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Setting up a tenancy agreement if you let your home

A tenancy agreement is a contract between you and your tenant or lodger, setting out the terms and conditions of their stay in your property.

Does a tenancy agreement have to be in writing?

It's best to have the tenancy agreement in writing, but even if it's just a verbal agreement, you and your tenant will both have rights and responsibilities under law.

What does a tenancy agreement have to include?

A basic tenancy agreement must include:

  • your name and the name of your tenant(s)
  • the address of the property to be let
  • the amount of rent to be paid
  • the length of time the tenancy is for.

Download an example of an occupancy agreement between a lodger and a landlord.

What else can a tenancy agreement include?

You can include information on any aspect of the tenancy in the agreement, but you can't include unfair terms that override your tenant's basic rights (for example, their rights concerning privacy, repairs and notice - see the page on your responsibilities as a landlord for more on tenants' rights).

Depending on the type of tenancy, it could also include information on:

  • when the rent is due and how it should be paid (for example, by cheque, by standing order, etc)
  • what the rent includes (for example, bills, council tax or other charges)
  • whether the tenant will be able to leave before the end of the tenancy term
  • what furniture, if any, will be provided
  • what responsibilities the tenant has for internal decorations
  • whether your tenant will be able to sublet or take in a lodger as well
  • whether your tenant is allowed to have pets
  • whether your tenant will be able to pass the tenancy on to anyone else
  • any other relevant information.

Check out the page on tenancy agreements for further information.

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The important points

  • Tenancy agreements are best in writing, but even if it's just a verbal agreement, you and your tenant will both have rights and responsibilities under law.
  • A tenancy agreement must contain the tenant's and landlord's name, the rental address, the rent charged and the length of the tenancy. 

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