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Is a verbal tenancy agreement legal?

Yes, verbal tenancy agreements are a legal method of tenancy agreement.


These types of agreement are not recommended as the tenant and landlord can experience problems, for example, with rent payments and deposits. This type of agreement can be difficult to enforce because there is often no proof of what has been agreed. If a dispute went to the courts, there would be no written tenancy agreement as evidence, so this could result in one of the parties not getting the rights they believe were verbally agreed upon at the start of the tenancy.


However, as with written agreements, oral agreements also provide the landlord and tenant with certain rights; the difference is that they could be more difficult to enforce.

What is a fixed tenancy agreement?

A fixed agreement is for an agreed period of time (usually six or twelve months) which is stated in the tenancy agreement. A tenancy can still be a fixed term agreement, even if rent is paid weekly or monthly.


Once the fixed term ends the agreement becomes periodic if no new fixed agreement is drawn up.


The rules regarding ending a tenancy agreement differ for periodic and fixed tenancies.

What is a periodic agreement?

If no fixed length of time has been agreed on for the tenancy in the rental agreement,  the tenancy is periodic. This means it rolls from one week to the next – or one month to the next.


At the end of a fixed tenancy, if no new fixed term has been agreed by the landlord and tenant, the tenancy automatically becomes a periodic tenancy. A periodic agreement is in place if an Assured Shorthold Tenancy has ended and the tenant remains in the property and the landlord continues to accept rental payments.

Do I have to give my tenant a rent book?

Yes, if you collect your rent on a weekly basis, but if your tenant pays monthly then you do not have to provide them with a rent book. However, you should always keep an accurate record of all payments made on a clear and easy to understand rent schedule.

When did tenancy deposit schemes start?

It commenced on the 6th April 2007. All deposit must be registered. The tenant must receive a copy of prescribed information and terms and conditions with proof of where the deposit has been registered.

What is the tenant deposit scheme?

There are two types of scheme: A custodial scheme and two insurance-based schemes.


The landlord, not the tenant, has the option to choose whether to safeguard the deposit in a custodial or insurance-based scheme.


Failure to do so will invalidate any Section 21 Notice served.

Can I enter the property with my own set of keys?

No. A landlord should only enter a tenanted property with prior permission from the current occupants. Some landlords like to keep a key in case the tenant loses their key, or the property is abandoned, but he/she should not use it to enter when tenants are living there. Under certain circumstances, such as an emergency, e.g. fire, flood or if the property is left unlocked, then the landlord is allowed to enter without permission in the interests of protecting their property.

What happens if the tenants decide to leave during the tenancy?

If a tenant leaves the property or posts the keys through the letterbox, this is called ‘abandonment’ and will not end the tenancy agreement. The agreement will continue even though the tenants have left, and the landlord has the right to continue to charge rent.


A landlord is able to apply for a court order to make the tenants pay what is owed. It should be noted that if the property has since been let out, rent can only be claimed for the period before the new tenant moved in.


The period of time that rent can be charged after a tenant leaves depends on the type of agreement.


In a fixed term agreement, rent can continue to be charged up until the date when the term ends.


If the agreement is periodic, rent can be charged up until the time when the agreement would have ended had the tenant given the agreed period of notice.

What if the tenants are causing damage to the property?

If a tenant causes damage to furniture or the interior of the property then the landlord is able to charge the tenant for any repair work carried out, or replacements bought, through deducting damage costs from the deposit.


If the tenant is not behaving in a ‘tenant like manner’ and is not abiding by the terms of the tenancy agreement, then the landlord is able to evict them by issuing a Section 21 Notice. If the fixed term of the tenancy has not ended and the landlord feels that the damage to the property is too extensive to wait until the end of the term, then a Section 8 Notice to quit may be issued.

How can I evict my tenant?

Only court appointed bailiffs may carry out a legal eviction.


Due process must be followed:

Section 8/21 Notice, Court Application, Possession Order, Bailiffs Warrant.


Failure to comply with this process may result in an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.


The landlord may also be liable to pay substantial compensation if the process is not followed.


If possession is sought by the landlord during the fixed term, then it can only be obtained if a breach of contract has been proved and a Section 21 Possession Notice would not be appropriate.


A Section 8 Possession Notice should be used instead.


Section 21 is divided into subsections with different rules applying to (a) notice served during the fixed term of a tenancy and (b) notice for possession that is served during a statutory periodic tenancy.


We would advise that you speak to our eviction team to ensure the process is followed correctly.

Who is responsible for dampness in the property?

Dampness can be the responsibility of either the landlord or tenant, depending on the particular circumstances.


If the property is damp as a result of leaking pipes, a damaged roof or wall, or an existing damp proof course which is no longer effective, then the landlord would be responsible for carrying out the necessary repairs.


However if the dampness has been caused by condensation through not drying clothes properly, or improper use of heating and windows, then the landlord would not normally be responsible for  re-decorating  as a result of the dampness. In these circumstances the tenant would be required to use the windows and heating systems correctly and re-decorate the areas of the property affected by the dampness.

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