Never feel pressured to sign a tenancy agreement! It is a legally-binding contract from the moment you sign it.
Most privately rented tenancies are Assured Shorthold Tenancies. These tenancy agreements can use either very simple or very complex legal language. They are all equally legally binding.
You do not need to have a written tenancy agreement to have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. It is possible to establish an Assured Shorthold Tenancy by simply moving in and paying the rent. You must make sure you think about it carefully before you decide to move in.
Before you sign anything here are a few things to consider:
- Read the agreement, make sure you understand it. If you don’t understand it, don’t sign it and get some advice. Common problems with tenancy agreements
- Talk it through with all the parties involved, your potential housemates, your parents and guarantors (if you have a guarantor). Remember the tenancy agreement is legally binding once you have signed it and it will affect ALL of you. If one of your housemates fails to pay their portion of the rent and you have a Joint tenancy agreement you will be liable for their share too. If you have a guarantor this will probably include them as well. This will also apply if there is any damage caused; this may affect your deposit regardless of who caused the damage.
- Make sure you understand what you have to pay and when. If your tenancy starts in August, you will need to have the money available. Remember this will be before you get your student funding for the next year and you may need to plan for this now.
- How much is the deposit? When do you have to pay it? How is it being protected? What do you need to do if at the end of the tenancy there is a disagreement about the deposit?
- Who is going to pay the bills, you or your landlord? If your landlord is going to pay the bills are there any restrictions? What about a TV licence?
- Both you and your landlord have rights and responsibilities, make sure you understand them.
- If your landlord promises something or tells you any information about the property, get it in writing.