Guide to tenancy agreements
Whatever the type of property you let it's always advisable to have the right tenancy agreement in place. This will protect both tenant and landlord and, in many cases, it's a legal requirement to have a contract. Here are a few of the most commonly used contracts to suit most of the situations you'll encounter as a landlord.
The Different Types of Tenancy Agreements:
Assured Shorthold Tenancy
Assured Shorthold Tenancies are the most common form of rental in the UK when the landlord doesn't live in the property - it's the default agreement if you don't specify another type when letting your property. An Assured Shorthold Tenancy allows the landlord or tenant to end the tenancy after an initial six month period, by giving notice to quit.
ASTs (for short) are the only type of tenancy the Tenancy Deposit Scheme currently applies to.
If you want to let a house or flat these legally-binding documents are all you need to put it in writing. They can be used to create the standard type of letting known as an 'Assured Shorthold Tenancy'. These tenancy agreements have been endorsed by the NLA (National Landlords Association).
- Furnished property - England & Wales
- Furnished property - Scotland
- Unfurnished - England & Wales
- Unfurnished - Scotland
These aren't so common any more - they're usually only issued by housing trusts and assiciations. Basically, unless you break the terms of your agreement, you can stay in an Assured Tenancy property as long as you like. This was the main reason for the switch to ASTs as they give the landlord more reasonable rights to evict tenants.
Under the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, landlords wanting to claim money from their tenants' deposits now have to prove that damage has been caused. This means every tenancy agreement should now be accompanied by a property inventory that details everything in the flat (as well as the condition it's in).
A few other useful documents
The links above will provide you with all the basic documents you need to cover your lettings. There are plenty of legally-binding contracts available to suit other types of let though so here are a few you may find useful.