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What to check for in your tenancy agreement

Your tenancy and rights

Most of your rights as a tenant depend on the type of tenancy you have. Your tenancy type is usually on the front page of your tenancy agreement.

You probably have an assured shorthold tenancy if you're a private tenant and you do not live with your landlord.

You might have another type of tenancy if:

  • you're a property guardian

  • you're a student in halls of residence

  • you get a place to live with your job

  • your landlord lives in the same building as you

Use our tenancy checker to see what kind of tenancy you have.

Your rights

Most of your tenancy rights come from housing law, not your contract.

You usually count as a tenant if you pay rent even if you do not have a written tenancy agreement. Ask for a written agreement if you do not have one.

Some landlords try to give assured shorthold tenants a licence agreement. This is because people with licences have fewer rights and can be evicted more easily.

Your landlord cannot take away your rights by writing the wrong thing in your tenancy agreement or giving you the wrong agreement.

Example: Wrong type of agreement

Your contract says 'lodger agreement' but you do not live with your landlord. This means that you are not a lodger.

You probably have an assured shorthold tenancy.

Your written agreement

There is no standard form for a tenancy agreement.

GOV.UK has a model tenancy agreement but your landlord might not use it.

Many tenancy agreements have legal language. Ask your landlord if you're not sure about some words. You could also ask a housing adviser or renters' union.

Last updated: 18 September 2023

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