An assured shorthold tenancy agreement is the most frequently used tenancy agreement in the letting of residential properties. This type of agreement is usually shortened to an "AST".
How long do assured shorthold tenancies last?
Assured shorthold tenancy agreements are normally granted for a six-month period, but can be agreed for a longer period e.g. twelve months.
This type of tenancy allows the tenant to remain in the property for the first six months, or an agreed initial fixed period, whichever is the longer. This gives the tenant some security of tenure for that set period.
If the landlord wishes to bring the assured shorthold tenancy to an end after that set period, then they have to give two months’ notice to the tenant.
What are the requirements of an assured shorthold tenancy?
The main requirement to ensure that the tenancy is protected, and is shown to be an assured shorthold tenancy, is that the landlord and tenant agree on the minimum term and amount of rent.
An assured shorthold tenancy ensures that the tenant is protected not only in terms of a fixed period but also a fixed sum of rent.
What type of tenancy is classed as an assured shorthold tenancy?
The Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement is the agreement of choice used by almost all landlords to let residential properties which fit the relevant criteria.
The Housing Act 1988 defines the main criteria for a tenancy to be classed as an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. These include:
- 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
However, there are some circumstances in which an Assured Shorthold Tenancy cannot be used. Some of these circumstances are when a property is:
- Being let for a very high rent (more than £100,000 per year)
- Being let for a very low rent / at no cost
- Being let as a holiday home
- Being let to a tenant while the landlord is residing in the same property
- Being let with more than two acres of agricultural land or an agricultural tenancy
Deposits for assured shorthold tenancies
An assured shorthold tenancy enables the landlord to take a deposit from the tenant, however this must then be placed in a tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme.
The landlord (or their letting agent) must put the tenants’ deposit in the TDP scheme within 30 days of getting it. The landlord should provide the tenant with details of where the deposit is held.
The government-backed schemes ensures that, under an assured shorthold tenancy, the tenant will get their deposit back if they:
- meet the terms of the tenancy agreement
- don’t damage the property
- pay the rent and bills
If there are any issues with the above and the landlord is not happy to repay the deposit, the monies will remain in the TDP scheme until such disagreements are dealt with.
The deposit must be returned to the tenants within 10 days of both the landlord and tenant agreeing how much they’ll get back.
If you have any issues you would like to discuss with Assured Shorthold Tenancies, whether you are a tenant or a landlord, please contact Kathryn Hill.