As a student landlord, one of the best things you can do to provide yourself with financial and legal protection is to take your time creating appropriate tenancy agreements for your student lets.
A student tenancy agreement is a legal contract between you and your tenants. It should set out the terms of the tenancy, making the rights and responsibilities of you, the landlord, and your tenants, clear from the start.
A comprehensive and suitable tenancy agreement is essential to a successful student let.
In this article, we will explain more about the different types of student tenancy agreements and how to create one for your rented student accommodation.
What are the different types of student contracts available?
There are a couple of different types of student tenancy contracts to choose from. The most appropriate one for you depends on the property type, and your tenant’s circumstances.
Your standard student tenancy agreement is almost always an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) agreement.
The two main types of student contracts are individual contracts and joint tenancy agreements.
Individual tenancy agreements
With an individual tenancy agreement, the tenant named on the contract is liable solely for their own payments, deposit, and actions. This type of contract should be used if your student property is an HMO.
Joint tenancy agreements
Joint tenancy agreements start and end on the same date and mean that all tenants within a house share joint liability for the property and payments. Joint agreements can sometimes offer landlords better protection because it means that if one tenant stops paying their rent, the others are responsible for finding the money due.
How do student tenancy agreements work?
Most student tenancy agreements are fixed-term, assured shorthold tenancies.
If a contract is ‘fixed-term’ it means that the landlord and tenant have agreed that the tenancy will last for a set period. For students, this is usually 12 months. During that time, the tenant cannot be asked to leave the property unless the terms of the agreement have been broken.
Assured shorthold tenancies give the tenants exclusive possession of the property. This means the landlord should not visit the property unless they have given the tenants at least 24 hours’ notice that they plan to do so.
Student tenants with a fixed-term assured shorthold tenancy cannot be evicted unless their landlord can prove to the court that they have a legal reason to do so. If the landlord believes that they have a legal reason to evict a tenant, then they must first serve them notice of possession. However, if you include a break clause in the contract, you can still end a tenancy early if you wish, providing you stick to the terms of the break clause, (more on those later).
When creating a student contract for the first time it’s best to use a template or consult a specialist in student property letting, to ensure that your tenancy agreement covers all bases.
At a minimum, your contract should include legal terms and conditions surrounding the start and end date of the contract, rental costs, how and when payments should be made, the security deposit, and who is responsible for paying the bills.
If you require help with your student tenancy agreement, get in touch with our team of specialist student letting agents here at Student Haus and we’ll be happy to help. Our professional let-only and fully managed landlord services are popular with student landlords throughout the North West, including those based in popular university cities like Liverpool, Manchester, and Salford.
Which rental contract should you choose?
The type of tenancy agreement that you choose, is down to the property type you have and your preference, there are pros and cons of both joint and sole tenancy agreements. If your student property is an HMO then you should provide each tenant with their own individual tenancy agreement.
Many landlords swear by joint tenancy agreements because they feel they offer them better financial protection. By making all tenants jointly responsible for the property and payments, if one tenant stops paying rent it is the whole group that is responsible for the costs. If one tenant wishes to leave a joint tenancy, then the remaining tenants are responsible for finding a replacement tenant or sharing out the additional cost between them.
On the other hand, some landlords find that individual tenancies are more profitable because they can charge more per room. Not only that, if tenants wish to start and end their contracts on different dates, then sole tenancy agreements allow them to do so. This allows landlords to provide tenants with greater flexibility but can also be more complicated to manage.
What should I know about break clauses in my student tenancy agreement?
Whether or not you include a break clause in the contract is up to you; there are advantages and disadvantages to doing so.
A break clause gives both landlord and tenant the option to give notice and end a tenancy early if necessary. Usually, the break clause specifies a date after which the tenancy can be ended.
Break clauses can be useful as they give landlord and tenant flexibility but bear in mind that some tenants may view them as a less secure option and be put off. Equally, if your tenants choose to activate the break clause, you may lose revenue if you cannot fill the room and it is left empty for a while.
If you do choose to include a break clause, you should specify when the break clause can be used, how much notice should be given when using it, and how notice should be served.
For further help or advice with renting to students, get in touch with our team of specialist student letting agents here at Student Haus, we have helped countless student landlords throughout Liverpool, Bolton, Manchester, Salford, and the North West to operate highly profitable and stress-free student lets.
Get in touch by calling us on 0161 694 6427 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org