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Tenancy agreement

Good landlords and agents will provide a written tenancy agreement. At a minimum, they must put in writing the address of the room or flat, length of the agreement, the rent you will pay and the landlord’s name and contact address.

See Shelter’s website for information about different kinds of tenancy. 

If your landlord lives in the same flat or house as you, and shares a bathroom, kitchen or living room with you, then you are a lodger.  Lodgers have fewer rights than tenants, and the information on this page does not apply to you. 

Please visit the Shelter website for more information

Get advice if you are not sure whether or not you are a lodger. For example, you are not a lodger if:

  • you live with a “head tenant” who collects the rent; or
  • your landlord moved in after you first moved in; or
  • your landlord keeps a room for themselves but does not live there.

Any good landlord will give you a written tenancy agreement so that you are both clear about the nature of you legally binding agreement.

It is hard to trust a landlord who will not give you a written tenancy agreement. You may want to get advice from one of the agencies signed up to the Private Renters’ Charter.

Even if your landlord refuses to give you a written tenancy agreement, you still have a legally-binding tenancy agreement. Some rules apply to everyone renting a home. These rules don't have to be written down. If the landlord accepts rent from you for living in the property, any verbal agreement you have counts as a legal agreement. Watch Shelter’s short film explaining this.

Your landlord has extra legal responsibilities if the house or flat you share with other tenants is a house in multiple occupation (HMO)

 

Your landlord has to give you their name and contact address

If your landlord does not provide you in writing with their name and an address in England or Wales where you could send them notices, the law says that you do not have to pay them rent.  However, as soon as an address is provided, backdated rent then becomes due from the start of the tenancy.

If you write to your landlord's agent or the person who demands, or last received the rent and ask them for the landlord’s name and address, they must provide the information in writing within 21 days.  If not, the council can prosecute them and a court can fine them up to £2,500.

If there is a change of landlord, the new landlord must provide you with her/his name and address in writing within two months after the transfer of interest. 

If this is not complied with, the old landlord will remain liable for any breach of the tenancy agreement until either s/he or the new landlord provides the tenant with the new landlord's name and address.

Find out how to find your landlord.

Your landlord has to give you a basic statement of your tenancy terms

If your landlord will not give you a written agreement, the law says that they must give you certain information in writing:

  • the date your tenancy started
  • the rent and when it is to be paid
  • any provision for rent increases
  • the length of your agreement.

If you ask your landlord in writing for this in writing, the law says that they must provide it within 28 days.  If they do not, they are liable for prosecution and a fine of £2,500. 

If your landlord won’t give you their name, contact address, or a statement of the basic tenancy terms, get advice from one of the agencies signed up to the Tower Hamlets Private Renters’ Charter: we all promise to find the best way to improve your situation - and the most effective action to take against landlords or agents who break the rules.