Rental properties are all over the place here in the UK. Because of high property prices in the capital cities and the countryside, more people (especially the younger chaps) are choosing to shack up in a rental flat for the meantime.
If you’re going to rent for the first time, it’s important to know what you’re getting into before you sign that lease contract. This is important so you won’t end up on the losing side of the deal!
Remember that you also have rights as a tenant, and just because your landlord allows you to live in his property doesn’t mean he gets to be the boss of you.
To begin with, there are 4 types of tenancies recognised in the UK: assured short holds, excluded, assured, and regulated.
Assured short hold tenancies are the most common because they are applied to private rental properties being used as the principal residence of the tenants. Excluded tenancies or licenses is a setup where a tenant and a landlord live in the same house. Assured tenancies are lease agreements which began on 15 January 1989 or until 27 February 1997, while Regulated tenancies began before 15 January 1989.
Whatever tenancy you may be experiencing, here are the things which you should see in your tenancy agreement:
- the names of the tenant (you) and your landlord;
- complete address of the property;
- when the lease agreement starts and ends;
- the rental price and the payment terms agreed upon;
- a breakdown of any bills that the tenant would be responsible for;
- how the contract can be renewed or extended;
- the deposit price and how it can be protected; and
- obligations of both tenant and landlord.
Know that most of the time, landlords use standardised contracts for all their tenancy agreements, especially when he or she are running more than 1 rental property.
Hence, to make their contracts more fool proof, some tenants ask their landlords to also include provisions on early termination, who will be responsible for minor repairs around the house, and if the property could be sublet to another person or not.
After drafting a contract, it’s important to make sure that none of the agreements written on the contract are unfair and not against existing laws. Otherwise, it may be invalidated. In addition, never, ever forget to leave out any provisions which may dicriminate against you.
Contracts are made to protect your rights as a tenant and not to give the landlord more power over you.
In case this is the first time you’re hearing about landlord discrimination, this happens when your lease contract contains provisions which restrict your lease because of: age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, race, or being pregnant or having a baby. So read your contracts thoroughly and speak up if your read any provisions like these!
The things I’ve shared in this post are just some of the basics in tenancy agreements, if you want to learn more on what to include and exclude then I suggest reading up on existing UK property laws.