Assured Shorthold Tenancies Most privately rented tenancies are Assured Shorthold Tenancies. Most tenancies will be for a fixed term. If tenant complies with terms of tenancy, landlord cannot evict during fixed term.
Joint tenancies Jointly and severally liable All tenants are liable for the full rent – together and separately More reasonable to replace tenant who leaves Alternative: Separate agreements between each tenant and the landlord Landlord can replace missing tenant without agreement between continuing tenants
Deposits (1) A deposit will almost always be required To cover any damage to the property or furniture above and beyond normal wear and tear When a landlord or letting agent takes a deposit from a tenant, the deposit must be protected in a government-authorised tenancy deposit scheme.
Deposits (2) The protected scheme states that the landlord must provide the tenant with details of how the deposit is being protected within 14 days of taking the deposit. Details include: the contact details of tenancy deposit scheme the contact details of the landlord how to apply for the release of the deposit information explaining the purpose of the deposit what to do if there is a dispute about the deposit
Deposits (3) At the end of tenancy the condition and contents of the property should be checked against the agreement made at the start of the tenancy. The landlord or agent then agrees with the tenant how much of the deposit will be returned to them. Within 10 days the agreed amount of the deposit will be returned to the tenant. If no agreement can be reached about how much of the deposit should be returned, the scheme offers a free service to help resolve disputes.
Deposits (4) If the landlord does not put the deposit in a protected scheme, they will be ordered to pay the tenant three times the deposit amount as a fine. Schemes do not apply to houses let at over £25000 per year.
Deposits (5) Inventory – you should be provided with a list of furniture and items in the property. Check condition of these and note on inventory and get list signed by landlord as well as you signing. Inspection – carry out a detailed inspection of the property BEFORE signing agreement/inventory Photos – take photos of anything that is not agreed, or may cause problems at end of tenancy. Notes – keep notes of any agreements or discussions. Evidence – correspond with landlord/letting agent in writing and keep copies of all letters and notes of posting dates (recorded delivery?).
Guarantors Landlords or letting agents may require guarantors. On a joint tenancy, each guarantor will be responsible for all tenants. May be sensible to draw up separate agreement to limit liability.
Fixed terms For student lets, fixed term is usually the university year. Tenants are liable for rent for full fixed term period, whether they are living there or not.
Rent Basic term of tenancy that rent paid at amount agreed and at time agreed. If this does not occur, possession proceedings can be taken, even in fixed term of agreement.
Tenancy agreement READ IT! Contract – most terms included will be binding. BUT statutory rights cannot be taken away For example – landlords rights to come to property – notice – quiet enjoyment
Problems Falling out Disrepair Repossession
Falling out If someone wants to leave in the fixed term, technically they are liable for the rent for that whole period. Replacing the tenant? With landlords agreement But cannot withhold agreement unreasonably Mitigation of loss Seek legal advice.
Disrepair (1) Tenancy agreement should provide information on what to do Landlords obligations If does not comply, procedure to carry out repairs and charge landlord Seek advice before withholding rent, since can jeopardise tenancy.
Disrepair (2) Discuss with landlord before taking on tenancy: Repairs and possible problems Who to contact and how Agree procedure in advance Seek legal advice
Repossession Rights of tenant depend on whether tenancy began before or after mortgage taken out. Landlords should have consent of mortgage company to let property. Tenant may be able to be joined to proceedings as affected party. Seek legal advice.
Advice from T&M Free to those eligible for Legal Help scheme Need proof of income. If not eligible, special rate available on presentation of student card. £80 plus VAT for half hour advice, with follow up letter. Further work by agreed fixed fees.
Turpin & Miller Solicitors Housing Drop-In Tuesday and Wednesday 10am to 1pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 2pm to 4.30 pm. enquiries Debt advice: e.g. utility debts, former rent arrears, landlords chasing previous debts etc.