Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST) are the most common type of tenancy agreement.
Discover all its criteria and when this agreement cannot be used.
Most private tenants receive assured shorthold tenancies, usually for 6 or 12 months.
The tenant must protect their deposit and give them at least 2 months’ notice to leave.
Assured Shorthold Tenancies allow the tenant to remain in the property for the first six months or an initial fixed period.
In accordance with the Housing Act 1988, in Assured Shorthold Tenancies, the landlord has the right to guaranteed possession after the initial six-month period.
Assured Shorthold Tenancies protect the tenant in terms of the sum of rent.
The main requirement with this type of agreement is that the landlord and tenant agree on the minimum term and the amount of rent. This means that the tenant has the right to challenge excessively high rent or changes in the agreed rent.
The Housing Act 1988 has several main criteria for Assured Shorthold Tenancies
- The property must be let as separate accommodation
- The property must be the tenant’s main or principal home
- The tenant should be an individual
You cannot use a shorthold tenancy when a property is being let:
- for more than £100,000 per year
- as a holiday home
- for a very low rent / at no cost
- to a tenant while the landlord is residing in the same property
- with more than two acres of agricultural land or an agricultural tenancy
- under a tenancy which began prior to the 15 January 1989, or which was formerly a protected tenancy
- to a private limited company
- belongs to the Crown or a government department
Assured Shorthold Tenancies were introduced in 1997. Afterwards, it has become the main type of tenancy agreement used by most landlords to let residential properties.
All tenancies which started on or after 28th February 1997 are classified as Assured Shorthold Tenancies.
The Housing Act 1988, revised in 1996, aimed to improve the rights of both landlord and tenant and to make letting a property more appealing.
The Housing Act 1996 gave tenants the right to question excessively high or increasing rates of rent. This resulted in a higher number of people choosing to rent properties.
Most landlords let residential properties using Assured Shorthold Tenancies if they let the property to an individual and is a separate property to the landlord’s one. However, there are circumstances in which you cannot use Assured Shorthold Tenancies as a form of tenancy.
Assured Shorthold Tenancies are right for your agreements if you:
- Moved into the property on or after 28th February 1997
- Are renting from a private landlord
- Have rights which entitle you to privacy in the property where the landlord cannot enter the property without mutual agreement
- Are paying less than £100,000 per annum in rent.
- The landlord is not living in the same property as you
You may also have Assured Shorthold Tenancies if you moved into the property between 15th January 1989 and the 28th February 1997, and the landlord told you that you were entering into an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement.
Are Assured Shorthold Tenancies different to Assured Tenancies?
The main difference between the two types of tenancy is the legislation regarding the landlord regaining possession of the property.
Assured Shorthold Tenancies entitle the landlord to a possession order immediately after the initial agreed period, which is usually for six months. The landlord is, therefore, able to evict the tenant after the initial fixed term without a legal reason. If this is the case, and the landlord does not wish to renew the tenancy, then they must give at least two months’ notice to end the tenancy.
An Assured Tenancy generally gives the tenant more security.
In fact, after the agreement ends, the tenant can remain in the property until the landlord obtains an order of possession from the courts.
The landlord needs to prove to the court the grounds for repossession. For example: has the tenant missed rent payments or disregarded the terms of the agreement?
The landlord must inform the tenant in writing if they are to seek possession of the property through a court order. The tenant does not have to move out of the property until the courts have issued an order. When this happens, they must leave the property by the date on the court order.