How do I understand my tenancy agreement?

A tenancy agreement is a contract between a landlord and a tenant outlining legal rights and responsibilities, along with details of the arrangement and how to end it.

A tenancy agreement is made up of ‘express terms’ and ‘implied terms’. Express terms are the specifics of the agreement and can be things that you’ve verbally agreed. Implied terms are legal obligations that are part of all tenancy agreements regardless fo whether they were discussed between the tenant and the landlord. 

In other words, think of a tenancy agreement as a promise between parties and as a book of answers to any questions you have about the arrangement. 

At Keatons, most of our rental properties are have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST), which are the most common type and last for between 6-12 months. Over the years, we have seen thousands of agreements and know exactly what to expect and how to explain them to tenants or landlords. 

Where to get a tenancy agreement

Well, it’s usually up to the landlord or lettings agent to provide a tenancy agreement. In most cases, the landlord’s solicitor or agent will have a template tenancy agreement that can be used as a starting point and then amended where necessary. 

To change a tenancy agreement at a later date, both parties must agree or the tenancy must have come to an end (for instance, at at the end of the fixed term). 

What’s in a standard tenancy agreement

A tenancy agreement should include basic information like:

And clear answers to other questions such as:

How to make sure a tenancy agreement is ‘fair’

Most tenancy agreements come with standard legal wording, but that doesn’t mean they should be difficult to understand. Just like any other consumer contract, it should be written in plain language with no room for interpretation. 

And one more thing. Tenancy agreements must not in any way discriminate against based on gender, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation etc. 

If you have a legal question about your tenancy agreement or believe it’s unfair and would like a second opinion, you can get in touch with Citizens Advice Bureau. Find your nearest Citizens Advice here.

Final thoughts

The best way to understand a tenancy agreement is to read through each section carefully and ask the lettings agent or landlord to explain any clauses that are unclear. Make sure you’re comfortable with the agreement before you sign on the dotted line. As estate agents with offices across London, we have been renting properties on behalf of landlords for over 20 years. We believe that renting should be fair to both tenants and landlords, That’s why we make sure our tenancy agreements include everything you need to know (and nothing we wouldn’t be comfortable signing ourselves). If you’re a tenant or a landlord with Keatons, please call us or email info@keatons.com with any questions.

See our full list of property advice articles in our Knowledge Centre

About Keatons

Keatons has been based in East London for over 20 years and has since expanded to the north and south of the city. We have an outstanding Trustpilot rating from customers and we are known for helping sellers and landlords achieve the best possible market price for their property. To find out more, visit our website

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