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Housing Advice - Contracts
Contracts are useful documents which ensure both parties are clear as to the others’ responsibilities. Most contracts are for a fixed term of 9 to 12 months. If you have a longer contract, you may wish to request that a “break clause” be inserted into the contract.
Download our dedicated Private Housing Guide for more information on contracts and what to expect.
 
Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST)This is a fixed term agreement between the landlord and tenant either individually or as a group. There are various clauses within the contract that both the landlord and the tenant(s) must abide by. The main obligations are:
Tenant:
  • Pay the rent on time and in the manner specified
  • Keep the property clean and in good condition
  • Not cause a noise nuisance
  • Report any repairs or damage as soon as they occur
  • Return the property in the same condition as it was when you moved in
Landlord:
  • Let you live in the property free from harassment (the landlord has to give reasonable (usually 24 hours) notice if he wishes to enter the property).
  • To protect the security deposit in one of the Government Schemes
  • To insure the building and the landlord’s contents (the landlord will not insure your belongings).
  • To carry out repairs within a reasonable time unless it is found to be the tenant’s neglect or misuse.
 
Joint vs individual tenanciesOften students with an AST sign one contract with everyone’s names included. This means you are individually and jointly liable for the cost and state of the property. In practice, this means that if one tenant stops paying rent, then the others are responsible for ensuring the full amount is paid. If you sign a group contract the landlord will charge a total rent and it is up to you to decide the proportionate share of rent for each room.
You could negotiate individual tenancies leaving you liable for the rent in your room only, but still jointly responsible for the shared rooms (e.g. kitchen) and all of the household bills.
 
Licence agreementIf you live with a live-in landlord, it is likely you will have a Licence Agreement. The important points are:
  • Your deposit does not habe to be protected in a scheme
  • The landlord can enter your room without giving notice.
  • The landlord does not have to go to court to evict you, but would be expected to give you reasonable notice.
 
What should be in your contractDownload our full Private Housing Guide for a checklist of what should be in your contract. And remember, you can ask the Student Hub team to check your contract for you before you sign on that dotted line.

Student Hub, Imperial College, London, Level 3, Sherfield Building, London, SW7 2AZ
Tel: 020 7594 9444, Email: student.hub@imperial.ac.uk

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