Whether you’re a landlord or a tenant entering into a tenancy agreement, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got the terms of the arrangement laid out clearly in a tenancy agreement form.
A tenancy agreement form acts as a legal document between the two parties and contains information on the deposit and rental amounts, as well as any additional permissions or obligations that either side have to fulfil.
Tenancy agreement forms (also known as ‘Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreements’, or ‘ASTs’) do not come as standard, and tenants may find that some landlords use ones that are far more comprehensive than others.
A tenancy agreement form should contain the following:
- The address of the property being rented, and common parts (such as shared garden access)
- Names of the parties involved in the agreement
- The start and end dates of the tenancy, and a ‘break clause’ should the tenant wish to leave the property before the end date
- The rent owed, how it should be paid, and how and when the rental amount will be reviewed by the landlord. The rent could be raised, for instance, by an agreed annual percentage, or in line with the Consumer Price Index
- Information on the tenant’s deposit – how much, in which government scheme it will be protected in, and whether it can be partially or fully withheld if deemed necessary by the landlord
- The bills that the tenant is responsible for paying (if not included in the rental amount)
- Additional tenant or landlord obligations – for instance, who’ll be responsible for minor repairs to the property
Before signing the tenancy agreement form, a landlord should ensure they’ve conducted a proper tenant screening check. Likewise, the prospective tenant should read through the form thoroughly and question the landlord on anything they’re not sure upon – you don’t want any surprises after you move in.
At the end of a fixed-term Assured Shorthold Tenancy, a tenant might wish to stay on in the property. If so they should inform the landlord, who can prepare a new tenancy agreement form for a new fixed-term period. A landlord has the right at this point to increase the rental amount owed and charge any renewal fees.
Staying beyond the fixed-term of your AST without signing a new tenancy agreement form will see your tenancy fall into a monthly rolling state.
If a tenant wishes to leave before the end of a tenancy they’ll have to refer to the tenancy break clause in the form.
Should the landlord want the tenant to leave the property at the end of the tenancy, a Section 21 Notice should be issued to inform the tenant, and it must give the tenant at least two months’ notice before they have to leave the property.
For tenancies beginning after 11 October 2015, a Section 21 notice cannot be used in the first four months of the tenancy. However, a landlord will need to give more notice if the rental period is longer than two months, or if the fixed term period has expired. This is to protect tenants by ensuring they’re housed for as long as they’ve paid for, so as to not leave them without a home at a moment’s notice.
A full and comprehensive tenancy agreement form should give peace of mind to both landlord and tenant.
If you’re a landlord and are unsure how to set out a tenancy agreement from, Stuart & Partners can offer plenty of landlord advice and have three different management levels for you to choose from.
Contact us online or call 01444 414391 (Haywards Heath) or 01273 841482 (Hassocks) to find out more.