Types of tenancy agreements;
- Fixed Term: This is the most common type of tenancy agreement in student flats, you rent the property for a fixed period of time (usually 12 months). This type of tenancy can’t be ended during the fixed term, but if things go wrong there might be some options so come and see OUSA Student Support if you need to get out.
- Periodic: This type of tenancy has no set term and can be ended by either party giving notice. For tenants the notice period is 21 days, for landlords the notice period is 90 days (or 42 days in some situations)
- Studio rooms: Accommodation often advertised as ‘studio rooms’ may be legally classed as a boarding house. This is a separate type of tenancy agreement and it can be ended by the tenant with 48 hours’ notice – regardless of any term stipulated in the tenancy agreement. If you want to check if your studio room is actually classed as a boarding house come and chat with OUSA Student Support
- Joint and several liability: Usually all of the flatmates in a flat will all sign the same tenancy agreement and ‘jointly’ rent the property. This means that you are all responsible for everything that happens in the flat, if one flatmate causes damage you will all be liable for it. This is where a flatting agreement can come in handy. Your landlord can claim the cost of repairs from all of you but you might get the money back from the naughty flatmate through the Disputes Tribunal. OUSA Student Support can help if this happens to you.
- Living with the owner or their family member: If one of your flatmates owns the property (or more likely if you’re a uni student is the child of the owner), the Residential Tenancies Act doesn’t apply – unless you have explicit clause in a written agreement that both parties are contracting into the Act.
Unenforceable clauses in your tenancy agreement:
Any clause in a tenancy agreement needs to be consistent with the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, any clauses or requirements that are in conflict with the Act will be unenforceable.
A common example is landlords requiring tenants to get carpets professionally cleaned at the end of the tenancy. The Residential Tenancy Act only requires tenants to leave the property “reasonably clean and tidy” not professionally cleaned, so your landlord can’t charge you for carpet cleaning unless you’ve caused stains.
If you’re feeling suspicious about anything in your tenancy agreement bring it in to OUSA Student Support, better yet bring it into us before you sign it!