Tenancy Agreements

Students sat in a room in their halls
The information set out in this Guide is general guidance for students. It should not be seen as definitive or legal advice 

Tenancy Agreements

So, you're about to dive into the world of renting, and you might be wondering what this whole "tenancy agreement" thing is. No worries, we've got the lowdown for you in a way that's easy to understand.

Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)

This is the most common type of tenancy. It can be for a fixed term (a set period of time) or periodic (week-by-week or month-by-month). Your landlord can't kick you out without a court order. If the agreement confuses you, book an appointment with the SU Advice Service – we'll give it a once-over before you sign.


These come into play when the owner lives with you. You're an 'excluded occupier,' not a tenant. You have limited eviction protection. You can stay until your landlord asks you to go, or for as long as your agreement says. Your landlord can evict you by giving reasonable notice (which can be verbal) and doesn’t need a court order.

Joint Tenancy Agreements

If you and your friends are on one agreement, it's a joint tenancy. For students in Cornwall, joint tenancies are very common. Important points:

  • Everyone is responsible for rent and property damage.
  • If someone doesn’t pay rent, others might have to cover the cost.
  • Landlords can't kick out one person – it's all or nothing.
  • You decide between yourselves who gets which room.
  • You are responsible for rent until your tenancy ends, even if you leave your course early.
  • Most agreements are for a fixed term, so check it to see if you can end your tenancy early. If you are a joint tenant, you will need the agreement of the other tenants. Otherwise, ask your landlord if you can find someone to take your place.

Living with housemates can sometimes lead to disagreements and disputes. To avoid confusion, consider creating a written agreement between yourselves before moving in to clarify each person's responsibilities for paying bills and other shared expenses. This can help prevent misunderstandings down the line.

Individual Tenancy Agreements

Each person has their own deal. Simple:

  • You pay your rent, handle damages in your room.
  • You may not have a say if a roommate leaves.
  • If you want out of your agreement early, it's negotiable with the landlord.


This is a person with property in the UK who vouches for you. They're liable if you can't pay rent or damage fees. There are some guarantor services like ‘Housing Hand’ available for a monthly charge. No guarantor? Landlords might ask for a hefty upfront payment.

Guarantor's Role:

They sign a clause on the tenancy agreement or a separate form – a 'special deed of guarantee.'

Make sure they carefully read what they sign up for. If you are a joint tenant and another joint tenant stops paying or causes damage, your guarantor could become liable for all that is owed, not just your share.

Tenancy Agreement Checklist

Here's what you need to check:

  • Landlord's name and address.
  • Your details and the property address.
  • Start and end dates.
  • Names for joint tenancies.
  • Rent amount, payment frequency, and due dates.
  • Conditions for rent increases.
  • What's included in the rent.
  • Deposit details and protection scheme.
  • Any way you can leave your agreement early (Break clause).
  • Additional services provided by the landlord.

Our Tip: Always get a written agreement. Once terms are set, both you and the landlord sign it. They should hand you a copy, and if you're in a joint deal, each person should have one.

Questions or concerns? Feel free to contact us via email with any questions at advice@thesu.org.uk or to book an SU Advice appointment, please use our booking system here.

Happy renting!

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Falmouth & Exeter Students' Union
Penryn Campus
Penryn, Cornwall
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