A tenancy agreement is a legal document between landlord and tenant. It may be written or oral. The agreement contains the terms and conditions of the tenancy, such as the lengthy of the agreement, the rent payable and what is and isn't allowed in the property, such as pets.
Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST)
Since the late 90’s, the AST has been the most common form of tenancy agreement and sets out the obligations of both tenant and landlord. The most important aspect of this agreement is that the landlord has the right to repossess the property at the end of the agreed term.
How long can the agreement last for?
Despite its name, the agreement does not have to be short and can continue as long as both parties are happy for it to do so. There is no minimum term specified, either, although the tenant has the right to remain in the property for at least six months.
At the end of the term if the tenancy agreement is not renewed, it then becomes what is known as a Statutory Periodic Assured Shorthold Agreement. The terms of the original tenancy agreement still apply, but the tenancy continues on the rent schedule.
There’s also the Contractual Periodic Tenancy; this is when no term for the end of the let is set and the tenancy agreement simply continues until either party brings it to an end.
Regardless of which status you agreement is in (fixed term or statutory), the landlord still has to give two months notice to the tenant and can’t obtain possession (brfore 6 months of the tenancy agreement has elapsed) other than by satisfying certain of the prescribed grounds.
If the fixed term is for three or more years, however, a deed must be drawn up by a solicitor.
When is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement not suitable?
An Assured Shorthold Tenancy is not suitable for some circumstances where it should NOT be used:
- If the property receives more than £100k per year in rent,
- If the property receives very low, or no rent at all,
- If the property is a holiday home,
- If the property is let to a private limited company,
- If the property is owned by the Crown or a government department,
- If the property is being let with more than two acres of agricultural land or an agricultural tenancy.
Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme
All landlords who take deposits for Assured Shorthold Tenancies in England and Wales must join a Government-authorised tenancy deposit protection scheme. Within 14 days of receiving the deposit the Landlord must provide the tenant with details of the scheme chosen by him to safeguard the deposit. More details on Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme.