I Don’t Have a Tenancy Agreement: What are My Rights?

Stressed Tenant Without Tenancy Agreement

If you have no tenancy agreement, “what are my rights?” is an important question. Your rental home is your safe place, so you want to make sure it’s secure for years to come. That’s equally true if you’re a landlord.

Whilst it’s generally not the best option to forgo a written tenancy agreement, it’s not an uncommon occurrence. If you’re on either side of a verbal tenancy, you’ll naturally want to know what your rights are – and what legal recourse you have access to. In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know…

I have no tenancy agreement – what are my rights?

If you’re renting a property – or renting out your property – without a written agreement, don’t despair. You’ve entered into what’s called a “verbal tenancy agreement”.

Though there are many issues associated with oral tenancy agreements, they do still offer the same protections associated with the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. That means they’re legally binding in the same way as written agreements.

So, as a tenant, your landlord is still required to meet their statutory obligations to you. You’re entitled to heating, running water, and a home that meets health and safety requirements, among other necessities.

Meanwhile, tenants will also need to keep their side of the bargain. That includes paying rent on time, not subletting the property or making alterations without the landlord’s permission, as well as taking good care of the interior and exterior of the building.

Am I covered by a verbal tenancy agreement?

If you don’t have a written tenancy agreement, how do you know if you have a verbal one?

To have a valid verbal tenancy agreement, the landlord or tenant must have made an offer for renting the property. This offer must have been agreed upon by both parties, then payment made for rent. All parties should be capable of consenting to the agreement, and not acting under duress. It should also be ensured that the contract does not break the law.

If all these conditions are met, then you have successfully entered into a verbal tenancy contract – and with it, you have access to all the associated protections.

Can evictions go ahead without a tenancy agreement?

Important issues like evictions can be confusing if you have no tenancy agreement. “What are my rights when it comes to evictions?” The answer is relatively simple.

Yes, evictions can still go ahead. As previously discussed, tenancy agreements are legally binding whether they’re verbal or written. That means the landlord has the statutory right to repossess the property, regardless of the type of contract.

However, without a written agreement, it’s not possible to use a section 21 notice to evict tenants. In these circumstances, a landlord would have to use a section 8 notice. Serving a section 8 notice is more complex and time-consuming, as, in most cases, you’ll need to prove the grounds for eviction in court. If you’re unsure about which is the right notice for your case, it’s worth speaking with an expert landlord and tenant solicitor beforehand.

Why is it important to have a written tenancy agreement?

So, if verbal tenancy agreements offer many of the same protections as a written tenancy, what’s the downside? Written tenancy agreements are essential because of the additional security they provide for tenants and landlords.

The problem with verbal agreements is that they are difficult to prove. With a written agreement, every issue is addressed clearly in writing, with signatures from both parties. If any issue is disputed, it’s easy to see what was agreed in the contract.

Without this written contract, it’s hard for parties and courts to determine whether something was agreed to or not. It’s also difficult to prove when the tenancy officially started and ended. That makes it harder to determine the correct notice period for tenants.

Draft your rental agreement with experienced solicitors

Whether you’re a landlord or tenant, written rental agreements keep your tenancy secure. So, it’s essential that every detail is clear and accurate. Osbourne Pinner Solicitors have vast experience in this areas, so we have the expertise to support you through every step.

Our landlord and tenant solicitors provide expert legal assistance for your peace of mind, including reviewing and drafting rental agreements. If you need further support with eviction proceedings or other landlord or tenant matters, we’re here to help.

Speak with our experienced team today to get started. Contact us on 0203 983 5080 or via [email protected]. Alternatively, you can use our easy online contact form to get in touch.

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