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Tenancy agreement know-how for students

The tenancy agreement is there to protect both you and your landlord and it’s important to remember that, once signed, it is a legally binding contract. Here is our guide to some of the key points of the agreement. Please note, this is an overview and not an exhaustive list of things to consider.

Read and understand your contract. Once you have been provided with the contract, you have 24 hours to check it. If you can, ask your Student Union or Citizens Advice for help, especially if you are unsure about something.

The agreement should include, as a minimum;

  • Your landlord’s name and address (even if the property is let through an agency).
  • Details of the letting agent, if applicable.
  • The rent amount, when it is due, the length of the tenancy and how to end the tenancy.
  • Details of the Tenant Deposit Scheme into which your deposit will be placed.
  • Information about what, if any, other bills the rent covers.

If you are unsure about anything, such as who is responsible for repairs, ask for it to be written into the contract.

Guarantor liability – this should be limited to rent arrears only. Ask your guarantor to read the agreement to understand their obligations, before you sign the contract. If you don’t have a suitable guarantor you may be able to negotiate with your landlord. Speak to your Student Union for advice.

Joint tenancy agreements – watch out for this. If your agreement is a joint one then you are all equally liable for the rent and the damage. If one tenant doesn’t pay then you and your housemates would have to pay their share. If you know the other tenants then you may be happy with this but if you are new to renting and the tenants are unknown then you can ask for an individual contract.

Before signing your contract, ensure that you have seen the gas certification, Energy Performance Certificate and, if applicable, the House of Multiple Occupancy licence.