Tenancy agreements - tenants

Last updated: 3 May 2018

If you're about to rent a home from a private landlord, you should first sign the tenancy agreement.

This is a document that lays out the terms of your tenancy and a set of rules that both you and your landlord should follow.

Your landlord must give you a tenancy agreement by law.

When you sign a tenancy agreement, check it to make sure:

  • it's for the address you're moving into
  • your landlord's contact details (or their letting agent's) are included
  • the rent in the agreement is correct, and whether you're expected to pay it monthly or weekly
  • it gives the reasons your landlord can take money off your deposit
  • it says what type of tenancy it is
  • if it's a renewal of a short assured or assured tenancy, that the length of the lease is what you agreed – normally 6 or 12 months

If the tenancy is a private residential tenancy there'll be no specified lease length. Private residential tenancies are open-ended and don't have an agreed end date until the tenant has given notice. The tenant can't give notice until after the tenancy has begun.

A tenancy agreement could also give information on:

  • whether the rent covers services (gas or electricity) and who's responsible for paying council tax (usually you)
  • the date the rent should be paid, and how it should be paid (such as cheque or direct debit)
  • the amount of deposit to be paid and in what circumstances it won't be returned
  • who should be responsible for repairing and decorating the property
  • whether any furniture is provided
  • how much notice you or your landlord have to give to end the lease
  • whether lodgers or subletting are allowed
  • any other terms, like whether you have to look after a garden, or whether you're allowed to keep a pet

Private residential tenancies

When you sign your tenancy agreement, you should be told that you're signing up to a 'private residential tenancy'.

You may hear about other types of tenancy, like assured, short assured or regulated. These stopped at the end of 2017 – all new tenancies are private residential ones.