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What is a tenancy agreement?
In the UK unless you can afford to own a home to live in, you are probably going to be renting a flat or a house. The person renting the property to you is known as the landlord. You as the person actually renting the property are known as the tenant.
The property could be privately owned or be social housing which is either owned by a council or a housing association.
It is very important that you have a tenancy agreement. It can be either written or verbal. The tenancy agreement is a legal document that allows you to live in the property. The most common type of tenancy is an assured shorthold tenancy.
The tenancy agreement should at least state:
- The name(s) of the tenants renting the property.
- The name and contact details of the landlord.
- The address of the property to be rented.
- The rent of the property.
Also, the tenancy will set out the conditions (rules) by which you are allowed to live in the property. Also, it will set out the obligations (responsibilities) of the landlord.
The main conditions of your tenancy will include
- The repairing and maintenance obligations of the landlord.
- The repairing and maintenance obligations of the tenant.
- When the rent is to be paid i.e. weekly or monthly.
- How the landlord is allowed to legally evict a tenant.
- How much notice a tenant has to give, if wants to end the tenancy.
- The tenant not to create a nuisance or annoyance.
There may also be rules or restrictions for the tenant such as:
- Not to sublet the property.
- Whether you are allowed to have pets.
- If you are allowed to change the internal decorations.
- If you are allowed to smoke in the property.
If a landlord wants to evict you from a tenancy, the correct legal procedures need to be followed. This means the landlord has to serve you with the correct legal notice when they want you to leave your tenancy. The type of notice depends on the type of tenancy you are living in at the time. The most common form of tenancy in the private sector is an assured shorthold tenancy. If it is this type of tenancy, then you can be served with either a Section 21 notice or a Section 8 notice.
A tenant is usually evicted from an assured shorthold tenancy via a Section 21 notice unless there are rent arrears. If there are rent arrears then a Section 8 notice is used.
A Section 21 Notice must give at least 2 months notice and is valid for 6 months from the date it is served. The landlord cannot serve you with a Section 21 notice during the first four months of your original tenancy. However, for renewal tenancies, the landlord can serve a Section 21 notice at any time, expiring after the fixed term.
The Section 21 Notice can only be served if the landlord has provided other relevant documents. These include: landlord gas safety certificate, energy performance certificate (EPC) and prescribed booklet 'How to rent: The checklist for renting in England'.
The landlord is also required to provide mandatory information stated by other legislation, including relevant tenancy deposit protection information.
The Section 21 Notice does not have to state why the landlord wants to evict you from the property. However, under the Deregulation Act 2015, a Section 21 Notice can be invalid if used as a retaliatory eviction.
Also, in Hastings and St Leonards, many properties have to be licensed so a landlord can rent them out to tenants. If Hastings Borough Council has stipulated that the landlord should have licensed the property and they have not done this, then the landlord cannot serve a Section 21 Notice.
Section 21 Notice process
For further information on landlord and tenant rights and obligations, you can go to our Landlord Advice Videos.
If you are concerned that your landlord wants to evict you from your tenancy then you must start looking for other housing as soon as possible to prevent becoming homeless.
Also, you may need to seek advice and assistance from Hastings Borough Council as soon as possible.
If you are having housing issues and need to book an appointment, then you can find more information on our housing pages.
You will then be accessed under the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 (HRA)
Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 process
For an alternative solution in the longer term:
For information on how to apply for social housing and Sussex Homemove scheme then go to our social housing pages.