Tue 01 Nov 2016 View all news articles

What is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy?

An Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement is the most frequently used tenancy agreement in the letting of residential properties. This type of agreement is also referred to as an "AST" or "Shorthold Tenancy".

Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreements are normally arranged for a six or twelve month period, but can be agreed for a longer period, e.g. 24 months. This type of tenancy allows the tenant to remain in the property for the first six months, or initial fixed period.

The main requirement with this type of agreement 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 in terms of the sum of rent. This means that the tenant has the right to challenge excessively high rent or changes in the agreed rent.

In an Assured Shorthold Tenancy the landlord has the right to guaranteed possession after the initial six month period in accordance with the Housing Act 1988.

The Housing Act 1988 defines several main criteria for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy to be set up:

• 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 a shorthold tenancy cannot be used. For example, 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
• Being let under a tenancy which began prior to the 15 January 1989, or which was formerly a protected tenancy
• Being let to a private limited company
• Owned by the Crown or a government department

Other types of tenancy agreement can be used like non-housing act tenancies (NHA) but they do not offer as much protection surrounding the possession of the property.

If you require any more advice on tenancy agreements in general, please do not hesitate to contact our Heswall lettings branch. We are always happy to help.

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