A tenancy agreement is bascially a contract between a tenant and a landlord, which can be in written or spoken form, and gives certain rights to both the tenant and the landlord.
Obviously the main clause in a tenancy agreement is the tenant's right to occupy the accommodation and the landlord’s right to receive rent for letting the accommodation, but most tenancy agreements have other terms too, such as a notice period for both parties concerned.
Most tenants sign a shorthold tenancy agreement, which usually lasts for a period of six months with a view to being renewed at the end of each shorthold period. Along with any extra arrangments the tenancy agreement may include, such as details of the furniture provided by the landlord, both the tenant and landlord have rights and responsibilties given by law.
It is worth noting here that if a term in the tenancy agreement gives either tenant or landlord less than their statutory rights, that term cannot be enforced.
Under a basic tenancy agreement, the landlord has a responsibility to ensure the property is in good repair, with adequate water, gas, electricity, sanitation and heat. You can also ask that the landlord repair any damp, cracks in the wall and so on
The law also states that the landlord has to provide a CORGI safety check certificate for the gas supply even though this may not be a part of the tenancy agreement. Faulty gas supplies are extremely dangerous and can result in carbon monoxide leaks, which can be fatal. In addition, all electrical appliances supplied by the landlord must pass a safety test.
In terms of the tenant’s responsibilities within the tenancy agreement, the landlord has a right to be paid the rent on time and late or unpaid rent could result in eviction. A landlord will also expect you keep the house and any contents supplied to an acceptable condition, and this is often a standard part of a tenancy agreement.