A tenancy agreement is an agreement between a landlord, the owner of a rental property, and a tenant, the person who is renting the property. Under the agreement the tenant is given possession and use of the property and the landlord is paid rent. The tenancy agreement lays down the terms and conditions of the tenancy that both parties need to abide by. It is signed in the presence of witnesses and becomes a legally binding document, a contract. The tenancy agreement also outlines the responsibilities of the landlord and tenant, as well as the landlord’s and tenant’s rights.
The agreement contains information about the property address, and the tenant’s and landlord’s name and contact details. It sets the date the tenancy commences. The agreement specifies the amount of rent and when it needs to be paid, and when and how it can be increased. The agreement normally requires the tenant to return the property to the landlord in the same conditions it was in at the beginning of the tenancy. It contains an inventory, which describes the state of the property and contains list of the furniture and fittings that come with the property.
The agreement includes details of the deposit that is to be paid at the beginning of the tenancy. This sum is usually equivalent to one month’s rent. At the end of the tenancy the landlord must return this money unless there has been any damage to the property, in which case the deposit will cover the cost.
Tenancy agreements are used for two types of tenancies. A fixed term tenancy is one that has a fixed term, like six months or one year. A periodic tenancy has an agreement that is renewable and does not have a fixed term, and can be ended at any time as long as it is done according to the terms of the agreement.
An Assured Shorthold Agreement is the most common type of tenancy agreement. It involves a fixed period of usually about six months and can go up to one year. The contract cannot be terminated in this fixed period, unless the tenant breaks the terms of the agreement. The tenant is required to pay rent for the whole period and the landlord has to give exclusive possession to the tenant and cannot raise the rent. After this period, the tenancy becomes a periodic tenancy where the agreement can be continuously renewed and either party can end it with proper notice. Instead, a new fixed term with a new agreement can be drawn, or the tenancy can be ended.
When it comes to ending a tenancy agreement, both the tenant and landlord need to give usually a month’s notice if they want to terminate the agreement. Details concerning on what grounds the tenancy can be terminated, such as the length of notice, are included in the agreement. As already mentioned, a tenancy agreement cannot be terminated in the fixed period but can be thereafter.
Private renting from landlords is the most common form in which properties are rented. Many rented properties are rented out through estate agents, who act as an intermediary between landlords and tenants.
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