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Overview of the Tenancy agreement for a house

Rent out your house safely using the most popular kind of tenancy agreement for private landlords, the tenancy agreement for a house. This straightforward assured shorthold tenancy agreement will help you avoid all the hassles and headaches of letting. This type of agreement also makes it simpler and quicker to evict tenants who fail to pay their rent or cause a nuisance. As a landlord, use this tenancy agreement to lay out payment terms, highlight your obligations in the rental of your house, clearly outline your tenants rights and comply with tenant fees legislation.

Use this tenancy agreement for a house:

  • to rent out the whole of your house for a fixed term
  • when you will not be living at the property
  • when the property will be the tenant's main home
  • when the tenant is an individual
  • when there is only one landlord
  • only when the property is in England and Wales

This tenancy agreement for a house covers:

  • the term of the tenancy
  • rent payments
  • any deposit required
  • landlord responsibilities
  • what the tenant can and cannot do at the property
  • optional break clause
  • end of the tenancy
  • the requirements under the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 and the Tenant Fees Act 2019

A lease agreement is an assured shorthold tenancy (AST). It can be used if an owner of a property wants to rent it out. An AST is a type of tenancy that allows the landlord to charge a market rent and recover possession of the property on giving the tenant at least two months' notice (expiring on or after the first six months).

You will need this agreement if you do not live at the property and you want all tenants at the property to be joint tenants under one tenancy. This means that all of the tenants are jointly responsible for the tenant obligations in the agreement. You will need this agreement to set out the tenant's and your obligations.

There can be no more than three tenants (who are unrelated) living at the property. If there are more than three, the property could be classed as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). In these circumstances, you must comply with additional regulations and may need to apply for a licence - if you don't you could be fined.

A guarantor is someone who agrees to be legally liable for the tenant's rent and other responsibilities if they fail to pay.

This is the period the agreement will run for and can be any length the you agree with the tenant, but the tenant has a right to stay in the property for at least six months. If a fixed term of less than six months is agreed, you do not have a guaranteed right to possession if the tenant does not leave before the end of six months.

An inventory is a detailed list of all of the items at the property and their condition. It is usual to provide a detailed inventory of the items in the property that the tenant can use. The items listed on the inventory must be left in the same state of repair and condition when the tenant vacates. If not, any deposit held can be deducted to cover the cost of any repairs. It is highly recommended that an inventory is made.

You can take a deposit to hold to cover the cost of any breakages or damage to the property or its contents. If when the tenant leaves there is no damage or rent due the money is returned.

All deposits must be placed in a Government Authorised Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Within 30 days of receiving the deposit, you must give the tenant details of the scheme and what is covered by the deposit.

There are three authorised tenancy deposit schemes, two are insurance-based and the third is custodial. All three schemes offer free help and assistance if there is a disagreement about the return of the deposit. There is no charge for landlords or agents to use the custodial scheme but the insurance-based schemes charge membership fees and insurance premiums. Landlords who fail to protect a deposit can be prevented from regaining possession of the property and can also be fined up to three times the amount of the deposit.

The rent can be set at any level up to £100,000 per annum in England and £25,000 per annum in Wales and can be payable monthly or weekly. The level of rent will be the market rent similar to other lodgings and tenancies in the local area. This agreement assumes that the rent includes a cost towards the common areas (e.g. lighting the hallway, cleaning the common areas etc) but does not include outgoings (e.g. electricity and gas) and the tenant is responsible for a proportion of these costs.

If there is more than one tenant renting the property (e.g. a couple or two friends), the rent in the agreement is the total rent for the property and the tenants are responsible for splitting any payments between themselves. The agreement provides that each tenant is responsible for the whole rent. This means that, if one tenant fails to pay, the remaining tenant is responsible for the full rent.

The tenant can't end the agreement before the end of the term. You can end the agreement by serving notice on the tenant but you can't obtain possession of the property during the first six months.

Yes. This document has been amended to be compliant with the Tenant Fees Act 2019. It excludes fees prohibited under the Act, while it also allows for certain damages to be recoverable.

Ask a lawyer for:

  • tenants who want to run a business at the property
  • student/college accommodation
  • tenants who are a company or partnership
  • properties with rent more than £100,000 per year in England or £25,000 per year in Wales
  • advice if there are 3 or more prospective tenants that form more than 1 household, as the property may need to be licensed
  • a property that is outside England and Wales