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Tenant tips: What to look out for in a tenancy agreement

Well this is exciting!

You’ve found a property you love, the monthly rent is affordable and there’s enough room for you AND all your belongings. You’re so happy you’ve already mentally packed and moved out.

However, now the agent or landlord wants you to sign a load of paperwork. It looks lengthy, confusing and boring and you’re tempted to just skim read the first couple of pages and sign it anyway.

HOLD IT THERE.

This is your tenancy agreement - a legally binding contract that contains all the most important details about your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. It’s vitally important you read, understand and agree to all points before you sign.

Here’s some of the most important points to look out for:

Type of contract
The most common kind of contract is an assured short hold tenancy (AST) and most tenancies are automatically this type. Other tenancies include excluded tenancies, assured tenancies and regulated tenancies.

Start and end date
The period of the contract (fixed term). This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to move out by the end date. If you decide to stay and want another fixed term tenancy then a new contract will need to be drawn up, alternatively the contract may automatically roll into a statutory periodic agreement otherwise known as a rolling contract, meaning your obligations remain the same as stated on your original agreement.

Every tenants name is listed, along with the landlord’s details
Make sure the name of every person responsible for paying the rent is listed within the contract along with the landlord’s full name and contact address or the details of the letting agent managing the property.

Rent amount and who is liable to pay it
Especially important to check this if you negotiated a lower monthly rent prior to agreeing the tenancy.

Does it allow for general wear and tear?
You should always aim to leave a property in the same condition it was when you moved in, allowing for normal wear and tear. Your inventory should state the condition of the walls, carpet, paintwork etc when you move in.

Is a deposit protection scheme (DPS) in place?
If you’re renting a property on an assured shorthold tenancy it is law that your deposit must be placed in a tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme within 30 days of receiving it.

This means you’ll get your deposit back, as long as you:

  • Meet the terms of your tenancy agreement
  • Don’t damage the property
  • Pay the rent and bills on time

Guarantors
The name of any guarantors along with the terms of their responsibility should be stated in either the tenancy agreement or a separate guarantor agreement. The obligations of a guarantor usually cover paying the rent on time and not causing any damage to the property.

Ending the tenancy
Your tenancy agreement should state how much notice you need to give your landlord before you leave the property. You’re responsible for paying rent until your tenancy expires (this applies to both fixed and periodic contracts). The only exceptions are if you have agreed with the landlord that you can leave early or you have a break-clause in your agreement.

 

At Progressive Lets we take time to make sure tenants (and landlords) fully understand all aspects of the tenancy agreement before signing, and will happily answer any questions relating to any aspect of the contract.

Take a look at our available properties and experience the Progressive Lets difference > https://www.progressivelets.co.uk/property/