Student Tenancy Agreement for Shared Furnished House
This Student Tenancy Agreement for Shared Furnished House should be used where a private landlord in England wishes to grant a tenancy of a furnished house in England to student sharers. Usually, the tenancy will have a term of 12 months, although sometimes a shorter term will be granted, e.g., September to June.
The Student Tenancy Agreement is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). This is the usual form of tenancy granted by private landlords in England. If your property is in Wales, you will grant an occupation contract. Model written statements for the occupation contracts can be found in Renting Homes Wales.
Unlike other forms of residential tenancy, a tenant under an AST has virtually no security of tenure. As long as the proper procedures are followed, a landlord can regain possession of the property after six months.
This Tenancy Agreement has been updated to comply with the Tenant Fees Act 2019 (‘the TFA’) which affects landlords and letting agents in England.
Although the majority of private lettings in England are ASTs, there are some arrangements that cannot be assured shorthold tenancies. In the context of student lettings, the main exclusion is where there is a resident landlord, for example because the house is owned by one of the students. In this situation, the Licence to Occupy a Room (either the full time version or the term time only version) can be used.
If the landlord wishes to let a room to an individual student (as opposed to letting the whole house to a group of students) one of our Student Bedsit Agreements should be used.
The landlord is likely to require the students’ parents to act as guarantors. The Student Tenancy Agreement Guarantee should be used for this.
The Tenancy Agreement sets out the main details at the beginning, being the parties’ names, the address of the property, the term, and the rent, which may be payable monthly or termly. An Inventory should be completed and attached to the Tenancy Agreement to record the condition of the property and the furniture and contents.
Clause 1 is the grant of the tenancy.
Clause 2 contains standard legal interpretation clauses.
Clause 3 deals with the Tenancy Deposit. The amount of the deposit should be inserted in clause 3.1. Under the TFA, from the 01 June 2019, security deposits for new or renewed tenancies in England must be capped at five weeks' rent if the yearly rent is under £50,000 or six weeks' rent if the yearly rent is £50,000 or more.
In clause 3.4 the landlord must specify whether the deposit will be protected in an insurance scheme or a custodial scheme. Please see the Guidance on Tenancy Deposit Protection for details of the different schemes and the procedural steps the landlord must take. Please note that this clause should not be used if the landlord is protecting the deposit in the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (one of the insurance schemes). That scheme has its own clause which should be substituted – please see the Prescribed Information and Clauses document on the TDS website: https://www.tenancydepositscheme.com/agents-and-landlords-documents-and-forms.html
Clause 4 contains the tenants’ covenants. These cover payment of rent and other outgoings (e.g., utilities), repair and maintenance, use, allowing the landlord access for inspections and end-of-tenancy arrangements. (Council tax is mentioned as an expense which the tenants must pay, but if all the tenants are students, they are likely to qualify for a Council Tax exemption).
Under the TFA, landlords in England must only charge ‘permitted payments’ as defined by the TFA or face financial penalties (and subsequent offences could result in a criminal offence). ‘Permitted Payments’ include rent, tenancy deposit, council tax, utilities, tv licence and default fees (for late payment of rent and replacement of a lost key/security device, where required under a tenancy agreement). Under the TFA, landlords cannot require a tenant to pay for a professional clean at the end of the tenancy as this is a prohibited payment under the TFA. Landlords can require tenants to clean to a professional standard.
Clause 4 includes covenants requiring the tenants to observe the terms of the landlord’s insurance policy and any title documents such as a superior lease. These covenants will only have effect if the landlord has given the tenants copies of the relevant documents. Additional tenant fire safety obligations have been added.
Clause 4.8 is an optional clause dealing with tenant covenants specific to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). If the property is not an HMO this clause can be deleted. In its simplest form, a landlord has an HMO if both the following apply:
1. There are three or more tenants who form more than one household: and
2. The tenants share some or all of the toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities.
There are other instances where an HMO may apply. Please see our Guidance Note on HMOs and Licensing of Private Rented Properties. Some student properties may also require a licence to operate as an HMO. Additional clauses have been left in square brackets if your HMO is licensed.
Clause 5 provides for interest to be paid on overdue rent. Under the TFA, landlords can only charge interest for late payment if the rent is more than 14 days overdue. The rate of interest must not exceed 3% above the Bank of England’s base rate.
Clause 6 is the forfeiture clause. This allows the landlord to forfeit (i.e., bring to an end) the tenancy if the rent is at least 21 days overdue or if there has been a substantial breach of any of the tenants’ obligations. Landlords should note that it will still be necessary to go to court in order to obtain possession of the property; the forfeiture clause does not have quite the effect it purports to have but it is important to have the clause in the Tenancy Agreement, otherwise the court will be unable to order possession during the fixed term of the tenancy.
Clause 7 contains the landlord’s covenants. These cover quiet enjoyment (the right of the tenants to use the property without interference) and repair.
Clause 8 is an optional break clause for each party. Landlords should note that, as well as serving a notice to exercise the break, they must also serve a notice under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. The break notice will only bring the fixed term of the tenancy to an end. A section 21 notice is needed in respect of the periodic tenancy which will automatically arise once the fixed term has ended.
Clause 9 will contain the parties’ addresses for service of documents. Section 48 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 provides that rent is not lawfully due from a tenant unless the landlord has provided him with an address where notices are served. It is vital that the tenants are given an up to date address for the landlord.
Clause 10 is a jurisdiction clause.
The Tenancy Agreement complies with the Housing Act 1988 (as amended) and the Tenancy Deposit legislation and takes account of the OFT’s 2005 Guidance on unfair terms in tenancy agreements.
Optional phrases / clauses are enclosed in square brackets. These should be read carefully and selected so as to be compatible with one another. Unused options should be removed from the document.
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