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When you agree to rent a property you will be asked to sign a tenancy agreement.  This is a legally binding contract that sets out the terms and conditions of the tenancy.  Tenancy agreements give tenants the right to live in a property as long as they comply with the terms of the contract. 

A Guide For Tenants – What to check for

Tenancy agreements tend to be standard documents so it might be tempting to think that if you have seen one you have seen them all.  However, it is very important that you read through the entire document before signing and ask for clarification on anything that you are unsure of.

You should check that the tenancy agreement includes:

  • yours and the joint tenant’s name, if applicable.
  • the address of the rented property.
  • your landlord and letting agent’s name and address.
  • how much rent should be paid, when and how it should be paid.
  • the length of the agreement.
  • details of any deposit payable, what it covers, in what circumstances it might not be returned, and which deposit protection scheme it will be placed in.
  • rules on ending your tenancy.

Your tenancy agreement will also set out both yours and the landlord’s responsibilities throughout the terms of the tenancy.  The tenant’s responsibilities usually include: reporting necessary repairs as soon as possible; keeping the garden tidy; not making too much noise; not causing damage to the property; paying the rent on time, and so forth.  The landlord is responsible for undertaking major repairs to the property; ensuring the property is safe and fulfilling his or her legal obligations.

The agreement is likely to also cover: what furniture and other fittings are to be provided in the property; which should be detailed in the inventory; who to contact about repairs; this could be the landlord or the letting agent; and rules regarding lodgers, subletting, pets and smoking.

Assured Shorthold Tenancy

In the private sector, the most common form of tenancy is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy or AST.  Commonly, these are for an initial term of 6 months whereby they become periodic, which means that the tenancy automatically renews each time you pay the rent. With an AST, tenants’ rights include not being forced to leave within the first 6 months, and the right to at least 2 months’ notice should the landlord wish you to move out.

When you rent through Family Homes, we can offer help and advice to ensure that you fully understand your tenancy agreement and your rights and responsibilities.  Family Homes are letting agents with offices in Sittingbourne and Faversham.  We have been in business for over 25 years and are the leading and largest independent specialists in property lettings and management in the area.  If you have any questions regarding tenancy agreements, please get in touch.

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