Assured Shorthold Tenancies
The most likely agreement that you will sign with your tenant is an Assured Shorthold tenancy. This agreement allows the tenant to rent a property from you in exchange for a market rent. These can be made for a specific period of time, for instance, one academic year, but in England they will not usually be made for a period of less than 6 months, as possession cannot be granted before the expiry of the initial 6 months.
"Assured shorthold are distinguished from assured tenancies by having an additional ground for possession open to the landlord: there does not have to be any reason stated, and the landlord simply has to give 2 months’ notice. He/she can also use the Accelerated Possession Procedure, which is a paper-based system faster and cheaper than the normal court hearing, to get a possession order if the tenant does not leave."
(Source: fact sheet 11, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister)
Joint/Separate Tenancy Agreements
If there are students sharing a house then you may ask them to sign either a joint tenancy or a separate tenancy. If they sign a joint tenancy then they will all be responsible for each other's debts and damages. If they each have their own contract then if there are any discrepancies, the argument is between yourself and the tenant and should not involve the other housemates with the exception of the communal areas.
Further information about tenancy agreements can be found on the www.landlordlaw.co.uk website.
Assured Shorthold Tenancy: Notice Requiring Possession
A landlord can only bring an assured shorthold tenancy to an end unilaterally by serving a notice on the tenant. This even applies to tenancy agreements for a fixed period of time which will simply continue as weekly or monthly periodic tenancies after the fixed period, unless a notice has been served by the landlord in England and Wales. In England and Wales this notice is commonly called a section 8 notice.
Further information about possession notices and the possession procedure can be found on the www.landlordlaw.co.uk website.
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