Residential Tenancy Agreement

Published: 16th December 2011
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A residential tenancy agreement is the document agreed between a landlord and tenant which sets out the legal terms and conditions of the rent contract. This agreement allows the tenant to live in a property as long as he pays rent and follow the rules.

Relevant Provisions of Law
• The Protected (Rent Act) Tenancy - tenancies entered into before 15 January 1989.
• The Assured Tenancy - introduced by the Housing Act 1988.
• The Assured Tenancy - Housing Act 1988
• The Assured Shorthold Tenancy - introduced in 1988 but amended by the 1996 Housing Act.
• The Common Law Tenancy, where landlord live in the same building

Types of Residential Tenancy Agreement

Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)
This is the most common type of tenancy agreement used when renting private residential properties. Most lettings which began after 28 February 1997 are likely to have an AST in place. You may have an AST if all of the following apply:
• your rented property is private
• your tenancy started on or after 15 January 1989
• the property is your main accommodation
• your landlord doesn't live in the property
All new tenancies are automatically ASTs

Assured Tenancy
This type of tenancy agreement is used for properties let by a housing association or by a housing trust. The tenant has a higher level of security with this form of tenancy, as it allows them to remain in the property as long as they comply with the terms of the agreement.They must show the court that they have a good reason for wanting possession, using one of the grounds for possession in the legislation.

Regulated or "Protected" Tenancy
If a letting began before 15 January 1989, this type of tenancy agreement may be in place. A regulated tenancy offers the tenant the highest level of protection against eviction and increased rent.

A tenant may have a regulated tenancy if all of the following apply:
• you moved in before 15 January 1989
• you live in a different building from your landlord
• you do not get other services included, like cleaning

All three types of tenancy agreement set out the rights and responsibilities the landlord and the tenant have to each other and the property. Tenancy agreements ensure landlords and tenants are entitled to their statutory rights. What should Tenancy Agreement Include?

It is important that both parties are fully aware of what is included in the agreement. Standard information that should be in all residential tenancy agreements includes:
• All parties involved (this includes the guarantor if there is one).
• Address of the property (or room) being rented.
• Start and end date of the tenancy.
• Name and address of landlord.
• Name and address of any letting agent.
• Amount of rent to be paid and the date it should be paid.
• Method of payment.
• Any additional charges.
• Whether a deposit must be paid, what it covers and the amount paid.
• Whether the tenancy can be ended early by the landlord or tenant and if so how much notice must be given.
• Who is responsible for minor repairs.
• Whether a tenant is allowed to sublet.
• Whether a tenant can have lodgers.
• Whether the tenancy may be passed on to anyone else.
• Rules regarding pets, smoking etc.
Remember, an agreement can be amended by adding or removing any terms as required, as long as they do not conflict with law. When approved by both landlord and tenant, a tenancy agreement is a legally binding document
Rights and Obligations under Tenancy Agreement

As a tenant:
• freedom to live in the property undisturbed
• the right to live in a property in a good state of repair - your landlord should make repairs and maintain the property
• the right to access information about your tenancy at any time
• protection from unfair eviction
If you fail to pay rent or breach other terms of your tenancy agreement you can lose your legal rights as a tenant.
As a landlord
• repossess the property when the tenancy ends
• take back the property if it gets damaged
• access the property by giving 24 hours' notice
• take legal action to evict your tenant in some instances - like non-payment of rent

You may have other rights and responsibilities specifically included in your tenancy agreement.

Ending Tenancy Agreement
It both parties agree to terminate the agreement, they can legally do so. This is called "surrender". There are two ways that surrender of a tenancy can occur: by "operation of the law" or by a "declaration of surrender".
Surrender of operation by law

This is when the tenant gives up their occupation of the property to the landlord and the landlord accepting this. This could involve the tenant handing over the property's keys to the landlord and the landlord accepting that the agreement is over and that they now have possession.
Declaration of operation by law

This is when the tenant signs a "Declaration of Surrender". This written document then acts as proof that the tenant has given up possession of the property to the landlord.

If you are seeking possession because your tenant has not paid the rent or has broken one of the other terms of the tenancy agreement, different rules apply, depending on which type of tenancy your tenant has. For example, if the tenancy is an assured tenancy, you will need to use one of the reasons or 'grounds' for possession in the Housing Act 1988.

Tenancy Agreement should not be Unfair
The residential tenancy agreement is a form of consumer contract and as such it must be in plain language which is clear and easy to understand. It must not contain any terms which could be "unfair". This means, for example, that the tenancy agreement must not put either tenant or landlord in a disadvantageous position, enable one party to change terms unilaterally without a valid reason. An unfair term is not valid in law and cannot be enforced.

Therefore, it is better to seek an expert advice. Net Lawman templates does not contact any unfair term which may make the agreement invalid and unenforceable..

Enforcement of Tenancy Agreement
Tenancy agreements are partly contractual, i.e. an agreement between landlord and tenant which can be enforced by a court of law. And, particularly with residential tenancies (as opposed to commercial or business tenancies), they are partly governed by statutory (Parliamentary) rules which cannot be over-ridden by the contractual common law rules.

Net Lawman’s Residential Tenancy Agreement
Our outline agreements, which can be used both in respect of houses and flats, are suitable for any sort of residential tenancies agreement. Our Documents are drafted by expert Solicitors and Barristers and can be customize according to the wishes of Landlord.

Our all templates are in plain English with explanatory notes, and are regularly updated to comply with domestic legislation.


Miriam Taylor working for Net Lawman UK for providing best quality legal documents, legal agreements and free legal information for: http://www.netlawman.co.uk/residentialtenancyagreement/ | http://www.netlawman.co.uk/land-and-property/assured-shorthold-tenancy-agreement.php | http://www.netlawman.co.uk/land-and-property/tenancy-deposit-scheme.php

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