Tenancy agreements are legally binding; once a contract has been signed it is extremely difficult to cancel. Only sign a tenancy agreement if you and your group are happy with the contract. Try and facilitate a time and date so that everyone can sign the contract at the same time. This assures that everyone’s obligations are the same.
If after signing, whether it is before the start of the tenancy or after, you cannot live in the property you will need to follow the following procedure:
- Inform the other tenants.
- Inform the landlord.
- Seek an alternative tenant by advertising on Manchester Student Homes’ Message Board and posting on Manchester Student Homes’ Facebook page.
- Once an alternative tenant has been found you will need to contact the landlord and the tenants to arrange for a transfer of names to occur.
- Ensure that your name has been removed from the tenancy.
Note: The replacement tenant must be accepted by all parties involved in the contract. If a replacement tenant is not found you are still liable for the obligations of the tenancy.
Every landlord should offer you a tenancy agreement (contract). Manchester Student Homes accredited landlords should give you at least 24 hours to read the contract in full. There is plenty of student accommodation in Manchester so please do not feel under pressure to sign a contract straight away.
A vast majority of contracts are Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements (AST) and are usually 6 months or a year. To find out more visit Shelter - AST.
If you live in a house with your landlord then you will have a different agreement, the agreement will be called a 'licence to occupy'. To find out more visit Shelter - Lodger.
Types of Tenancy Agreements
Joint and Several Liability
This is the type of agreement normally used if you and a group of friends are going to rent a house. This essentially means collective responsibility. In the eyes of the law, all tenants are considered to be one tenant, and the behaviour of each individual therefore affects everyone else. For instance, if one tenant does not pay their portion of the rent, the landlord can legitimately ask the other tenants to pay this amount. Equally, if one tenant causes damage, the landlord can take it out of all the tenants’ deposits.
Individual Tenancy Agreement
If the property is rented out on a room by room basis, you should be offered an individual tenancy agreement and it should detail which room you are renting. On an individual contract you should have exclusive possession of your own room / bedroom but be allowed to use the shared areas such as the kitchen, lounge and bathroom. These types of tenancies are more common in private halls of residence.
If you sign a tenancy agreement, you are committed to paying the rent for the duration of the contract. The majority of student landlords will offer a 12 month contract which normally runs from 1st July to 30th June. Private halls normally offer 44/45 or 48/51 week contracts.
Landlords may offer half-rent during the summer (July and August) or a summer retainer:
Half/ full rent – If you are paying half or full rent over the summer, you should have full access to the property and it should be ready for you to move in on the start date of your tenancy.
Retainer – This means the landlord has taken the property off the market and your access commences at a later date. Tenants are not normally given access to the property if they are paying a summer retainer.
It’s very important to agree on a move-in date with your landlord and establish exactly what level of access you are going to need over the summer. Make sure this information is included in your tenancy agreement.
You can ask for the landlord to amend, remove or add clauses to the contract if necessary. For example, if the landlord promises that certain works will be completed before you move in, the agreement needs to be written into your contract.
If you have agreed a rental price that includes bills, there will normally be a fair usage clause in your tenancy agreement too. Remember to check the following with the landlord:
What is included? Water, Gas, Electricity, TV Licence, Broadband.
What time period is covered?
How much extra the bills cost per person per week on top of the rent?
Is there a fair usage clause?
You can compare the cost of utility bills on uSwitch, Compare The Market, and/ or Money Supermarket.
You may be asked to provide a guarantor which, in most cases, will be a parent or guardian. The guarantor is agreeing to pay for any rent arrears or damage to the property, should you fail to pay.
There are 3 different types of guarantor agreement:
Unlimited - common when a Joint and Several Tenancy Agreement is signed and this means that the guarantor is responsible for any outstanding rent and/ or cost of repairs to the property.
Limited - applicable when a Joint and Several Tenancy Agreement is signed and this means that the guarantor's responsibility is limited in terms of outstanding rent but unlimited in terms of cost of repairs to the property.
Everything Limited - applicable when an Individual Tenancy Agreement is signed and this means that the guarantor is only responsible for outstanding rent and/ or cost of repairs to the property.
If you are an international student, you may be asked to pay the full rent for the year at the start of the tenancy if you cannot provide a UK-based guarantor. Look for the International Friendly Standard if you don’t have a UK-based guarantor.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like any further information about guarantors.