Tenancy agreement

Take the legal mystery out of those confusing rental contract issues!

Our guide on this page will help you understand what an assured shorthold tenancy agreement (rental contract) is, what the law says about it, and how it affects you, and protects you, as a renter in London’s fast-moving rental market.

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1. Why do I need a tenancy agreement?

A tenancy agreement is the legal name for a rental contract that gives you permission to stay in a property as the tenant, and to treat the property as your home. There are rules listed in the contract that you will need to follow, in exchange for living and enjoying your time in the property. Keep that rental contract safe during your stay!

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2. Who has to sign the tenancy agreement?

Anyone staying at the property who is over 18 years of age must be named on the agreement and must sign the agreement. The legal owner of the property or their official appointed representative (known as the landlord) must sign the agreement as well.

3. Can you show me an example of your tenancy agreement?

Yes, you can find an example contract here.

Bear in mind, the wording in this example contract may not be exactly the same as the one you will sign when you stay with us. Because each tenancy can have unique requirements and negotiated terms. However, this example should give you a good idea of what to expect. Do have a read and ask your Host if you have any questions or concerns about the wording!

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Next – move in to your rental property!

Tenancy agreement FAQs

All you ever need to know about rental contracts!

Yes, to rent with us, both the Guest and Owner need to sign a written tenancy agreement to fulfill their legal roles as tenant and landlord under UK law.

There can be many conditions and expectations for the Guest and Owner when it comes to a rental property, such as property care, what to do in case of late rent payments, how to end the contract, and much more. Therefore, a written contract helps ensure that all parties are aware and satisfied of these obligations, which are all clearly laid out and above board and transparent to everyone, before the tenancy starts.

All document submissions, exchanges, and signatures between Guests and Owners are done online when you rent with us, for your convenience.

The most common form of tenancy is an AST. Most new tenancies are automatically this type.

A tenancy can be an AST if all of the following apply:

  • the property you rent is private
  • your tenancy started on or after 28th February 1997
  • the property is your main accommodation
  • your landlord does not live in the property

A tenancy cannot be an AST if:

  • it began or was agreed before 15 January 1989
  • the rent is more than £100,000 a year
  • the rent is less than £250 a year (less than £1,000 in London)
  • it’s a business tenancy or tenancy of licensed premises
  • the property is a holiday let
  • your landlord is a local council

A tenancy agreement should include:

  • the names of all people involved
  • the rental price and how it’s paid
  • information on how and when the rent will be reviewed
  • the deposit amount and how it will be protected
  • details of when the deposit can be fully or partly withheld (for example to repair damage you’ve caused)
  • the property address
  • the start and end date of the tenancy
  • any tenant or landlord obligations
  • an outline of bills you’re responsible for

The terms of the tenancy must be fair and comply with the law.

Your tenancy agreement cannot have anything in it that may indirectly discriminate against you.

Get legal advice before signing an agreement if you’re unsure of any terms. Once you’re happy with it, sign the agreement and get a copy of it.

Citizens Advice has a guide on tenancy agreements.

In some cases, the legal Owner of a property will not be an individual person, but may be a company, e.g. Downing Street Properties Ltd.

This can sometimes be the case if a landlord has numerous properties to own, so they form a company in order to administer that ownership.

In any case, you will be given the contact details of the landlord or their agent in the contract. Those are the contact details you will need to use during your tenancy if you need to, for example request a repair, or discuss changes or renewals to your agreement.

Both you and the Owner must agree in order to change the terms of the tenancy agreement and to put in any special clauses.

Regarding special requests for terms, please be advised that you are protected from discrimination on certain ground such as age, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.

As an example, you might need a guide dog in your home, but a term in the tenancy may say no pets are allowed. The Owner must agree to change the terms to allow guide dogs in the property, unless they have a very strong reason not to (if another Guest in the property has a serious allergy to dogs, for example).

Yes, if after signing, you request for changes to be made to rental contract, there will be £50.00 administrative fee. An example of a common type of change could be to add another person on your rental contract as a sharer, or, to change your legal name as written on the agreement.

A tenancy term is the legal name for the length of time that you rent a property. That term can be one of two types:

  • fixed-term tenancy (running for a set period of time, e.g. a 12 month fixed-term tenancy)
  • periodic tenancy (running on a week-by-week or month-by-month basis)

Once the end date of your fixed-term tenancy is reached, if there is no further action taken (e.g. signing a new agreement), then by UK law the tenancy type automatically changes to a statutory periodic tenancy (SPT). Under that SPT, all the terms of the agreement continue to apply, including tenant and landlord obligations, rent owed, repairs to be done, etc., except this will be in a monthly-rolling contract arrangement.

When you rent with us, your Host will contact you 2-3 months before the end of your fixed term, to start discussing your future plans and renewal options, in preparation for the ending of your fixed term.

Read more advice about the end of your stay on our Move Out page >

Your contract will explain the process for ending your contract early, if such a need should arise. We understand that circumstances change unexpectedly for everyone and we will work with you to ensure a flexible and smooth stay for your peace of mind.

If your contract has a break clause, you can leave for example 6 months into your 12-month tenancy, following the notice giving process explained in your rental contract.

If you have not contacted us yourself beforehand, your Host will actually contact you 2-3 months before the end of your fixed term, to start discussing your future plans and renewal options, This is to prepare you and the Owner for the ending of your fixed term.

Read more advice about the end of your stay on our Move Out page >

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