It’s important to know that for tenants renting in England and Wales there is no legal right to a written tenancy agreement but it is always sensible to have one. For landlords managing social housing such as local authorities and housing associations, they are under obligation to provide a written tenancy agreement to the tenant and they must cater for those with visual impairments with either large print or Braille.
For Scottish tenants, it is common for the landlord to provide a written tenancy agreement especially if the tenant is renting public sector accommodation or a tenant renting from a private landlord under an AST or short assured tenancy agreement.
For further information visit the Citizens Advice Bureau.
There are two types of terms that a written tenancy agreement can be made up of if it’s a written agreement.
Express Terms and Implied Terms
What are Express Terms in Tenancy Agreements?
First and foremost, the written tenancy agreement should specify which type of tenancy the tenant has. The tenancy agreement should be signed by the landlord and tenant and by all tenants if it’s a HMO tenancy or joint tenancy. All parties involved in the contract should all receive a copy of the tenancy agreement.
Best practice states that a tenancy agreement should include the following express terms as standard:
- The names of the tenant/s and landlord and the address of the property being let
- The start date of the tenancy
- The length of the tenancy and details of the end date
- The total rent that is expected to be paid by the tenant/s, how frequently and by what date it should be paid and details of when it can be expected to increase
- Whether bills and utilities are to be included in the rent
- If the landlord is providing other services, cleaning, laundry, maintenance of common areas etc and if there will be a service charge for these
- The notice period and amount of notice which either the landlord or tenant need to give to terminate the tenancy. There are statutory rights for the length of notice which depend on the type of tenancy and reason for its termination
- It should detail if other people are permitted to use the property and if this applies, the specific rooms
- The landlord must include their contact details as a legal requirement
It is a legal requirement for the landlord to repair the property, however, it is unusual for this to be set out in any great detail within the actual rental contract and the landlord’s obligations to repairs are dependent upon the type of tenancy agreement in place.
Should you experience any difficulties with getting repairs seen to whilst living in a rented property, find out how to speed the process up by visiting the Citizens Advice Bureau.
What are Implied Terms in tenancy agreements?
An AST drawn up with implied terms will include the basic legal rights and obligations which must be followed by both the tenant and landlord. The difference is that with Express terms, other agreements made by the landlord are also included as long as they are legal and don’t reduce either the landlord or tenants statutory rights.
The below terms are included in tenancy agreements even though they might not have been specifically agreed between the landlord and the tenant:
- The landlord is responsible for managing repair works and maintaining the utilities, water, gas, electrics, sanitation, heating and hot water
- The tenant must not intentionally cause damage to the property and use the supplied fittings and furnishings properly and respectfully during their tenancy
- The tenant must grant access to the property to allow any repair works to be carried out
Under implied terms, the rights will vary depending on what kind of tenancy is in place.
In England and Wales, there are different rights for social housing and private sector landlords and tenants, to find out more on this click the links below:
Read more for social housing tenants and landlords
Read more for private sector tenants and landlords
Landlords must also provide the following information to their tenants regardless as to what type of tenancy agreement they have in place:
- A rent book or similar record of rental payments if the tenancy is a weekly one and there is no fixed term or monthly agreement – it is a criminal offence if landlord’s don’t comply
- The letting agent must also provide the rent book or similar record for tenants within 21 days and they will be committing a criminal offence should they not supply this after this period
- If the tenant is unaware of their landlord’s name and contact details, then they can make a written request to the person who is responsible for collecting the rent on behalf of the landlord, to request the landlord’s contact info.
If the tenancy agreement is an AST in England or Wales and was created on or after 1997, then the landlord is duty bound to provide the terms of the written agreement within 28 days of the tenant submitting a written request.
If at any stage during a tenancy the tenant does not receive either a rent book, written copy of their AST, of if they are experiencing difficulties obtaining information regarding their tenancy from their landlord, then there are various avenues they can go down in order to procure it. Contact an experienced advisor, such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, solicitors and your local authority will be able to assist you.