Lease (tenancy agreement)
A tenancy agreement (often called a ‘lease’) may be in writing or it may be verbal. It may be for a fixed term (eg 6 or 12 months) or periodic (usually month to month).
Fixed-term agreements are more secure because they make it harder for the landlord to evict you, but it can be expensive if you want to move out before the end of the fixed term. Only commit yourself to a fixed-term agreement if you are reasonably sure that you want to stay for the full term of the agreement.
Make sure you are happy with the condition of the property before you pay any money and before you move in. If the landlord offers or agrees to repair or improve the property before you move in (eg install a heater), make sure it is included in the tenancy agreement or get the promise in writing.
If there is a written tenancy agreement, you should be given a copy before you sign it. If necessary, seek advice before you sign, especially if there are ‘additional terms’ attached. You must be given a copy of the agreement within 14 days of signing.