence.
The type of tenancy you have will depend on when it was taken out and the living requirements.