- England: In England, most tenants are not entitled by the law to have a written tenancy agreement. There are social housing authorities and associations that should give the tenant a tenancy agreement. Assured shorthold tenancies created after February 1997 must be given basic written agreement terms within 28 days of application by the tenant.
- Scotland: In Scotland, a landlord is required to provide the tenant with a written tenancy agreement, especially if the tenant is in public sector accommodation. It also strongly applied in assured or short assured tenancies with private landlords. If one is not provided by the landlord, the tenant may go to the local authority and request that one be drawn up. Tenants can also take their agreements to Citizens Advice or Shelter Advice if they are in doubt of its fairness.
- Northern Ireland: Tenants are entitled to tenancy statements from landlords if their tenancy is post April 2007. This statement would contain all the terms of the tenancy and rights a tenant is entitled to. If a tenant in Northern Ireland does not have a tenancy agreement, they are still entitled to basic tenant’s rights.
- Wales: As in England, tenants in Wales are also not entitled to written tenancy agreements and may also get them from local housing authorities and associations. Assured tenancies created after February 1997 are also required to be given written agreements within 28 days of application by the tenant.
A tenancy agreement may be used in the following situations:
- If there is a dispute between the tenant and the landlord, the tenancy agreement can stand as evidence, even in a court of law. This dispute could be related to repairs, responsibilities of the landlord or the tenant, payments and so on.
- If a tenancy deposit is made by a tenant, and the landlord fails to protect such a deposit, the tenancy agreement would show that a deposit was made to that effect necessary, especially in cases where the tenant may be awarded damages by the court.
- Tenants seeking housing benefits are required to present their tenancy agreements.
A tenant low on income could apply to Housing Benefit and get a part of or the entire rent paid by Housing Benefit, depending on the income situation.