Please note that, unless otherwise stated, the contents of this page apply only to properties covered by the law of England and Wales, and is provided for general guidance only. Whilst every care is taken in compiling the answers Simply Rent cannot assume any legal responsibility for any inaccuracies, or for any loss or damage resulting from such inaccuracies, and readers should seek professional legal advice if necessary.
This should be clear from the written agreement you have with your Landlord or agent. If you do not have a written agreement then the type of tenancy you have will be determined by the law.
If your tenancy commenced on or after 15 January 1989 your tenancy will almost certainly be one of the following:
There is only moderate control over the rent which the Landlord can charge.
Assured Shorthold Tenants have considerable security of tenure for an initial period, which will be six months unless a longer period is specified in the tenancy agreement, after which the Landlord has an absolute right to recover possession at two months notice. The Landlord can also recover possession if any of the grounds applicable to Assured Tenancies apply. There is only moderate control over the rent which the Landlord can charge.
Section 19A of the Housing Act was introduced by the Housing Act 1996. New Assured Shorthold Tenancies are no longer regulated by Section 20 of the Housing Act 1988 although existing Assured Shorthold Tenancies will continue in operation.
Under Section 19A all new Assured Tenancies are assumed to be Assured Shorthold Tenancies unless they fall within one of the listed exceptions (one of which is that both parties agree it should not be an Assured Shorthold). The requirement to serve a Notice of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (normally called a Section 20 Notice) no longer exists, and there is no minimum length of the initial fixed term, although there are significant restrictions on the Landlord's right to possession within the first 6 months.A Periodic Tenancy is a tenancy that is automatically renewed each "period" (normally each month) until either the Tenant or the Landlord does something to end it. Periodic tenancies are usually one of the following:
Statutory Periodic Tenancies
- These tenancies usually come about when the fixed terms of Assured and Assured Shorthold tenancies come to an end but the Tenant stays on ("holds over") with the Landlord's consent. The terms of the tenancy remain the same. In the case of a periodic tenancy following on from an Assured Shorthold Tenancy the Landlord and the Tenant both have the additional right to end the tenancy by giving the required amount of notice
Contractual Periodic Tenancies
- These tenancies usually come about when an Assured or Assured Shorthold tenancy is created with no initial fixed term. The tenancy runs on indefinitely until either the Landlord or the Tenant gives the required notice to the other (the Landlord can only end the tenancy in the first 6 months if he has grounds to do so.)
If the property is transferred from one Landlord to another (eg by sale gift or death) the licence is not binding on the new owner. On the ending of a licence the Landlord has an absolute right to possession.
5.1 Does my Landlord have to give me a written agreement?No. If your tenancy is an Assured or Assured Shorthold Tenancy you can, however, request a written agreement once the tenancy has started.
5.2 Does my Landlord have to confirm any details in writing?If your tenancy is an Assured or Assured Shorthold Tenancy you can require the Landlord to confirm certain details of the tenancy in writing. You should make your request to the Landlord in writing, and he/she must respond within 28 days. The details which the Landlord must confirm in writing are:
- the date the tenancy began
- the amount of rent payable, and any rent review arrangements
- the dates on which the rent must be paid
- the length of any fixed term which has been agreed
On the last day of the fixed term (if any) you can leave the property, whether or not you have told the Landlord you intend to do so. However, you should give the Landlord as much notice as possible as a courtesy, and in order to avoid any bad feelings. Once the fixed term (if any) has ended the tenancy will become a periodic tenancy if you remain in the property and the Landlord does not agree a brand new tenancy with you. In this case you can end the tenancy by giving the Landlord one month's notice in writing (if the rent is paid monthly) or 4 weeks notice (if the rent is paid weekly). If your tenancy is a Company Let you cannot end it early unless the Landlord agrees. If your tenancy is a Protected or Regulated tenancy the method by which you can end it will be specified in the lease.
6.1 What is a break clause?A break clause in a lease or tenancy agreement allows either the Landlord or the Tenant (or both) to terminate a lease even if it has not run its full length.
Note: the rules for Tenancy Deposits changed on 1 April 2007; deposits taken and held by landlords and their agents in respect of tenancies which commenced on or after 1 April 2007 are regulated by law.
Once you have handed back your property in a satisfactory condition your Landlord (or the Agent) should return your deposit, providing that the rent is up to date. Your deposit should be returned by the deadline specified in the Tenancy Agreement (or if no deadline is specified within a reasonable time of you vacating the property - say 14 days).
Reasons why a Landlord or Agent may not refund your deposit are:
7.1 How can I make sure I will get my deposit back?The best way to ensure that you will get your deposit back is to have a good relationship with your Landlord. Most Landlord's will overlook small problems with a Tenant who has been friendly, helpful and co-operative during the tenancy.
Other things which will help are:
- make sure you have a written record ("Inventory") of the contents of the property, and the condition of the property and the contents, when you moved in
- make sure you get a receipt when you hand it over
- make sure you get a written statement (probably in the Tenancy Agreement) of what the deposit is for, what the Landlord can do with it, and when you are entitled to get it back
- if possible try to arrange for the deposit to be held by a neutral person (a reputable Agent holding your deposit as "stakeholder" should be ok; the Agent will not be able to hand the deposit to the Landlord without your consent - or to you without the Landlord's consent)
- make sure you thoroughly clean the property and repair any damage before you leave; the Landlord is not obliged to let you back into the property to put things right, and will usually get contractors to do any cleaning or repairs which you should have done (at your expense)
7.2 My Landlord won't refund my deposit - what can I do?
First of all you should find out why he/she will not refund your deposit, and do something about it if you agree that it is your responsibility.
If your tenancy commenced (or was renewed) after 1 April 2007 you should read the documents that you should have been given when (or soon after) you paid the deposit - these will explain the procedure for raising a dispute with the deposit protection scheme with which your deposit is registered. If you were not given any documents relating to the protection of your deposit you should ask your Landlord (or Agent) which scheme your deposit is registered with and then contact that scheme.
If your tenancy commenced before 1 April 2007 and has not been renewed since then if you agree that some of the deposit should be held by the Landlord say so straight away; you should then get the rest back promptly. If you can't reach agreement with the Landlord or Agent you should write to them, demanding the return of your deposit (or the part of your deposit which you think they should return) within 14 days, making clear that you will put in a claim to the local County Court if you do not receive the payment by the deadline. If you do not receive your deposit by the deadline you should then consider making a claim via the County Court. You should remember that your deposit belongs to you; providing you can prove that you paid the deposit in the first place it will be for the Landlord or Agent to convince the Court that it should not be returned. Making a claim via the County Court is easy and relatively quick and cheap. You will not need to employ a solicitor. You get form "N1" and the associated notes from your local County Court, fill it in (which you will be able to do on the spot), and hand it in with the appropriate fee (eg £50 for a claim of £500 - the fee is added to the claim and you get it back from the Landlord if you win). The counter staff at the Court, or your local Citizen's Advice Bureau, will help you fill it in if you ask.
The Landlord should always take care not to interfere with the Tenant's right to peaceably occupy the premises without interference, and should give notice of his/her intention to enter the property. Normally the Landlord should give you at least 24 hours notice, and only call at a reasonable time during the day or evening.
In a joint tenancy each Tenant is jointly liable for observing the terms of the tenancy. If, for instance, one or more joint Tenants leave then the remaining Tenants have to pay the full rent.
If the initial fixed term has expired the Housing Act 1988 prohibits sub-letting.
If the tenancy is an Assured Tenancy the Landlord may initially charge any amount. The rent cannot subsequently be changed unless the terms of the tenancy agreement permit it, or, after the end of any fixed term, the procedure specified in the Housing Act 1988 has been followed. If the tenancy is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy the Landlord may initially charge any amount. You may apply at any time to the local Rent Assessment Committee for a reasonable rent to be fixed, and any amount fixed will be the maximum chargeable for the remainder of the initial fixed term. At the end of the fixed term the tenancy will become a periodic tenancy, and the Landlord can normally increase the rent each year.
page was last updated on
31 December, 2013
Copyright © Simply Rent (UK) Limited 2014