Tenancy agreements

Private Rent and Tenancies

A tenancy agreement is a legal agreement in writing that sets out the rights and responsibilities of both landlord and tenant. It will contain details such as the length of the agreement, the rent payable, and what is and isn’t allowed in the property, such as pets.

Types of Tenancy Agreement

There are different types of tenancy agreement. Some provide the tenant with more rights than others, and most people have one of three types:

Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)

The AST is one of the most common in the private rented sector. If your tenancy began, or was agreed, on or after 28 February 1997, it is likely to be an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. Tenancies starting, or agreed, before that date but after 15 January 1989, are more likely to be Assured Tenancies.

However, it is important to know that if you are not an Assured or an Assured Shorthold Tenant as your rights may be different.

  • if you live with your landlord as a lodger and share living accommodation, this maybe known as a Non-Excluded Tenancy or Licence
  • if you landlord has divided a property into flats and the tenant occupies a different flat from the landlord, this maybe known as an Excluded Tenancy or Licence
  • if you rent a property where the combined rent is over £25,000 per year, this is known a as a Bare Contractual Tenancy

Bare Contractual Tenancies tend to occur in large households where many people will occupy a property, for example a student household. It only takes five people paying £100 a week each in rent for the annual rent to be above £25,000 a year. You should check to see how your circumstances will define your tenancy agreement.

Assured Tenancy

This type of tenancy agreement is usually issued by a housing trust or housing association. They offer some security in that as long as you do not break the terms of the tenancy agreement you may continue to live in the property.

Regulated (or ‘protected’ tenancy)

If you moved into the property before 15th January 1989, you may have a Regulated or Protected Tenancy. This type of tenancy offers the most protection against rent increases or eviction.

The type of tenancy you have depends on when it was taken out. More details can be found in booklets published by the Department for Communities and Local Government:

  • Assured and Assured Shorthold Tenancies: A Guide for Tenants
  • Regulated Tenancies
  • Letting Rooms in Your Home: A Guide for Resident Landlords

View a sample of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, below.