What is a Student Tenancy Agreement?

A student tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract that establishes the terms under which a student rents accommodation from a landlord or property management company.

This agreement outlines the rights and responsibilities of both parties, including rent payment, property maintenance, and termination procedures. By signing a tenancy agreement, the student and the landlord agree to abide by the outlined terms, ensuring a clear and legally protected tenancy period.

Types of Student Tenancy Agreements

There are several types of student tenancy agreements you may encounter in the UK:

  • Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST): This is the most common type of tenancy for students. It typically lasts for a fixed period, often one year, and gives the landlord the right to repossess the property at the end of the term.
  • Fixed-term tenancy: This type of tenancy has a set start and end date, usually one year. Once the fixed term ends, you may need to sign a new agreement, or it may automatically become a periodic tenancy.
  • Periodic (rolling) tenancy: This type of tenancy doesn’t have a fixed end date and continues weekly or monthly until either the landlord or tenant gives notice to end it.
  • Joint tenancy agreements: In this type of agreement, all tenants are jointly responsible for the rent and the property. If one tenant does not pay their share, the others are responsible for covering it.
  • Individual room agreements: Each tenant has a separate agreement with the landlord, meaning they are only responsible for their own rent and obligations. This type of agreement is less common for student properties.


Key Features of Student Tenancy Agreements

A comprehensive student tenancy agreement should clearly outline the following key features:

  • Parties Involved: Full names and contact details of the tenant(s) and landlord or property management company.
  • Property Details: The full address of the rented property.
  • Tenancy Period: The specific start and end dates of the tenancy.
  • Financial Terms: The exact rent amount, payment frequency (e.g., monthly), due date, and acceptable payment methods.
  • Deposit: The amount of the security deposit, how it will be protected (e.g., deposit protection scheme), and conditions for its return.
  • Bills and Utilities: Clearly states who is responsible for paying for utilities like gas, electricity, water, internet, and council tax.
  • Maintenance: Outlines the landlord and tenant’s responsibilities regarding property maintenance and repairs.
  • Termination: Details the notice periods required for both the landlord and tenant to end the tenancy.

Rights and Responsibilities of Student Tenants

As a student tenant, you have certain rights and responsibilities that are important to understand.


Your Rights

  • Right to a safe and habitable property: Your landlord is responsible for ensuring the property is safe to live in and has working heating, hot water, and electricity.
  • Right to quiet enjoyment: You can live in your home peacefully without undue disturbance from your landlord or other tenants.
  • Right to privacy: Your landlord cannot enter the property without your permission, except in emergencies or with reasonable notice.
  • Protection from unfair eviction: Your landlord can only evict you in specific circumstances and must follow the proper legal procedures.


Your Responsibilities

  • Paying rent on time: Ensure that you pay your rent on time and in the agreed-upon manner.
  • Maintaining the property: Keep the property clean and tidy and report any repairs needed to the landlord.
  • Respecting neighbours: Be considerate of your neighbours by keeping noise levels down and avoiding disruptive behaviour.
  • Complying with the tenancy agreement: Adhere to the terms and conditions outlined in your tenancy agreement.


Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords

Landlords also have certain rights and responsibilities contributing to a fair and secure tenancy.


Landlord Rights

  • Right to receive rent: Landlords are entitled to receive rent payments on time and in full as outlined in the tenancy agreement.
  • Right to access the property: Landlords have the right to access the property for inspections, repairs, or maintenance with reasonable notice (usually 24 hours).
  • Right to regain possession: Landlords have the right to regain possession of their property at the end of a fixed-term tenancy or with proper notice in a periodic tenancy.


Landlord Responsibilities

  • Ensuring property safety: Landlords are responsible for ensuring the property meets health and safety standards, including gas and electrical safety regulations.
  • Addressing repairs promptly: They must promptly address any reported maintenance issues or necessary repairs.
  • Protecting the tenant’s deposit: Landlords must safeguard the tenant’s deposit in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme.
  • Respecting the tenant’s privacy: Landlords must respect the tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment and privacy, refraining from entering the property without permission except in emergencies.

Understanding Deposits and Deposit Protection

A tenancy deposit is a sum of money paid by the tenant to the landlord at the start of the tenancy. It serves as security for the landlord against any unpaid rent, damage to the property, or breach of the tenancy agreement.

In the UK, landlords must legally protect tenancy deposits in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme (TDP). This protects the tenant’s money and ensures it is returned at the end of the tenancy, subject to any deductions for damages or unpaid rent.


Checking Your Deposit Protection

  • Your landlord must provide you with prescribed information about the deposit protection scheme within 30 days of receiving the deposit. This includes details of the scheme used and how to raise a dispute if needed.
  • You can also check if your deposit is protected by searching the scheme’s website online or contacting them directly.


Disputes Over Deposits

If you and your landlord disagree about the amount of deposit to be returned, the tenancy deposit scheme offers a free dispute resolution service to help resolve the matter fairly.

Man counting coins

Ending a Student Tenancy

There are several ways a student tenancy can come to an end:

  • End of the fixed term: If you have a fixed-term tenancy, it will naturally end on the agreed-upon date. There is no need to give notice unless your contract states otherwise.
  • Mutual agreement: Both you and your landlord can agree to end the tenancy early. This should be documented in writing to ensure clarity.
  • Break clause: Some tenancy agreements include a break clause that allows either party to end the tenancy early, usually after a certain period and with a specified notice period. Check your contract to see if this applies.


Notice Periods

  • Tenant: If you want to end your tenancy early (and there is no break clause), you will usually need to give your landlord at least 28 days’ written notice.
  • Landlord: The landlord can only end your tenancy under specific circumstances, such as rent arrears or breach of contract. They must follow strict legal procedures and usually have to give you at least two months’ notice.


Common Issues and How to Handle Them

Student tenancies can sometimes encounter challenges, but knowing how to handle them can save you stress and protect your rights.


Common Issues

  • Repairs not being done: If your landlord fails to address necessary repairs promptly, communicate the issue in writing and keep a record of all correspondence. If the problem persists, you can take further action, such as reporting it to the local council.
  • Disputes over deposits: If you disagree with your landlord about deductions from your deposit, try to negotiate with them first. If this fails, you can use the free dispute resolution service the tenancy deposit scheme offers.
  • Rent increases: Your landlord can only increase your rent under specific conditions and with proper notice. Check your tenancy agreement for details.


Tips for Handling Issues

  • Keep records: Keep records of all communication with your landlord, including emails, letters, and text messages. This will be helpful if you need to escalate the issue.
  • Seek advice: If you need clarification on your rights or how to proceed, seek advice from your student union, a housing advice service, or a solicitor specialising in housing law.
  • Know your rights: Familiarise yourself with your rights as a tenant by reading your tenancy agreement and researching relevant housing laws.
  • Act promptly: Address any issues as soon as they arise to prevent them from escalating.


Tips for Finding and Securing a Student Tenancy

Finding the right student accommodation can be daunting, but with careful planning and research, you can secure a comfortable and affordable place to call home.


Start Early

  • Begin your search as early as possible, ideally a few months before you need to move in. Competition for student housing can be fierce, so starting early gives you more options.
  • Research different areas and consider factors like proximity to your university, transport links, local amenities, and safety.


View Properties in Person

  • Always try to view properties in person before signing a tenancy agreement. This allows you to assess the property’s condition, the rooms’ size, and the overall atmosphere.
  • Take note of any potential issues, such as dampness, mould, or faulty appliances, and ask the landlord or letting agent to address them before you move in.


Read and Understand the Tenancy Agreement

  • Carefully read the tenancy agreement before signing anything. Ensure you understand all the terms and conditions, including the rent amount, deposit, and notice periods.
  • If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification or seek advice from a professional.


Resources for Finding Student Accommodation

  • University housing offices: Many universities offer accommodation services to help students find suitable housing.
  • Reputable letting agents: Use established letting agents with a good reputation such as Crown Luxury Homes.
  • Student housing websites: Several online platforms specialise in student accommodation, offering a wide range of properties to choose from.
  • Social media groups: Join local Facebook groups or online forums for students in your area to find potential housemates or get property recommendations.



Understanding the terms of your student tenancy agreement is crucial for a successful and stress-free renting experience. This guide has covered the essential aspects of student tenancies in the UK, including the different types of agreements, your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, the role of your landlord, deposit protection, and how to handle common issues.

By knowing your rights and responsibilities, you can ensure a smooth tenancy and protect yourself from potential problems. Remember, your tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract, so take the time to read it carefully and seek advice if you have any questions or concerns. Your university housing office, student union, or local housing advice service can provide valuable guidance and support.

With the proper knowledge and preparation, you can find suitable accommodation and enjoy a positive renting experience throughout your studies.