At some stage, most students move from halls into private accommodation and if you are renting as a private landlord, you should have a tenancy agreement prepared by a solicitor. As the landlord, you will usually be responsible for sanitary installations, structural repairs, heating and hot water.
A tenancy agreement will protect your rights as a landlord and set out what your obligations are. You would usually ask for a deposit to cover rent arrears or damage to the property and you may also ask students to provide a guarantor – usually a parent or guardian. Since 2007 most deposits for new tenancies have to be protected under the Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme. You are advised to provide an inventory of the house contents at the beginning and end of a tenancey period. The deposit must be returned to the tenant at the end of the tenancy, providing no rent is owed and there is no damage to the property.
Michelle Hayter, Litigation Solicitor, deals with disputes between landlords and tenants. She advises that disputes can be avoided if the tenancy agreement is correctly drafted and, as the landlord, you act proactively and fairly. Regarding student lets, Michelle comments “If there are several people sharing a house, a landlord must have a House in Multiple Occupation licence. The property must be licensed if five or more unrelated people are sharing and it has three or more storeys, although these numbers do differ according to location. If a house is shared in this way, you should have a joint tenancy agreement, which makes the tenants jointly responsible for any breaches of the agreement, such as damage and rent arrears.”
Housing law and issues about tenancy are complex and it is best to seek help immediately if problems arise. Contact Michelle or a member of our Litigation Team for specialist advice on tenancy agreements. We offer a free initial appointment to answer you questions or review your current tenancy agreements.