Accommodation contracts

It’s best to get your tenancy agreement in writing. This sets out the rights and responsibilities for you and your landlord. Be certain that you understand and agree with all of the contract terms before you sign. Once you have signed, you’ll be bound by the terms of the agreement.

When you have found accommodation get in touch to have your contract checked before signing.

There are 2 main types of accommodation contracts:

  1. Assured shorthold tenancy agreements, commonly known as ASTs. You’ll have an AST if you rent private accommodation from a private landlord or privately-owned student accommodation.
  2. License agreements. You’ll have a license agreement if you rent a room in University Halls or you live with your landlord as their lodger.

If you’re not sure what type of contract you have, contact the SU Advice Service or you can check on the Shelter tenancy checker.

What should my contract include?

At the minimum, your contract should include the following information:

Your name (s), the landlord’s name and address, or agent’s if they are managing the property

  • The full postal address of the property
  • The start and end date of the tenancy
  • The amount of rent and deposit payable
  • Confirmation of responsibility for any bills
  • Confirmation of Landlord’s responsibility to carry out essential repairs
  • Notice required to bring the tenancy to an end

What rights do I have with an AST?

Exclusive possession of the property

This means your landlord cannot enter the property unless they have your permission and given 24 hours prior written notice.

Protection from eviction

Your landlord would need a court order to evict you, which takes time to obtain.

Protection of your security deposit

Your landlord has to protect your security deposit in one of the government tenancy deposit protection schemes and provide you with prescribed information within 30 days.


Your landlord is responsible for any essential repairs.

What are my main obligations if I have an AST?

  • Paying the rent on time
  • Notifying the landlord of extended times away
  • Reporting repairs to the landlord in writing
  • Keeping the property clean and tidy
  • Not causing any damage or nuisance

If you’re a joint tenant, you’ll have joint responsibility for these obligations. This is sometimes  described in the contract as “joint and several liability”.  For example, if one of your housemates doesn’t pay their share of the rent, you can be held liable for their unpaid rent.

What rights do I have if I have a license agreement?

You won’t have as many rights if you have a license agreement.

  • You won’t have exclusive possession. Your landlord could enter your room without notice or your permission.
  • If you pay a security deposit, this does not need to be protected.
  • Your landlord can ask you to leave with “reasonable notice” and they don’t need a court order to evict you.

What are my main obligations?

You’ll need to pay your rent and follow any agreed household rules.

Get in touch  

Once you have found accommodation get in touch to have your contract checked before signing.

Contact an adviser here

Book a telephone appointment here 

Other useful links 


Citizens Advice