Download our Free Tenancy Agreement Templates
You can download a free tenancy agreement template in pdf format by clicking on one of the links below. Please note that the Agreements are only suitable for properties located in England and Wales. For an agreement under Scottish law, please purchase one of the LawPack agreements when listing a property with us. We strongly recommend that you download and read the accompanying Guidance Notes before completing the agreement.
Tenancy Agreements: Legal Background
Since 27 February 1997, almost all private residential tenancies in England and Wales will be assured shorthold tenancies. The assured shorthold tenancy was introduced to free-up the rental market by giving landlords the guaranteed right to repossess their property at the end of the term. The intention was that this would increase the supply of rented property across the country and, judging by the subsequent explosion of the buy-to-let market, this certainly seems to have been the result.
Requirements of Assured Shorthold Tenancies
To be an assured shorthold, the tenancy must meet the following requirements:
- - the property must be separate and self-contained (ie not a room only, nor a property with a live-in landlord)
- - the tenant must be an individual, or individuals (ie not a company, business partnership etc)
- - the property must be the tenant's main or only home (no holiday lettings)
- - the tenancy must be for a fixed term of less than 21 years
- - rent must be less than £100,000 per annum
- - agricultural tenancies or tenancies of properties with more than 2 acres of agricultural land are excluded
Where no tenancy is specified, or there is no written agreement at all, the law now implies an assured shorthold tenancy by default if the above conditions are met and there is nothing to indicate a contrary intention.
What is the maximum length of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy?
Despite the name, an assured shorthold tenancy does not have to be for a short term, as long as it is less than 21 years. In practice, most assured shorthold tenancies are granted for terms of 12 or 18 months, usually with an option to renew at the end of the term
What is the minimum length of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy?Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to grant an Assured Shorthold Tenancy for a term of less than 6 months, However, if a tenant refuses to leave, a landlord can not legally regain possession through the courts under section 21 Housing Act 1988 until 6 months have elapsed, even if the tenancy was granted for a period less than this. See our article on Short Lets here.
Does the tenancy have to be witnessed?
When leasing a property it is usual to prepare two copies of the tenancy agreement, one signed by the tenant (called the 'Original') which will be retained by the landlord; and one signed by the landlord (called the 'Counterpart') which will be retained by the tenant. It is not strictly necessary for signatures to be witnessed although it is advisable to do so.
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