Tenancy Rental Agreements
Rent agreement - Free rental agreement template and important points
- What is a rental agreement
- Types of tenancy agreements
- Does a landlord have to provide a contract?
- Importance of a rental agreement
- Points before signing an agreement
- Format of a rent agreement – What should be included
- Download a free rental agreement template
What is a Rental Agreement?
A rental agreement is a legally binding contract between two parties – a landlord and tenant.
Various aspects are specified within a rent agreement, such as;
Names of both parties involved, the duration of the tenancy, payment terms, obligations and responsibilities of the tenant(s) and landlord and end of tenancy charges (broken furniture etc).
Types of Tenancy Agreement
Depending on the type of property and its use – commercial, student, HMO etc, there are different types of tenancy agreements which are drawn up.
Each type of agreement will be fairly similar, however each will also have unique specifications.
The types of tenancy agreements which are commonly used are:
- Assured shorthold tenancy agreement (AST) The most common contract. Used for self contained houses and flats/apartments.
- Assured shorthold tenancy agreement (room only) This is a sub-type of a AST. HMOs, shared houses and bedsits must have a “room only” AST contract.
- Non assured tenancy agreement Non assured agreements are less common, however must be used if; Annual rent is below £250, or above £100,000, it is not the tenants main home or if the landlord is resident in the building but does not share facilities.
- Excluded tenancy agreement (lodgers) These contracts are used when a landlord lets out part of their own personal residence. Unlike ASTs, lodgers agreements do not require court orders to evict the lodger
- Company let agreement These contracts are used for commercial units, where the tenant is an incorporated company.
Does a Landlord Have to Provide a Contract?
Tenancy agreements are not required by law if a tenancy duration is less than 12 months – any longer than this and they are required by law.
However, regardless of the duration, in-depth agreements are highly recommended to be implemented as they protect both the landlord and tenant(s) – find out why in the next section.
Importance of Rental Agreements
As briefly mentioned above, rental agreements protect both parties involved in the contract.
In 99% of cases, not having a tenancy agreement does not affect the tenant – they’ll have basic rights to a residence, therefore it is in a landlords interest to issue agreements.
One of the most significant reasons to use a rental agreement is in an unfortunate scenario that requires court action; as a landlord, you will have your rights to the property covered.
If certain appliances were to break or a structural issue arised during the tenancy, both the landlord and tenant would understand where they stand in terms of who is liable for the cost of repairs.
Following from this, if a landlord takes a deposit from a tenant to cover any damages, an AST agreement must be used and the deposit protected under a government scheme. This helps to settle any disputes at the end of the tenancy.
Once signed, rental agreements are set in stone – they cannot be amended at a later date during the tenancy. For this reason, both parties should be completely sure and satisfied with the agreement prior to signing.
Points to Note Before Signing a Rental Agreement
This sub-section is aimed at providing tenants with useful points to check on their tenancy agreement before signing.
So you’ve found a house which you are set on renting and are super eager to sign the contract and move in.
However, this stage, especially if a long-term let, can be crucial. The points below will help to ensure that you completely understand and are aware of each section of your tenancy agreement.
Ensure that the start and end dates of the agreement are as you expect.
If you are living with other individuals, ensure that everyone’s names are specified within the agreement, including the landlords.
Rent payment and date
If the property was advertised at £150 per week, make sure that the contract specifies this, along with the date of each month that the landlord expects to receive payment.
There are certain things you’ll be allowed to do and certain things you won’t be allowed to do in the property, such as redecorating. If there are points you don’t agree with, make sure you discuss them with the landlord before signing.
General wear and tear
The agreement should specify that general wear and tear of the property is acceptable. This would include points such as a worn carpet from general movements etc.
Accidental damage caused by the tenant is usually not covered by the landlord.
For example, breaking a supplied appliance will be the liability of the tenant.
Structural issues, such as a leaking roof, broken door locks etc, will be the liability of the landlord.
The contract should explicitly state what you are and are not liable for.
The contract will usually include an inventory.
This describes everything from wall paint to furniture to cutlery, that was already at the property and their condition prior to your move-in.
You should check through this section of the contract as to ensure that nothing is listed which does not exist or is already broken.
Read more on: The importance of an inventory.
If your contract is an AST, the landlord is required to protect the deposit, otherwise they could be faced with a fine.
Details of where the deposit is to be protected should be stated within the agreement.
Format of a Rent Agreement - What Should be Included
We’ll briefly touch on the main points which should be included in a rental agreement, as you can find out in more depth in the template rental agreement below.
The main points which should be found in the agreement are as follows;
Names of everyone involved in the tenancy
Duration – When the tenancy begins and ends
Payment details – The monthly rent amount and when and how it is to be paid. Late payment fees will be included here
Description – The address, property type, if parking/garage is included
Deposit amount, where it is protected, deductions and when you will repay the deposit
Privacy – The tenants have a right to a peaceful occupancy and you should therefore state whether you provide 24 or 48 hours notice before requiring entry to the property
Rules – As the landlord, it is up to you to include whichever rules you deem necessary. This can include no smoking indoors, no pets, no excessive noise past 9pm etc
Maintenance – State whether the tenant is allowed to make general repairs with your confirmation. You should also state what the tenants are liable for, for example damages excluding wear and tear.
Contact details – You should supply the tenants with all relevant contact information such as your own. Work hours contact details and home-hours contact details should be supplied in case of emergency, including contact details for gas emergencies, flooding etc.
Download a Free Rental Agreement Template
Below, you’ll find a free template of a rental agreement which can be copy and pasted into a Word document, or downloaded here.
It should be noted, that this is only a basic template for an agreement, and should be customized to suit your position.
Rental agreement currently being written
Please note: the information contained in this guide is not a legal document and may not contain all of the necessary legal advice or information required by a tenant/landlord. Ensure that you have made adjustments to the rental agreement where necessary.
EMC2 Property is not liable for the use of the rental agreement template/download and only provides the document for informational purposes only.
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