Our Housing Advisers are also here to help you and can review a document. We advise that you email any proposed contracts to Advice so an Adviser can review the document.
The contract is a document that you sign when you start a tenancy agreement and it is legally binding. Therefore, it is important that you read it carefully and understand your rights and responsibilities.
Both King’s College London and the University of London Housing Service provide free contract-checking services, so it is always a good idea to speak to an adviser if you are unsure.
If you are renting from a private landlord, the most common types of tenancy are:
(living with your landlord or private student halls)
You can also refer to the Shelter Tenancy Checker.
Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs)
You have exclusive right to occupy the tenanted room or house.
You are entitled to “quiet enjoyment” of the premises without being disturbed by the landlord.
If you have agreed to rent for a fixed term, you have the right to occupy for at least the duration of the fixed term and you will be unable to end your tenancy before the end of the fixed term unless you have negotiated a break clause.
Landlords have a legal duty to protect your tenancy deposit.
Landlords can gain possession of the property at the end of the fixed term (or after 6 months if there was no fixed term agreed), but you are entitled to at least 2 months’ notice (in writing) that possession is required.
Important to know:
The 2-month notice period has been extended to 6 months during the Coronavirus pandemic. You can check the most up-to-date rules on this on Shelter, housing support website.
You cannot be evicted unless the landlord obtains a court order.
ASTs can either be granted to an individual, so that only they have the right to occupy their room, or to joint tenants, who together have the exclusive right to occupy the property.
Important to know: A landlord also has no legal requirement to protect your deposit under a licence.
Licences may typically include cleaning services and are typically used when you are living with the landlord in their home.
Living with a Landlord
If you are planning to rent a room in a landlord’s home and share facilities with them, you will likely be a lodger.
Generally, you have fewer rights as a lodger, and you should ensure you have a written contract with the landlord setting out the rights and responsibilities you both have. Please contact the Student Advice Service for further information.
If one tenant leaves, it will be the tenants’ responsibility to find a replacement tenant or pay the additional rent. This means you have greater control over who you share your property with compared to when you have an individual tenancy.
Right to Rent Check
A landlord or letting agent can’t let you a property if you can’t show you have the right to rent. You have the right to rent if you are:
A citizen of an EU or EEA Country
A citizen of another country with no time limits on your permission to live in the UK
You can still be charged to change your tenancy or assign it to someone else after you have signed the tenancy agreement, but in most cases this should only be £50. If you are charged more than this, the agency will need to show evidence of their costs.
If you are unsure whether your agency is charging a prohibited fee or if there are prohibited fees listed in your contract, check our article What fees can I be charged when renting in the private sector?
It is important to consider whether a break clause is in your best interest before agreeing. It can be useful if you are not sure if you want to stay in the property for a full year, but it could be really inconvenient if the landlord decides to use the break clause during your exams!
If you are on a joint contract, the break clause would end the entire tenancy for your flatmates too, so you would all need to be in agreement for this to work.
If your contract has a break clause, it is a good idea to seek advice as they can be badly written and may not be enforceable.