Under the 1996 Housing Act, tenants have the right to request the terms of the letting to be put in writing by the landlord, showing the date the letting commenced, the rent, the date the rent is to be paid and the date the letting terminates.
The Act also states that all tenancy agreements are regarded as assured shorthold tenancies unless they specify that they are assured tenancy agreements. A solicitor should draw up this agreement.
As most students want to live as a group in a property, landlords often ask them to sign a joint tenancy. This means that the students are jointly and severally liable for the rent for the house. If one student does not pay, the remaining tenants can be approached for the outstanding rent.
The Tenancy Agreement should: -
- Contain no contractual terms in conflict with any statutory or common law entitlement of the tenant
- Contain clear guidance on the purpose of any deposit taken
- Clearly state the rent, date, amounts and method of payment
- Show the name and address of the owner/agent
Normally students are committed to pay the rent for the length of the agreement. However, if a student withdraws from the course (this does not happen very often with second and third year students), landlords are asked to be flexible with the rent, as the student who withdraws will no longer be in receipt of a student income.