Assured shorthold tenancies
Most private tenants have an assured shorthold tenancy (AST).
You usually have an AST if:
your original tenancy started on or after 28 February 1997
you do not live with your landlord
You will not have an AST if your rent is:
more than £100,000 a year
less than £1,000 a year in London or £250 a year outside London
What is an assured shorthold tenancy?
An assured shorthold tenancy is the most common tenancy if you rent from a private landlord or letting agent.
The main feature that makes an AST different from other tenancies is your landlord can evict you without a reason. They must follow the correct procedure to do this.
ASTs can be:
fixed term – often 6 or 12 months
periodic – rolling weekly or monthly
Some contracts have a break clause which allows you to end the contract early by giving notice.
Written statement of terms
If your landlord does not give you a contract you can ask for a written statement of the basic terms of your agreement.
Your landlord must provide the following information in writing if you request it:
start date of tenancy
rent payable and rent due date
the length of any fixed term agreement
You also have the right to the name and address of your landlord.
What your landlord must do
Before you move in your landlord must give you the latest copy of the:
gas safety certificate
energy performance certificate for the building
If your tenancy started or was renewed on or after 1 October 2015, your landlord must also give you a current copy of the How to rent guide.
If you pay rent weekly, you're entitled to a rent book.
Your landlord must also:
follow eviction procedures if they want you to leave
protect your deposit in a government approved scheme
arrange a yearly gas safety check if there are gas appliances
They must also carry out repairs they are responsible for.
Your landlord cannot increase your rent during a fixed term unless either:
you agree to it
your contract contains a rent review clause
A rent review clause usually 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
Your landlord can give you 1 month's notice of a rent increase if the fixed term has ended.
You could negotiate with your landlord or challenge them about a rent increase.
At the end of a fixed term
When your contract ends you have different options.
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.
You do not have to leave just because the landlord tells you to or because your fixed term contract has ended.
The landlord must follow eviction procedures unless you agree to go. They must give you notice and then get a court order to evict you.
Last updated: 6 January 2020