What is a Tenancy Agreement for a House?
A Tenancy Agreement for a House is a contractual document used to create an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) to rent out a residential house. Tenancy Agreements convey the terms of a landlord-tenant relationship, including how the tenancy can be ended and each party’s obligations during the tenancy. For more information about the basics of residential letting, read Renting property.
For use in England only.
When should I use a Tenancy Agreement for a House?
Use this Tenancy Agreement for a House:
to rent out the whole of a 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 a private individual or multiple private individuals (ie not a commercial tenant)
when there is only one landlord (the landlord can be a private individual or a business)
only when the property is in England
ASSURED SHORTHOLD TENANCY AGREEMENT (ENGLAND)
This Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement is made on the last date of signature.
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Definitions and Interpretation
- In this Agreement, the following definitions are used:
Agreement This assured shorthold tenancy agreement and any amendments from time to time; Deposit £; Insured Risks Means fire, explosion, lightning, earthquake, storm, flood, bursting and overflowing of water tanks, apparatus or pipes, impact by aircraft and articles dropped from them, impact by vehicles, riot, civil commotion and any other risks against which the Landlord decides to insure against from time to time and Insured Risk means any one of the Insured Risks; Property , together with any fixtures and fittings; Rent The sum of £ payable in advance: weekly on of every week; Term starting on .
- In this Agreement, unless the context requires a different interpretation:
- the singular includes the plural and vice versa;
- references to sub-clauses, clauses, schedules or appendices are to sub-clauses, schedules or appendices of this Agreement;
- a reference to a person includes firms, companies, government entities, trusts and partnerships;
- the headings and sub-headings do not form part of this Agreement.
- Words importing one gender include all other genders and words importing the singular include the plural and vice versa.
- If two or more persons are together the Tenant or Guarantor their obligations to the Landlord shall be joint and several.
- This Agreement is for private residential accommodation.
- Any obligation on the Tenant to do or not to do something includes an obligation on the Tenant to use their reasonable endeavours to ensure that no other person does or fails to do that same thing.
Grant of Tenancy
- Landlord grants and the Tenant accepts a tenancy of the Property for the Term at the Rent on the terms contained in the Agreement.
- This Agreement is intended to be an Assured Shorthold Tenancy under the Housing Act 1988 (as amended by the Housing Act 1996). When the Term expires the Landlord can recover possession of the Property unless the Landlord issues a notice stating that the tenancy is no longer an Assured Shorthold Tenancy.
- The Tenant accepts:
- the Landlord will be entitled to recover possession of the Property at the end of the Term; and
- the Tenant is not entitled to end this Agreement before the end of the Term (unless stated otherwise in the section entitled "General").
- If the Tenant has use of the Landlord's furniture. The Tenant will:
- not damage or remove any of the items from the Property;
- keep the items clean and in a good condition; and
- make good all damages and breakages of items which may occur during the Term.
Use of Property
- The Tenant shall:
- use the Property as a single private home and not carry on any trade, profession or business on or from the Property.
- immediately notify the Landlord if the immigration status of the Tenant changes.
- not permit anyone to occupy the Property without the prior written consent of the Landlord (such consent not to be unreasonably withheld).
- send the Landlord a copy of any notice or other communication affecting the Property within 7 days of receipt and shall not take any action regarding such notices or communications without the prior consent of the Landlord.
- The Tenant shall not:
- keep any pets or any other animals on or in the Property without the prior written consent of the Landlord (such consent not to be unreasonably withheld or delayed).
- The Landlord should accept such requests where they are satisfied that the Tenant is a responsible pet owner and that the pet is of a kind that is suitable to be kept at the Property, in relation to the nature of the Property.
- The Landlord will not consent to any pets which may cause damage to the Property and its contents, or can be a health hazard or cause a nuisance to neighbours.
- The Landlord is deemed to have granted consent to the pet unless the written request is turned down by a Landlord with good reason in writing within 28 days of receiving the request.
- The Landlord is prohibited from charging a fee to the Tenant who wishes to keep a pet at the Property. Consent will be given on the condition that the Tenant pays an additional reasonable amount towards the Deposit, provided the total Deposit taken from the Tenant does not breach the deposit cap requirements under the Tenant Fees Act 2019.
- leave the Property unattended for a period of more than 21 consecutive days or change the locks on any door or window without the prior written consent of the Landlord.
- park a caravan, boat or trailer at the Property.
- keep any pets or any other animals on or in the Property without the prior written consent of the Landlord (such consent not to be unreasonably withheld or delayed).
- The Tenant shall not do anything to or on the Property that:
- causes a nuisance, annoyance or damage to occupiers of the neighbouring, adjoining or adjacent property, or the owners or the occupiers of them;
- involves using the Property for immoral or illegal purposes; or
- has the effect of invalidating the insurance that the Landlord has taken out in accordance with this Agreement.
- The Landlord shall provide the Tenant with at least one set of keys and any security device (for example a key fob) that the Tenant will require in order to obtain access to the Property (the "Access Devices"). The Tenant is responsible for looking after and keeping safe the Access Devices for the duration of the tenancy. If the Tenant loses an Access Device, the Tenant shall pay the actual cost of replacing any lost Access Devices and other expenses reasonably incurred by the Landlord as a result of loss of the Access Device (for example replacing the Property's locks).
- The Tenant shall pay the Rent and all other sums due under the Agreement (whether formally demanded or not) clear of all deductions at the agreed times.
- The Tenant shall be in breach of this Agreement if the Tenant fails to pay the Rent in accordance with this clause and the Landlord shall be entitled to use the statutory provisions contained in the Housing Act 1988 or any other statutory remedies available to recover possession of the Property.
- If the Property is damaged or destroyed by an Insured Risk so as to be unfit for occupation and use then, unless the damage or destruction was caused by the wilful actions, negligence or default of the Tenant, payment of the Rent shall be suspended until the Property is fit for occupation and use.
Utilities and Outgoings
- The Tenant shall pay directly to suppliers all charges for gas, electricity, oil, water, sewerage, telephone (including line rental), council tax (or any similar property tax that might be charged in addition to it), any television licence or other services used at the Property.
- The Tenant shall comply with all laws and recommendations of the relevant suppliers relating to the use of those services and utilities.
Repairs and Alterations
- The Tenant shall keep the Property clean and in a good condition and make good any damages or breakages to the Property (excepting fair wear and tear), provided that this clause shall not impose any obligation on the Tenant that is the obligation of the Landlord under section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.
- The Tenant shall keep the inside of the Property (including glass in the windows) in a good state of repair and condition.
- The Tenant shall not cause any blockage to the drains, gutters and pipes of the Property. This obligation does not require the Tenant to carry out any works or repairs for which the Landlord is liable.
- The Tenant shall keep any communal halls, lifts, passageways, driveways and other common areas clean and fit for use.
- The Tenant shall not make any alteration, addition, or redecorate the Property without the prior consent of the Landlord (such consent not to be unreasonably withheld).
Assignment or Subletting
- The Tenant shall not take in any lodgers or assign, sublet, charge or part with or share occupation of the Property or any part of it.
Expiry of the Tenancy
- At the end of this tenancy (howsoever determined), the Tenant shall:
- yield up the Property with full vacant possession;
- return all of the items to the Landlord in the same state (excepting fair wear and tear);
- give the Landlord a forwarding address;
- remove all rubbish and personal items (including the Tenant's own furniture and equipment) from the Property; and
- return all the keys to the Property to the Landlord.
- If any of the Tenant's personal items have not been removed from the Property when the tenancy ends:
- the Landlord shall be entitled to remove and store such personal items from the Property;
- upon removal of the Tenant's personal items, the landlord shall then use its reasonable efforts to notify the Tenant of where the personal items are being held, the date of any proposed sale or disposal, and the Landlord's contact details in case the Tenant wishes to take back personal items;
- the Landlord shall be entitled to sell, dispose of, or otherwise deal with any personal items 21 days after the Landlord uses its reasonable efforts to notify the Tenant in accordance with the clause above.
Landlord's Right to Enter the Property
- The Landlord reserves the right for the Landlord (and all those authorised by the Landlord) at reasonable times to enter the Property on giving the Tenant at least 24 hours' prior notice in writing to:
- check the state of repair, decoration and condition of the Property;
- carry out repairs, decoration or alteration to the Property or adjoining property; and
- clean or renew any pipes, sewers, drains or gutters at the Property.
- The Tenant shall notify the Landlord of any disrepair or defect or act of vandalism carried out to the Property, Common Areas or the items.
- The Tenant shall immediately comply with any notice given to it by the Landlord under this section that requires it to make good any damage to the Property or items to be made good.
- If within 1 month of receiving a notice under this section the Tenant has failed to comply with such notice, it will be lawful for the Landlord, on 24 hours notice, to enter the Property (but without prejudice to the right of re-entry) and execute the necessary repairs. The Tenant shall pay the costs reasonably incurred by the Landlord pursuant to this clause upon the Landlord providing evidence of such costs (for example in the form of receipts).
- Subject to the Tenant paying the Rent and carrying out its obligations under this Agreement, the Landlord agrees that the Tenant may quietly possess and enjoy the Property.
- The Landlord shall maintain and keep in good repair the exterior of the Property and keep all installations for the supply of water, gas, electricity, sanitation and heating at the Property in good repair and proper working condition.
- The Landlord shall keep in good repair and proper working order the installations in the Property for space heating and heating water.
- The Deposit must be held in one of the Government tenancy deposit protection schemes ("Deposit Scheme").
- Within 30 days of receiving the Deposit, the Landlord must give the Tenant the necessary prescribed information about the Deposit Scheme.
- Subject to any rules or provisions of the Deposit Scheme, the Landlord or their agent will be entitled to claim from the Deposit:
- any Rent or other sums payable by the Tenant under this Agreement which are in arrears; and
- any reasonable sum the Landlord incurs in remedying any failure by the Tenant to comply with any of the terms of this Agreement, including those relating to the cleanliness, state and condition of the Property (provided always that the sum claimed by the Landlord is reasonably incurred and reasonable in amount); and
- any unpaid account for services or council tax incurred at the Property; and
- any reasonable costs incurred in respect of any repair or damage to the Property (excepting fair wear and tear and repair that is the responsibility of the Landlord).
- Unless required under the Deposit Scheme no interest will be paid to the Tenant by the Landlord in respect of the Deposit.
- The Landlord must insure the Property and the contents which belong to the Landlord with an insurance company of repute against the Insured Risks the Landlord from time to time in their absolute discretion decides to insure against. The Landlord shall be under no obligation to insure the Tenant's personal items at the Property.
- The Landlord will ensure that all furnishings at the Property meet with legal regulations on safety and that all appliances are maintained and the appropriate safety checks carried out.
Default by the Tenant
- The Landlord may recover possession of the Property (subject to any statutory provisions) and the tenancy will come to an end (subject to any other rights or remedies the Landlord may have) if at any time:
- any Rent or any part of the Rent payable under this agreement is outstanding for 14 days after becoming due (whether formally demanded or not); or
- there is a breach by the Tenant of any of obligation or other provision of this agreement; or
- any of the following grounds for possession contained in Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988 shall apply:-
- part I of Schedule 2, Grounds 2 or 8; or
- part II of Schedule 2, all Grounds with the exception of Grounds 9 and 16; or
- the Tenant becomes bankrupt, has an administration order made in respect of their assets, has a receiver appointed or enters into an arrangement for the benefit of their creditors.
- If any Rent or other sums due are not paid 14 days after becoming payable (whether formally demanded or not), the Tenant will pay interest on any sums due at the rate of 3% per annum (above the Bank of England's base rate), calculated from the date payment is due up to the date payment is received by the Landlord and such sums will be recoverable as rent in arrears.
- If the Property is damaged to such an extent that the Tenant cannot live in it, the Rent does not need to be paid until the Property is rebuilt or repaired so that the Tenant can live in it again unless:
- the cause of the damage is something which the Tenant did or failed to do as a result of which the Landlord's insurance policy has become void; and
- the Landlord had given the Tenant notice of what the policy required.
- If the Tenant breaches this agreement or fails to fulfil any of its obligations under this agreement, the Tenant shall pay any reasonable costs properly incurred by the Landlord in remedying such breaches or in connection with the enforcement of those obligations.
- Any notice or other document shall be served on the Tenant during the tenancy by either being left at the Property or by being sent to the Tenant at the Property by first class post. Notices shall be deemed served the day after being left at the property or the day after posting.
- For the purpose of Section 48 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1987, any notices, including notices in proceedings, must be served on the Landlord at the address stated in this Agreement.
- If there is a Guarantor, they guarantee that the Tenant will perform their obligations in this Agreement. The Guarantor agrees to pay on demand to the Landlord any Rent and other sums due to the Landlord by the Tenant under this Agreement. The liability of the Guarantor shall continue until the end of the Term.
- This Agreement will be governed by and interpreted according to the law of England. All disputes arising under the Agreement will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.
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About Tenancy Agreements for Houses
Learn more about making your Tenancy Agreement for a House
How to make a Tenancy Agreement for a House
Making your Tenancy Agreement online is simple. Just answer a few questions and Rocket Lawyer will build your document for you. When you have all the information about your intended tenancy prepared in advance, creating your document is a quick and easy process.
You’ll need the following information:
The landlord’s details (including, if applicable, your business’ legal structure, address and, if different, the address that you will receive notices at).
The tenant’s (or all of the tenants’) name and current address.
Rent and payments
How much rent must be paid, and when should it be paid?
Do the tenant(s) need guarantors? If so, what are the guarantors’ names and addresses?
Does a tenancy deposit need to be paid? If so, how much is the deposit?
Will the rent increase each year? If so, by how much (ie by a fixed percentage, or in line with the Consumer Price Index)?
What is the house’s address?
Does the tenant have access to a parking space?
Do you have an inventory of the fixtures included with the property?
When will the tenancy start?
How long will it last for? This refers to the initial fixed term of the tenancy.
Will you include a tenants’ break clause? If so, after how long can the tenant(s) end the tenancy using the break clause, and how much notice must they give?
Will you include a landlord’s break clause? If so, after how long can the landlord end the tenancy using the break clause, and how much notice must they give?
Common terms in a Tenancy Agreement for a House
Tenancy Agreements for houses set out the relationship that will exist between a landlord and their tenant(s), and the terms on which the tenant(s) will occupy the landlord’s house. To do this, this Tenancy Agreement template includes sections covering:
parties - the Agreement starts by identifying the parties that will be legally bound by this Agreement: the landlord, the tenant(s), and any guarantor(s). Guarantors are people that make a legally binding promise to cover another person’s liabilities (ie their rent) should the person fail to do so themselves
definitions and interpretation - this section explains exactly what is meant by some of the key terms used throughout the Agreement, such as ‘Property’ and ‘Term’. It also makes some more technical definitions, such as clarifying that references to the singular (eg one tenant) refer to the plural (eg all of the tenants)
This section also states that if there is more than one tenant or guarantor, their obligations as the overall ‘Tenant’ or ‘Guarantor’ will be ‘joint and several’. This essentially means that they (eg all tenants) collectively hold their obligations towards the landlord so if, for example, one tenant fails to pay rent, the other tenant(s) would still be liable for all of the rent
grant of tenancy - this section explains the type of tenancy that is being created (an assured shorthold tenancy) and some of its key features. It explains that the landlord can recover possession of the property at the end of the tenancy (remember that this must be done in accordance with the law - see the FAQ ‘What happens at the end of a Tenancy Agreement?’). It also sets out the tenant’s right to use the fixtures (eg furniture) in the property and their obligations regarding these (eg to keep them in good condition)
use of property - this section sets out what the tenant(s) must, can, and cannot do with the property. It includes various promises (known as ‘covenants’) regarding their tenancy. For example, the promise not to use the property for any business purposes. It includes provisions on pets, communications about the property, immigration status, guests, leaving the property for longer than 21 days, and parking trailers or boats. This section also covers the tenant’s promise to not cause a nuisance to neighbours or do anything that would invalidate the landlord’s insurance
keys - this term explains how keys will be handled and how the costs of any replacements will be allocated
rent - this section contains the tenant’s promise to pay the rent. It explains that this obligation is usually temporarily suspended (ie the tenant need not pay rent for a time) if an ‘insured risk’ occurs that makes the property unfit for occupation
rent increase - this is the optional ‘rent review clause’. If you choose to include this in your document, it sets out when the rent can be increased and by how much. It sets a requirement for the landlord to use a rent review notice within a specified timeframe if they want to raise the rent
utilities and outgoings - sets out the tenant’s obligation to pay suppliers directly for all relevant utilities and other outgoings, such as electricity and council tax
repairs and alterations - this section sets out the tenant’s obligations regarding cleanliness, repair, and alterations. It explains that this Tenancy Agreement does not impose any obligations on tenants which are, by law, landlord obligations (eg to conduct certain repairs)
assignment or subletting - assignment means the transfer of the lease (ie tenancy) to another person. This section explains that the tenant(s) cannot assign the lease or allow somebody else to live in the house another way (eg as a lodger)
expiry of the tenancy - explains the tenant’s obligations regarding how to leave the property at the end of the tenancy. For example, they must remove their items and give the landlord a forwarding address. It also explains the landlord’s rights when dealing with any items that the tenant leaves behind. This section refers to the end of the tenancy ‘howsoever determined’ (eg even if it’s ended by section 21 notice after a time as a periodic tenancy), rather than referring distinctly to the end of the fixed-term
landlord’s right to enter the property - this section sets out a right for the landlord or others to enter the property for purposes related to repairs. It sets a requirement for them to give the tenant(s) notice first
repairing obligations - this section sets out the tenant’s obligations related to notifying the landlord of, and organising, any necessary repairs that are the tenant’s responsibility. It explains the landlord’s right to execute and charge the tenant for any legitimately required repairs that the tenant does not take care of within a specified time
landlord’s obligations - this section sets out an assortment of obligations that the landlord has, most of which are imposed by law. These include the landlord’s obligations regarding repairs, tenancy deposits, allowing the tenant quiet enjoyment of the property, and safety. It explains when the landlord may make deductions from the tenancy deposit. This section also creates an obligation for the landlord to insure the property and its fixtures against the risks set out in the ‘definitions and interpretations’ section of the Tenancy Agreement. Although it’s not a general legal requirement for landlords to have insurance, it’s good practice, and if you have a mortgage your mortgage agreement may require that you have insurance before renting out your house
default by the tenant - this section sets out what happens if the tenant does not meet one of their obligations under this Tenancy Agreement (eg their obligation to pay rent or to not damage the property). It explains that the landlord can, in certain circumstances, seek possession of the house (ie they can seek to evict the tenant). Remember, however, that this must always be done in accordance with the law. For more information on valid evictions, read Repossessing a property - section 8 notices and Tenant eviction FAQs. This section also deals with interest that may be due on unpaid rent and with insurance
general - this section sets out various other aspects of the Agreement, including:
the break clause - if you’ve chosen to include one. It explains who can use this clause to end the tenancy early and when, and how much notice must be given
service provisions - how any notices relevant to this tenancy should be served (ie delivered)
guarantor’s promise - this term sets out any guarantors’ legal promise to pay any money due to the landlord under the agreement because of the tenant’s obligations, should the tenant(s) not pay
jurisdiction - this term explains that the tenancy is governed by the laws of England, and any disputes must be dealt with by the English courts
signatures - all parties must sign and date in this section to make this written Tenancy Agreement’s terms legally binding
If you want your Tenancy Agreement to include further or more detailed provisions, you can edit your document. However, if you do this, you may want a lawyer to review the document for you (or to make the changes for you) to make sure that your modified Tenancy Agreement complies with all relevant laws and meets your specific needs. Use Rocket Lawyer’s Ask a lawyer service for assistance.
Legal tips for landlords
Make sure you comply with the law when dealing with your tenant(s)
There are a lot of legal protections in place to help ensure that residential tenants are treated fairly. As a landlord, if you’re planning to evict a tenant or to do anything that may interfere with their tenancy (eg enter the property to do repairs or raise the rent), you should make sure you adhere to requirements like notice periods. For more information, read Rocket Lawyer’s guidance on:
You should also read Rocket Lawyer’s How to make a tenancy agreement checklist to help ensure you do everything required of a landlord.
Communicate with your tenant(s) about what happens at the end of the Tenancy Agreement’s fixed term
Agreeing together on what will happen is the best way to move forward without any animosity and without any issues arising that could end up in court. Be aware that this Tenancy Agreement doesn’t contain a clause that converts the tenancy into a contractual periodic tenancy at the end of the fixed term. Therefore, if nothing else occurs at the end of the tenancy (eg an eviction or a new fixed-term agreement), your tenancy will be converted into a statutory periodic tenancy. For more information, read the FAQ ‘What happens at the end of a Tenancy Agreement?’. If you want your tenancy to convert into a contractual periodic tenancy (ie so terms like a rent review clause are maintained), you can Ask a lawyer to alter your Agreement for you.
Understand when to seek advice from a lawyer
In some circumstances, it’s good practice to Ask a lawyer for advice to ensure that you’re complying with the law and that you are well protected from risks. You should ask for advice if:
your tenants want to run a business at your property
you want to run student or college accommodation
your tenants are a company or a partnership
you want to rent out a property for more than £100,000 per year
the property has 3 or more prospective tenants that may form more than 1 household and you’re not sure if it counts as an HMO
you want to make sure you’re evicting somebody legally
you want to take a tenancy matter to the courts, or you need to respond to a legal challenge
you want to rent out a property that is outside England (you can use Rocket Lawyer’s template to make a Tenancy Agreement for Wales or Scotland)
Tenancy Agreement for a House FAQs
What’s included in a Tenancy Agreement for a House?
This Tenancy Agreement template covers:
the tenancy’s term
the required rent
any tenancy deposit required
the landlord’s responsibilities
the tenants’ responsibilities
what the tenant can and cannot do at the property
an optional break clause
an optional rent review clause
what happens at the end of the tenancy
Is it compulsory to have a Tenancy Agreement?
Technically, a tenancy can exist without there being a written Tenancy Agreement. Tenancy Agreements can be formed either verbally or in writing. However, assured shorthold tenancies require that landlords give tenants a ‘written statement of terms’ within 28 days of a tenant’s request for such in writing. Creating a Tenancy Agreement is an efficient way of providing these details in anticipation of any requests.
Moreover, having a written Tenancy Agreement is extremely beneficial and is regarded as the standard approach to renting relationships. Having a Tenancy Agreement in place makes sure all parties know what their rights and obligations are under the tenancy. It can also provide evidence what was agreed between the parties if any disputes or other issues arise.
Having a comprehensive Tenancy Agreement in place can also make the process of evicting tenants who fail to pay their rent, or who cause a nuisance, simpler and more transparent.
Is this the right Tenancy Agreement for me?
You should use this Tenancy Agreement if you do not live at the house you’re renting out and you want all of the tenants at the property to be joint tenants under one tenancy. This means that all of the tenants are jointly responsible for the tenants’ obligations in the Agreement.
If you want to rent out rooms in the home separately (ie to different families or individuals under different contracts), you will be renting the property as a ‘house in multiple occupation’ (HMO). In this situation, you should make a Room rental agreement for each person or party instead.
What is an assured shorthold tenancy (AST)?
ASTs are the main type of residential tenancy used in England. An AST grants a tenant the right of exclusive possession of the property for the length of their tenancy in exchange for market rent. Exclusive possession means that they can live in the property and the landlord cannot. ASTs can be fixed-term or periodic (ie rolling) tenancies. They can be ended by a landlord (ie the tenants can be evicted)if certain conditions are met, sometimes without a reason needing to be given (for more information, read the FAQ ‘Can I end a Tenancy Agreement early?’).
However, ASTs do provide tenants with some protection, such as certain notice periods that landlords must adhere to for evictions or rent increases. For more information, read Residential tenancies.
What are a landlord’s legal obligations?
Lots of landlords’ obligations tend to be set out in a Tenancy Agreement (for example, the landlord’s obligation to allow tenants to live in a property without the landlord disrupting them).
Landlords also have an obligation to give their tenants certain information. For details of what information must be provided, read the relevant section of the ‘Make it legal checklist’ above.
Land law in England also inserts certain ‘implied terms’ into Tenancy Agreements. These implied terms are considered to be included in a Tenancy Agreement by law, regardless of whether they’re actually included in a written or verbal agreement (ie they essentially always apply). There are multiple such terms, for example, terms that set out a landlord’s obligation to:
repair certain parts of the property (eg structural aspects and facilities for supplying water)
uphold the tenant’s right to peacefully live in their accommodation without undue interruption from the landlord
ensure the property is fit for human habitation
What are tenants’ legal obligations?
As for landlords, tenants have both express obligations (ie those included in the Tenancy Agreement) and implied obligations (ie those imposed by law, regardless of whether they’re included in the document).
Some of the key obligations imposed on tenants by implied terms are their obligation to:
live in the property in a ‘tenant-like’ manner (ie to not damage it and its fixtures)
pay the agreed rent and the utility bills
provide access to the property for the landlord or others who are carrying out repairs
not sublet the property without permission
For more information, read Tenants’ and owners’ obligations.
How many tenants can I rent to?
The law of England does not allow more than 4 joint tenants to hold the legal interest in a lease (ie a tenancy). More than 4 people may hold a tenancy and be protected by housing law (eg the protection available for ASTs under the Housing Act 1988), but in such instances, ownership becomes a more complex mixture of legal and beneficial interests. This Tenancy Agreement template should only be used to rent a house to up to 4 joint tenants. If you want to create a Tenancy Agreement for more than 4 joint tenants, you can Ask a lawyer for assistance.
You should also note that, if three or more tenants who form more than one household (eg they’re not one cohesive group, such as a family) live at the property, it could be classed as an HMO. Renting out an HMO requires that landlords comply with additional regulations and sometimes licensing requirements.
How long will the Tenancy Agreement last?
You and your tenant can agree on how long your Tenancy Agreement should last. However, if the term is less than 6 months, your options for ending the tenancy early may be reduced. A section 21 eviction notice (ie the ‘no fault’ eviction notice that is often used to end tenancies when the tenant hasn’t done anything wrong) cannot be used within the first 4 months of a tenancy, and the notice must give a further 2 months’ notice to leave.
This Tenancy Agreement for a House has been created to let property for a maximum of 2 years and 11 months. This is the maximum tenancy length that this template can be used for. Tenancies with a term of 3 years or more are more complex and must be witnessed. Ask a lawyer if you would like help creating a longer Tenancy Agreement.
Do I need an inventory of fixtures and fittings in the property?
An Inventory is a detailed list of all of the items at the property and their condition. It is usual to have a detailed inventory of the items in the property that the tenant can use. It is highly recommended that an inventory is made so that there is a record of the items in the property, should any disputes arise.
The items listed on the inventory must be left in the same condition when the tenant moves out as when they moved in. If not, landlords may be able to deduct money from the tenant’s deposit to cover the cost of any repairs. Landlords cannot charge a tenant (or deduct from their deposit) for ‘fair wear and tear’ (ie mild damage that occurs over time as a normal result of everyday use). If you want to record other details when the tenant moves out, like meter readings and alarm details, you can make a Property inspection report.
Do tenants need to pay a deposit?
It is not compulsory for landlords to take a tenancy deposit (or ‘security deposit’) from their tenants when they move in. However, it is common practice to do so.
It is good practice to take a tenancy deposit to use to cover the cost of any breakages or damage to the property or its contents, if necessary. If, when the tenant leaves there is no damage or rent due, the money is returned to them. There are limits on how much tenants can be asked to pay as a deposit.
All tenancy deposits must be placed in a Government-authorised tenancy deposit scheme. Within 30 days of receiving the deposit, the landlord must also give the tenant details of the scheme they’re using and of what is covered by the deposit. For more information, read Prescribed information for tenancy deposits.
What is a tenancy deposit scheme?
A tenancy deposit scheme is a system by which deposit money is kept securely by (or insured by) an independent third-party, to ensure that it’s available should the landlord need to claim, whilst making sure they cannot make unjust deductions.
Landlords must use one of the three Government-authorised tenancy deposit schemes. They can use either an insurance scheme (ie the landlord or their agent holds the deposit but pays the scheme to insure it) or a custodial scheme (ie the scheme holds the deposit). All of the schemes offer free help and assistance if there is a disagreement about the return of the deposit. There is no charge for using custodial schemes, but the insurance schemes do charge membership fees and insurance premiums.
Landlords who fail to protect a deposit can be prevented from taking possession of their property (eg by evicting a tenant using a section 21 notice). They may also be fined up to 3 times the amount of the deposit.
For more information, read Deposit protection schemes.
How much rent needs to be paid?
The landlord and tenant can agree on how much rent should be paid. However, this Tenancy Agreement is designed for an AST, which means that you must set the rent within the rent limits that apply to ASTs. Set your rent:
below £100,000 per year
above £1,000 per year (in London) or £250 per year (in England outside of London)
Rent can be payable monthly or weekly. The level of rent should generally be set at the ‘market rent’, ie at a similar rate to other similar leases in the local area. If you do not want to charge market rent, you should Ask a lawyer for assistance as this can create a more complex legal situation.
The Agreement does not include outgoings (eg bills for utilities such as electricity and gas). The tenant is generally responsible for these costs. If you want your Tenancy Agreement to include outgoings, speak to a lawyer.
If your Tenancy Agreement is for joint tenants (ie there is more than one tenant renting the property, for example, a couple or two friends), the rent specified in the Agreement is the total rent for the property. The tenants are responsible for splitting rent payments between themselves. This 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.
Can a Tenancy Agreement be amended?
You can change the terms of a Tenancy Agreement once it’s been created. However, all parties must agree to the changes. Any changes should be recorded in writing either by creating a new document that sets out the terms of the tenancy, or by making a (dated and signed) change to the original contract.
Can the rent be increased?
A landlord can only increase the rent during the course of a fixed-term tenancy if either:
the tenant agrees to a rent increase (without the landlord exerting any illegitimate pressure on them to do so), or
there is a rent increase clause (or ‘rent review clause’) in the Tenancy Agreement.
Either way, the landlord must follow the correct procedures (eg as set out in a rent review clause) and the proposed rent increase must not be excessive or unfair. This tenancy lets you choose if you want to include a rent review clause.
If the tenancy is for less than two years, it is recommended that the rent be fixed for the duration of the tenancy. If the tenancy is for more than two years, the rent can either be fixed for the duration of the tenancy or the landlord can choose to include a rent review clause that specifies how the rent will increase each year.
If this fixed-term Tenancy Agreement ends and your contract becomes a statutory periodic tenancy (see ‘What happens at the end of a Tenancy Agreement?’, below, for more information), rent can be increased without the need for a rent review clause or the tenant’s agreement. To do this, certain legal requirements must be met:
a section 13 notice should be used (which is only possible if any rent review clauses no longer apply) and at least 1 month’s notice must be given
the tenancy has been going for longer than a year, and
the landlord hasn’t already used this procedure in the last year
For more information, read Private renting rent increases.
What happens at the end of a Tenancy Agreement?
When a fixed-term tenancy ends, a residential tenancy will usually be automatically converted into a periodic tenancy (or ‘rolling tenancy’), unless:
a legitimate eviction notice (usually a Section 21 notice) is served to end the tenancy. For more information on how to legally use a section 21 notice, read Repossessing a property - section 21 notices
a new (eg fixed-term) Tenancy Agreement is agreed on between the landlord and tenant(s), or
the parties agree to end the tenancy - a notice period may be required if specified in the Tenancy Agreement, for example, a tenant may be required to give the landlord 2 months’ notice that they want to leave
If none of the above happens to end the tenancy, it may be converted into one of two types of periodic tenancy:
a contractual periodic tenancy - your Tenancy Agreement may state that, at the end of the fixed-term, a periodic tenancy will arise. This will create a contractual periodic tenancy. This will effectively be a continuation of the original tenancy and the same terms will apply (including, if present, the rent review clause)
a statutory periodic tenancy - if your Tenancy Agreement doesn’t provide otherwise (eg that a contractual periodic tenancy will arise), at the end of the fixed-term a statutory periodic tenancy (AST) will arise automatically. This will have the same terms as the original tenancy except for any terms on:
the landlord’s ability to ending the tenancy early
Periodic tenancies are essentially a series of consecutive mini tenancies of a certain period. The ‘period’ of your periodic tenancy depends on what your Tenancy Agreement sets out, or if your document is silent on the matter, how often rent is paid. The period of a periodic tenancy affects how much notice must be given to end the tenancy.
Can I end a Tenancy Agreement early?
Tenants generally cannot end the Agreement before the end of the tenancy’s term unless there is a break clause in the Tenancy Agreement, which is a term that allows a party to end the Tenancy Agreement after a certain amount of time by providing a specified amount of notice. This Tenancy Agreement allows you to specify if (and how) the tenant, the landlord, or both parties can end the tenancy early using a break clause.
The tenancy can also be ended early if both parties agree to end it. This is called ‘surrendering’ a tenancy.
The landlord can end the Tenancy Agreement early by using a break clause in the Tenancy Agreement, if present, or by using a Section 8 eviction notice. A section 8 notice can only be used if one of the ‘grounds for possession’ are met (eg if the tenant has damaged the property or is in significant rent arrears). For more information, read Repossessing property - section 8 notices.
For more information, read Ending your tenancy early.
Does this Tenancy Agreement cover the ban on tenant fees?
The Tenant Fees Act 2019 prohibits landlords from charging tenants fees that are not of a type specifically allowed by the act (eg rent, deposits, or fines for lost keys). This Tenancy Agreement template adheres to the Act by excluding fees prohibited under the Act, whilst allowing for certain damages to be recoverable by the landlord. For more information, read Tenant fees.