A tenancy agreement is a contract outlining the parties involved, the term, rental and deposit amounts & additional tenancy conditions agreed between the landlord and tenant.
A tenancy agreement is one of the most important documents when letting a property however, be careful as you can also create an agreement between two parties verbally! If you are ever talking to a Tenant or communicating in writing, you should always make reference to the term "Subject to Contract".
There are currently 4 kinds of residential tenancies:
- The Protected (Rent Act) Tenancy - tenancies entered into before 15 January 1989.
- The Assured Tenancy - introduced by the Housing Act 1988.
- The Assured Shorthold Tenancy - introduced in 1988 but amended by the 1996 Housing Act.
- The Company Let – where it is a company rather than an individual who will sign the Contract.
Most new tenancies are created as an Assured Shorthold, unless the tenant previously had a tenancy on the same property which gives him more security as in the case of an Assured Tenancy.
Definition - The Assured Shorthold can only be terminated by a Court Order following the legal procedure covered in Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988
All new tenancies since 28 February 1997 are automatically Assured Shorthold, unless the agreement has specified an Assured Tenancy.
Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST) granted after 29th February 1997 can be terminated by using the legal procedure covered in Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 or Section 21 of the same Act providing the fixed term or the first six months (whichever is the later) of the tenancy has passed by the date that the landlord has asked for the property to be surrendered.
Only a Court Order can enforce either of these Notices and only a court appointed Bailiff can enforce a Court Order.
Therefore, in this instance, you will be creating an AST which is usually for a period of 6 months to a maximum of 3 years – anything longer than 3 years should be drawn up by a solicitor as a deed.