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Understanding your tenancy agreement

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Presentation on theme: "Understanding your tenancy agreement"— Presentation transcript:

1 Understanding your tenancy agreement
Student Advice Centre

2 What type of agreement do I have?
The type of agreement you have is defined by statute not by your landlord. Most students living off campus have a fixed term assured shorthold tenancy agreement. However if your landlord lives at the property or you rent from the University you cannot have an assured shorthold tenancy in law.

3 Resident Landlord If you share a house with your landlord you are unlikely to be an Assured Shorthold tenant. You will be an excluded occupier with substantially reduced protection from eviction. This is quite a complicated area of law. Get specialist advice if this applies to you. Discuss code of conduct Code of Conduct

4 What type of Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) is it?
Assuming you have an AST. (Housing Act1988) Most student lets are on a “Joint and several liability” basis. This is where the tenants sign one agreement. (You may have more than one copy but you are just one “tenant” for these purposes) If so you are responsible for the behaviour and actions of all of your joint tenants.

5 Core contract terms. How long is the contract for? Normally they run for a whole year. 1st July- 30th June. If so what are the rent arrangements for the summer? Do you have to pay full rent? Can you leave your belongings there in the summer? Do rent dates tie in with your loan payment dates? Penalties for late payment. Do you have to pay a deposit?

6 Deposits What is a deposit?
ANY money that the Landlord takes from you to protect him in the event that you breach the terms of the tenancy i.e. You fail to pay rent or cause damage to the property. The Landlord may not ask for a deposit but may ask for large Administration Fees. These are not refundable so you will not be able to recover this money at the end of the tenancy.

7 Tenancy Deposit Schemes
In England and Wales, if you rent your home on an AST that started after 6 April 2007, your landlord must place your deposit in a tenancy deposit protection (TDP) schemes: These schemes ensure you’ll get your deposit back if you: meet the terms of your tenancy agreement don’t damage the property pay your rent and bills Your landlord or letting agent must put your deposit in the scheme within 30 days of getting it. At the end of your tenancy if you and your landlord agree how much deposit you’ll get back, it must be returned to you within 10 days of the tenancy ending. If you’re in a dispute with your landlord, then your deposit is protected in the TDP scheme until the issue is sorted.

8 Common clauses in tenancy agreements
Most contracts are different but there are certain themes. The contract often and ideally would: Outline rules on disrepair (in line with the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985) Discusses the payment plan and penalties if the rent is not paid. (watch out for interest) Explains the possession process if there is a breach of contract. Talks about who is responsible for what.

9 Statute v contract Some contract clauses are unenforceable. Statute overrides contract. For example If there is a law about what the landlord is supposed to do, putting something in the contract contrary to that does not change your rights. Example- Disrepair.

10 Disrepair Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985
“1) In a lease to which this section applies (as to which, see sections 13 and 14) there is implied a covenant by the lessor - (a) to keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling-house (including drains, gutters and external pipes), (b) to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling house for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences, but not other fixtures, fittings and appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas or electricity). (c) to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling house for space heating and heating water.” Landlords therefore cannot enforce a contract clause that says “you must service the boiler every year”

11 Unfair terms The Office of Fair trading produces guidance on what is unfair in an agreement. Unfair terms are “traps hidden in the small print or which impose unfair penalties, restrictions or obligations on you or are not clear about what you have to pay” Only the courts, though, can change an unfair term. See s/resource_base/legal/unfair- terms/guidance#named1

12 Common unlawful terms Possession can happen after 14 days of unpaid rent. WRONG: Landlords have to issue notice and get a court order before you have to leave. Landlord can enter the property when he likes WRONG: By giving you a contract he waives his right to access. However the landlord does have the right to access the property with 24 hours notice in writing or in the case of emergency.

13 Common problems seen at the Advice Centre
One person in a joint and several Assured Shorthold contract wants to leave after a fall out/ drop out etc. One person in the group cannot pay. The landlord will not fix a disrepair. The landlord does not protect the deposit/ will not return it.

14 Summary Contracts are complex.
They are not always lawful as statute overrides contract. Before signing a contract you should get it checked out by someone who understands tenancy law. The Student Advice Centre, in the Mandela Building can give you advice about your contract questions. Come to our drop in 1pm-3pm every weekday or see us by appointment. (call ) PLEASE READ YOUR CONTRACT FIRST AND COME WITH YOUR QUESTIONS AS WE CANNOT GO THROUGH THE WHOLE CONTRACT WITH YOU.

15 Happy house hunting Thanks for coming. Any questions?
Please complete our questionnaire.

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