Do I Need A Tenancy Agreement Form?


Image showing houses rented with a tenancy agreement form
Find out if you need a tenancy agreement for, to rent out your house and what happens if you don’t have a rental contract. Photo © Oast House Archive (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Do I Need A Tenancy Agreement Form To Rent Out My Property?


Although having a tenancy agreement form is not required by law in England and Wales, it is generally seen as unwise to rent out a property without a legal rental contract in place. A tenancy agreement ensures that both the landlord and the tenants are aware of the payment and rental terms, notice periods and responsibilities with regard to the property.

By signing a tenancy agreement form the landlord and tenants are agreeing to the terms of the written contract. Should legal action become necessary by either party, the agreed terms are clear on the rental contract.


What Is A Tenancy Agreement?


A tenancy agreement form contains all the specifics of the rental contract. It will include the name, address and contact details of the landlord, the length of the tenancy, the amount of rent, the security deposit and the date that the rent is due.

A comprehensive rental agreement will also include extra terms and conditions that are specific to the tenancy. Typically, a first rate agreement will cover details of who is responsible for minor repairs, whether smoking or pets are allowed and whether the property may be sublet.

This type of tenancy agreement is indispensable as it clearly sets out the contractual obligations of the landlord and tenant.

Images showing houses rented out to tenants
It is generally considered unwise to rent a property without a valid tenancy agreement in place. Photo © Richard Dorrell (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Is A Tenancy Agreement Required By Law?

Renting property out as a landlord?
Get your TENANCY AGREEMENT TEMPLATE
Includes many useful landlord documents for renting property in England and Wales

Under current legislation in England and Wales there is no legal requirement for either landlord or tenant to sign a written rental contract. Once a payment of rent has been accepted by the landlord, any previous verbal agreement becomes legally binding.

Many tenants and landlords find that the ambiguity that arises from a verbal contract leaves them vulnerable to future problems. These problems might be related to responsibility about who pays the bills or for minor repairs and can also cause difficulties regarding the payment of rent.

As a landlord or tenant it is in your best interests to feel comfortable in the relationship and a written tenancy agreement is the best way to ensure the rights of each party. Look for a contract that includes statutory rights as well as implied rights such as available access to the property.

Tenancy Agreement Form FAQ

Do I Need A Tenancy Agreement Form By Law?

If you are renting a property to tenants in England or Wales a signed tenancy agreement is not a legal requirement but is strongly advised. Landlords in Northern Ireland must have a legal tenancy in place with their tenant. In Scotland landlords are required by law to register as a landlord as well as have a signed tenancy agreement.

Should I Rent Out My Property Without A Tenancy Agreement?

You are within your legal rights to rent out a property in England and Wales without a tenancy agreement. However, in order to avoid disputes about the terms of the tenancy, best advice is to draw up a written rental contract which stipulates the obligation undertaken by both sides.

Is A Tenancy Agreement Legally Binding?

As soon as a landlord and tenant have signed a tenancy agreement it becomes a legally binding contract. The contract will specify when the tenant may move into the property, the amount of rent and when it becomes due. It is imperative to read and understand all the conditions and clauses in a tenancy agreement before it is signed.


Images showing flats rented to tenants
Make sure a legal rental contract is in effect no matter what kind of property you are reanting to tenants. Photo © Richard Dorrell (cc-by-sa/2.0)

What Protection Does A Tenancy Agreement Give?


A tenancy agreement form may be signed for a fixed term or for a periodic tenancy. With a fixed term tenancy you can ask your tenants to move out at the end date. In a periodic tenancy agreement the notice period required will be written into the contract.

An agreement also specifies that a landlord can have access to their property as long as they give notice. If a tenant withholds rent, causes severe damage or acts in an anti-social manner you have the right to proceed with an eviction notice.

Tenants also get protections from a written contract and these include the right to a safe environment, swift attention to structural repairs and the right to live peacefully without any harassment.

Additional Landlord Resources:

Landlord insurance
How to buy to let
How to be a private landlord
How to do a tenant background check

What Happens If I Have No Tenancy Agreement Form?

Both landlord and tenant are within their legal rights to make a verbal agreement regarding a tenancy but there could be consequences that make the future relationship challenging. If there is no written contract it is difficult to prove the exact terms of the agreement and this could apply to the amount of rent, the due date and the agreed length of the tenancy.

A verbal agreement binds a landlord to their statutory duties. However, if there is no tenancy agreement a landlord cannot make deductions from the deposit to redecorate a property that has been left in a bad condition or to make repairs to any damage to fixtures and fittings.

A written tenancy agreement provides a set date when the tenancy ends or the notice required to end a tenancy.

Without these assurances, a landlord must go to court to evict an unsatisfactory tenant. Both parties will benefit greatly from a written rental contract which sets out rights and responsibilities.

Are My Rights As A Landlord Affected By A Tenancy Agreement?


Your rights as a landlord are enhanced by having a written agreement with a tenant. If you have agreed a periodic tenancy, you may increase the rent once a year. For a fixed term tenancy there must be no increase in the rent until the tenancy comes to an end. The agreement also covers your right as a landlord to access your property in order to effect repairs.

Notice of a visit can be stipulated in the contract and this is usually 24 or 48 hours unless an emergency arises. Should a tenant leave rubbish behind at the end of a tenancy you can deduct the removal costs from their deposit.

A written agreement sets out rights and obligations for both landlord and tenant and gives confidence to both parties that disputes can be avoided.

Conclusion: Is A Tenancy Agreement Necessary?

Whilst not required by law, a written rental contract sets out the agreed terms and conditions of a tenancy whether it is for a fixed term or a periodic tenancy. The contract provides certainty for both landlord and tenant about details of the rent, payment dates and the rights and responsibilities on both sides.

Back to UK Landlord Advice


Copy link
Powered by Social Snap