Tenancies and tenancy agreements

When you rent a home, you are called a ‘tenant’. 

To rent a home, you will normally need to sign a ‘tenancy agreement’. This is a contract agreed between you and the landlord. 

It gives you the right to live in the home if you: 

  • pay the rent
  • look after the home 
  • keep to any other rules in the tenancy agreement

Tenancy agreements cover the rights and responsibilities of the tenant(s) and the landlords. Tenancy agreements must follow with housing law. Housing law means rules set by the government that landlords, tenants and homeowners must follow.

This applies to all councils, housing associations and private tenancies.

You must always read the terms of the tenancy and look at:

  • When the tenancy will start
  • Whether you have a tenancy or a licence (a tenancy gives more security)
  • How you can end the tenancy
  • What things would be considered breaking the rules of the tenancy?
  • What things might lead to eviction or being told to leave the accommodation
  • What type of accommodation is covered?
  • When the rent should be paid
  • Tenants’ responsibilities in relation to things such as noise, pets, looking after your home
  • Who will/can do repairs and decoration?

Shelter have made more information about tenancies and your rights.

Some landlords have easy read or film versions of the tenancy agreement to help people understand their rights and responsibilities.  Progress Housing has examples of easy-read tenancy versions and films