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Tenants legal help: five tips on your tenancy agreement

Questions about tenancy agreementsBefore you sign your tenancy agreement:

1. Make sure you have one.  It is important to have a tenancy agreement as a record of what was agreed, as memories fade.  If you ever need to claim housing benefit /LHA the benefit office will need to see it.

2. Check that the rent on the agreement is the one agreed.  It is not unknown for this to be wrong.  While you are at it, check all the other details are correct too, including the spelling of your name etc.

3. Check to see that the agreement refers to a tenancy deposit scheme for your deposit (if you pay one).  If it doesn’t, it may mean that your landlord is not going to protect it (see here for tenancy deposit questions answered)

4. Check to see what is said about payment of bills.  Is this what was agreed?

5. Check to see if there are any fees, charges or penalty payments set out.  For example sometimes there are fees where you pay the rent late, or inventory clerk charges.

If there is anything in the tenancy agreement you do not agree with, ask to have it taken out.  If the landlord or agent refuses, consider carefully whether you want this property.  Although if it is really onerous, the clause may be unenforceable anyway.

See my 31 days of tips for more tenancy agreement information.

See more help for tenants on Landlord Law.



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4 Responses to Tenants legal help: five tips on your tenancy agreement

  1. Is there a separate Tenancy Agreement required for LHS/DSS tenants.

    Since, the terms and the parties involved change in the case of DSS tenants, the agreement also must be having some special clauses.

    Anyone knows a useful resource site where these templates are available easily?

  2. No, the fact that the rent is being paid by housing benefit does not alter the terms of the tenancy agreement.

    The only difference is that the rent is being paid by someone other than the tenant. Likewise if the rent is paid by the tenant’s Aunt this will not change the terms of the tenancy agreement either.

    There will need to be a tenancy agreement though, as the benefit office will want to see one before accepting the tenants application.

    I understand that they will sometimes insist on seeing an agreement where the fixed term has not ended, although I don’t think that legally this should make any difference.

  3. Thanks for your reply Tessa, appreciate a lot

    There are few reliable sources on the web that can provide accurate info. on this.

  4. Cancelling HB when the fixed term expires is more the norm which is a bit of an annoying presumption. Many tenants prefer to stay periodic because their future plans arent fixed or they intend to move in a few months and dont want to be tied into a fixed term again. Plus agents will often charge an arm and a leg for a renewal contract and nobody wants that twice a year.

    HB can pay without a wrtten contract, the landlord can sign a form called a ‘Landlords Declration’ and that usually suffices.




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About the post author:

Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is a lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law. She runs the Landlord Law website (now in its 12th year) and is a director of Easy Law Training Ltd and Your Law Store. Tessa also sits on the Property Redress Scheme Council. When not working she enjoys reading, cooking and messing around on the computer. You can also find her on Google



The Landlord Law Blog from Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is an English lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law.


Legal Services

Legal services are provided via Tessa's online service Landlord Law. Some advice services are provided by Tessa, other legal services are provided by specialist housing firm Anthony Gold.


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The purpose of this blog is to provide information, comment and discussion. Although Tessa, or guest bloggers, may from time to time, give helpful comments to readers' questions, these can only be based on the information given by the reader in his or her comment, which may not contain all material facts. Any comments or suggestions provided by Tessa or any guest bloggers should not therefore be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice from a qualified lawyer regarding any actual legal issue or dispute.


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Lodger Landlord | Google+ | Your Law Store | Google | Landlord Law facebook page | How to Evict Your Tenant website | the Which Tenancy Agreement Guide | Landlords Tips | Tenants Tips | Working on the Web | Landlord Law Store