Assured shorthold tenancies (AST)
The Renters Reform Bill will abolish new assured shorthold tenancies.
For now, most private tenants still have them.
Check your rights when it comes to eviction, ending your tenancy, rent increases, your tenancy agreement, repairs and deposit protection.
What is an assured shorthold tenancy?
Most private tenants have an assured shorthold tenancy (AST).
You're likely to have an AST if:
you do not live with your landlord
your tenancy started on or after 28 February 1997
Many ASTs start with a fixed term agreement, for example, 12 months. At the end of the fixed term your tenancy becomes a periodic rolling tenancy or you can agree a new fixed term.
Your landlord could use the section 21 process to end your tenancy. They can only do this in a fixed term if there's a break clause.
Your landlord does not need to give a reason for a section 21 eviction.
They could also use a different process called section 8. But they need a legal reason for this. For example, rent arrears.
Unless you agree to move out your landlord must follow the legal eviction process. They must give you notice and then get a court order to evict you.
You do not have to leave straight away just because:
the landlord tells you to
your fixed term ends
a section 21 or section 8 notice ends
Pressure to move out before your tenancy ends legally will usually count as harassment.
Ending your tenancy
Some fixed term agreements have a break clause which allows you to end the tenancy early by giving notice. Sometimes you can negotiate to end a fixed term tenancy early.
Periodic rolling tenancies are easier to end. You can give a notice to end a rolling tenancy.
At the end of a fixed term
If you want to stay, you can either:
agree a new fixed term contract – your rent may increase
stay in your home without signing a new contract – your agreement becomes periodic and rolls on monthly at the same rent
If you want to leave, you can usually end your tenancy by moving out and returning the keys by the end of the fixed term.
Check your contract to see if you have to give notice that you're leaving.
If you're a joint tenant you need to discuss what you want to do with the other tenants.
Your landlord cannot increase your rent during a fixed term unless either:
you agree to it
your contract has a rent review clause
A rent review clause sets out:
when an increase can happen
how much notice you'll get
a method for rent increases – for example, a formula for calculating the new amount
If your fixed term has ended, your landlord can give you 1 month's notice of a rent increase.
Find out more about rent increases for private tenants.
Your tenancy agreement
You can have an assured shorthold tenancy without a written agreement but most tenancies start with a contract.
Your landlord must give you a written statement of terms if you ask for it. This means:
the start date of tenancy
rent amount and date due
any rent review clause
the length of any fixed term agreement
You also have the right to the name and address of your landlord.
A written tenancy agreement can give you extra rights or responsibilities.
Repairs and safety checks
Before you move in your landlord must give you the latest copy of the:
gas safety record
electrical safety check
energy performance certificate (EPC)
Your landlord must arrange for:
gas safety checks by a Gas Safe engineer each year
electrical safety checks by a qualified electrician every 5 years
Your landlord or agent have 30 days from when they get your deposit to:
protect it in a tenancy deposit scheme
give you information about the scheme
Your landlord may not be able to give you a section 21 notice if your deposit is not protected or protected late. Find out more about the tenancy deposit protection rules.
You should get a full refund of the deposit when the tenancy ends unless the landlord has a legal reason to keep your deposit.
Last updated: 23 June 2023