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Tenancy agreements

It is good practice to have a written tenancy agreement. A tenancy agreement clarifies the terms and conditions of the letting and avoids future misunderstandings over who is responsible for certain bills.  Also, you may forget to discuss certain issues, such as whether pets are allowed or whether a tenant is permitted to sub-let, so drawing up a written agreement ensures nothing is overlooked.  The two most common types of tenancy are the Assured Tenancy and the Assured Shorthold Tenancy - for further advice about these and other types of tenancies, contact Housing Services.  If a tenant breaches the terms of the tenancy agreement, the landlord could require possession of the property.

Deposits

Most landlords of self-contained accommodation charge a damage deposit equivalent to one month’s rent, together with a month’s rent in advance. With effect from April 2007 there are very specific rules about the holding of damage deposits that must be adhered to for any new written agreement. These are regulated under the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme (TDPS).

Any landlord that accepts money by way of a deposit must safe guard that deposit in either one or two ways, either under the Custodial Scheme or an Insurance Based Scheme and advise their tenant of which scheme is being used within 14 days.

There are 3 deposit schemes operating in England and Wales. The three schemes are:

Further details of these schemes can be obtained from Housing Services.

Sometimes a prospective tenant may find it difficult to raise a lump sum as a deposit or rent in advance. The landlord could consider allowing the tenant to pay the deposit, by instalments, over an agreed period of time - details of such a method of payment should be included in the tenancy agreement.

Inventory

When renting a property, we strongly advise drawing up an inventory (even if the property is unfurnished).  An inventory is a list of all equipment and furniture provided with the accommodation, as this will help avoid disputes involving the condition of the property and the return of deposits.  Photographs are an excellent way to record the condition of a property, especially if the time and date is shown on the image. 

Safety and Maintenance

A landlord must maintain the property in a safe condition and a good state of repair, and ensure the safety of the gas and electrical supply/appliances.  Regular checks may therefore be made by the landlord (or their agents) to inspect the property, but the landlord should provide the tenant with written notice (of at least 2 days, but ideally 7 days). A property is an investment, and maintaining it in good order is part of being a responsible landlord - but some tenants fear that asking their landlord for repairs or improvements will lead to huge rent increases or being asked to leave the property.  In most cases, the Council will only investigate housing complaints when there is a serious risk to health or safety.

Ending a tenancy

A tenancy will continue until it is ended properly - either by the tenant or by the landlord. This can happen in one of three ways:

1. Agreement to surrender (a mutual agreement)
2. Notice from the tenant
3. Notice requiring possession

A notice must be in the ‘prescribed form’ required by law, and must contain certain information: defects in the content or timing of a notice will make it invalid.  For further advice about ending a tenancy, contact Housing Services.

Finding a tenant

We now offer private landlords the opportunity to advertise their properties each week alongside affordable properties, so 4,000 applicants on the Housing Register who are actively seeking accommodation will see your advert - for more information on Your Choice Your Home, visit Finding a home.

The Council will provide advice to landlords advertising their properties through Your Choice Your Home scheme on the following as part of the service;

  • Tenancy agreements including rights and responsibilities
  • Rent levels and Local Housing Allowance
  • Managing the property
  • Repairs and maintenance
  • Supporting the tenant Tenancy agreements including rights and responsibilities
  • Rent levels and Local Housing Allowance
  • Managing the property
  • Repairs and maintenance
  • Supporting the tenant
  • Evicting the tenant
  • Insurance and Tax

The cost for advertising a property is £79.31 (inc VAT). If you are unable to find a tenant the property can be re-advertised at no cost.  You will also receive a free Landlord’s Guide to Renting a Property, a useful reference for any landlord.

The Council will want to ensure that all properties advertised are in a lettable condition and will visit the property to assess its condition prior to agreeing to advertise. You will be advised of any work that needs to be done and will have to give an undertaking to do the work before agreement will be given to advertise the property.

Check your tenant's right to rent

You must check that a tenant or lodger can legally rent your residential property in England. Find out more on GOV.UK

The National Landlords Association (NLA) is the leading independent national organisation for private residential landlords.

  • a unified voice for private landlords throughout the UK
  • from large portfolio landlords to single-bedroom flats.
  • promoting and protecting members' interests to national and local government

For further information regarding the NLA please see the National Landlords Association website.


Last updated: 6th October 2017