Tenancy Agreements

Before you sign your contract, make sure you get it checked. Student Advice offer a free contract checking service where we will check your housing contract for free, and offer any advice on clauses that need to be looked at further or amended. All you have to do is book an appointment with us. 

A point of consideration before signing the tenancy agreement is, do you think you will be able to live with your chosen group of people? Signing a tenancy agreement is not just a legal contract to say that you will pay rent and live in a house, but it is also an agreement that you will live with these people for an agreed period. A very common issue resulting in students seeking early release from housing contracts is falling out with housemates. It is therefore a good idea to make sure you get to know everyone properly before committing to this with them.

Things to check

- Are all the names correct and present on the contract
- Are all of the amounts (rent, deposits etc) correct and as you agreed.
- Who manages the property – the Letting Agent or Landlord.
- When can you move in to the property?
- If you are paying summer rent, are you allowed to access the property?
- Are bills included? If so which ones?
- If you have asked for any special clauses to be added, have they been added?
- Break Clauses – this means that after a certain period of the tenancy either party can give notice to terminate the agreement early. If you think your tenancy contains one of these, you may wish to get advice.

Contact details

Some landlords have a managing agent to deal with queries and repairs at their property.  However, the contract is with the landlord, who has legal obligations and responsibilities.Your contract should provide an address for tenants to contact about their tenancy.  This must be an address in England or Wales.

If you do not have direct contact with your landlord it can be useful to have his/her full details. You can find out the landlord's name and address by making a written request to the person who last collected rent, pointing out your right to this information under Section 1 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. You should keep a copy of the letter, and send it by recorded delivery. The law says that the information should be provided within 21 days of the request. If you find that you make this request and the agent refuses to give you the contact information, you may wish to remind them of their legal obligations to provide this. Contact Student Advice for more information.

Landlord's access to property

You have a right to live in the property as your home. The landlord should ask your permission before he or she enters the premises and should give you 24 hours' written notice of an inspection or to carry out repairs (or to show prospective tenants around, if your contract gives permission for viewings during the contract). This should also be at reasonable times for you. Most contracts will state that the tenant shall have ‘quiet enjoyment of the property’. This can be interpreted to mean that you shall have full uninterrupted use of the property during your tenancy, apart from such times where interruptions are agreed or expected. You may for example expect the landlord or agent to attend the property to deal with disrepair; this should be discussed before they attend. If they are attending without notice on regular occasions, this could be a contractual breach.

If your landlord claims you have broken a term of the tenancy and asks you to leave, contact Student Advice urgently.  All landlords have to follow special legal procedures in order to evict tenants (even if the fixed period of the tenancy has ended).   The process depends on the type of tenancy you have and other factors, so contact Student Advice.

Harassment

If the landlord is entering the accommodation either without notice, or so often and at such times that the tenant no longer feels secure in their own home, this could be interpreted as a form of harassment.  Other forms of harassment include threatening or abusive behaviour. Harassment is a criminal offence and a breach of the tenant’s rights under a tenancy contract. If you have concerns or questions about your tenacy agreement please contact Student Advice.

Student Advice offer a free contract checking service where we will check your housing contract for free, and offer any advice on clauses that need to be looked at further or amended.
The landlord should ask your permission before he or she enters the premises and should give you 24 hours' written notice of an inspection or to carry out repairs.

Getting out of a Tenancy Agreement

Once you have signed a tenancy agreement you are bound to it. It is very difficult to get out of it before the end of the term agreed on the contract. For most students this will be a 12 month fixed term period. If you want to leave the tenancy early, the easiest and usually most manageable way of doing this is by finding a replacement tenant to take your place. You will be liable for rent until another person takes your place.

There are occasions where if there are significant breaches of the contract, the tenancy can be terminated early. From a landlords perspective, most of these conditions are outlined in your tenancy agreement and if you fail to adhere to adhere to these, the landlord may be evicted. If the landlord fails to uphold their obligations, for example if there are serious health and safety concerns and the property is not fit for habitation, the tenancy agreement can be terminated early on behalf of the tenant.