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Tenancy Agreements

Occupiers of residential property are either owners, licencees, tenants or trespassers.

  • Owners are occupiers who own the property either outright or with the aid of a mortgage or some other form funding.
  • Licencees are generally occupiers with permission who do not have exclusive possession of the property, such as lodgers.
  • Tenants are occupiers with exclusive possession for a period of time in return for a rent. This is known as a fixed-term tenancy. At the end of the fixed-term, the tenant can vacate, the landlord can seek possession or the tenancy can be allowed to continue. Where the tenancy continues and no new agreement is signed this is known as a periodic tenancy. The period of a periodic tenancy is based upon when the rent is payable, i.e. weekly, monthly etc... A periodic tenancy can continue indefinitely. The terms of the tenancy are the same as the original fixed-term tenancy, but without the fixed term.
  • Trespassers are occupiers without permission.

For more information on tenancies, please see below.

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More about Tenancies

Housing Act 1988

Under the Housing Act 1988 residential tenants of private landlords are either assured tenants or assured shorthold tenants. These are very similar, however the main difference is that an assured shorthold tenancy can be brought to an end by giving at least 2 months notice. The notice must be served after the commencement of the tenancy and cannot expire during the fixed term and must end at the end of a period of the tenancy. The fixed term has to be for at least 6 months and there must be no general right to terminate the tenancy within 6 months of the beginning of the tenancy. Almost all private residential tenancy agreements nowadays are assured shorthold tenancies. They provide no long-term security for the tenant and are subject to minimal rent control, which is why landlords generally like them.

Access to the Property

Under a tenancy, the tenant(s) acquire an interest in the land and in many respects is treated as the owner of the property during the tenancy. Entry onto the property by the landlord or their agent without permission is a trespass, even if it would be a breach of the tenancy agreement for the tenant to refuse, and may amount to harassment of the tenant and could lead to the landlord being sued. This is the case even if the tenant has not paid their rent or has otherwise breached the tenancy agreement. Also, unless the tenant voluntarily vacates the property, the landlord must recover possession through the courts using the most relevant grounds to their situation.

Tenants Rights

Tenants' rights are protected under the Housing Act 1988 and/or the Housing Act 1996. This seeks to set a balance between respecting the position of the landlord while protecting the tenant from unscrupulous landlords. However, much of the legislation does not apply if the property is let to a company as opposed to an individual or individuals.

Joint Tenancy

Where more than one tenant signs the tenancy agreement they are normally jointly and severally liable for the rent and any breach of the tenancy. This means the landlord can sue any or all of them in the event of breach.

Succession Rights

If a tenant dies then the tenancy may pass to a joint tenant. Certain tenancies carry succession rights, which mean the tenancy will pass to their spouse or a member of their family.

Tenancy v Licences

Tenancies must be distinguished from licences. Licensees have much fewer legal rights and can often be evicted without a court order. A classic example is a lodger.

Need help writing a tenancy agreement, or a tenancy dispute, contact us on 01935 823883