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Room Only Tenancy Agreements - how do they work?


Room Only Tenancy Agreement

A room only tenancy agreement is a type of agreement between a landlord and tenant that outlines the terms of renting a specific room in a property.

This type of agreement is typically used when the tenant will be living in a shared space, such as an apartment or house, and sharing common areas with the other tenants.

You can download a Room Only Agreement HERE

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The agreement will outline the rights and responsibilities of both the landlord and tenant, as well as any rules that should be followed while living in the property. Room only tenancy agreements are important to have in place so that there is a clear understanding between both parties about what is expected.

What type of tenancy does  a Room Only agreement create?

This agreement establishes an AST for a particular room in the property, which also gives the tenant permission to use communal areas but not take control of them. The landlord is allowed to access these areas when necessary.

When should you NOT use a Room Only Tenancy Agreement?

If you wish to rent the property under a joint tenancy, then use one of our ASTs designed for renting the whole property on one agreement. This is more common when renting to families or groups of friends.

You can give each tenant a Room Only Tenancy agreement which gives them their own room plus shared use of the rest of the property, (lounge, bathroom and kitchen etc).

The main advantage of  a 'Room Only' approach is that you may get a higher rent as the sum of the parts often appears greater than the sum of the whole, and practically if one tenant leaves and a new tenant moves in you do not need to get everyone to sign a new AST Agreement, because you are only dealing with the one new tenant.

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The main disadvantage of a 'room only' approach is that there is more paperwork and if one tenant leaves it is your responsibility to find their replacement  not the other tenants.  In a jointly and severally liable scenario the other tenants are highly motivated to plug the hole in the rental payments to you as the landlord otherwise it would come out of their own pockets.  A further disadvantage is that if there is property damage in communal areas, it can be hard to assign liability under a room only agreement whereas if the tenants are jointly liable such arguments are more straight forward.

Can I not just give the individual a license to occupy rather than a room only tenancy?  

Unfortunately not.  Where the Landlord is not resident at the property an Assured Shorthold Tenancy will almost always arise and there will be protection from Eviction  under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.

How do I ensure my agreement is definitely for a Room Only AST?

Please use our document as it is suitable for this scenario.  The key ingredients are that it must expressly state that it is for a specific room, i.e. 'Room 2', 'the blue room', or the 'back room on the second floor' etc),  and it must also make provision for the payment of utilities, (gas, electric water council tax etc). 

How many tenants can live at the property?

There can be no more than three tenants (who are unrelated) living at the property. You must make yourself aware of the rules concerning Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO's) as  the property will almost always be an HMO unless there are just two individual tenants or all the tenants happen to be part of the same family.

Deposits and Room Only Tenancy Agreements

Under Room Only Tenancy Agreements you can take a deposit to protect yourself against losses but as with normal AST's you must place the deposit in an approved deposit scheme.  

And finally, the Tenant Fees Act 2019 came into force on the 1st June 2019 and it excludes fees prohibited under the Act, while it also allows for certain damages to be recoverable.  This is applicable to Room Only Agreements as well.

You can download a Room Only Agreement HERE

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Room Only Tenancy Agreements - how do they work?