Most private tenants have an assured shorthold tenancy. Find out the main features of this type of tenancy.
How to find out if you have an AST
You usually have an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) if:
- your original tenancy started on or after 28 February 1997
- you don't live with your landlord
You won't have an AST if your rent is:
- more than £100,000 a year
- less than £1000 a year in London or £250 a year outside London
What is an assured shorthold tenancy?
An assured shorthold tenancy is the most common type of tenancy if you rent from a private landlord or letting agent.
The main feature that makes an AST different from other types of tenancies is that your landlord can evict you without a reason. They must follow the correct procedure to do this.
There are certain things your landlord must do if you have an AST.
ASTs can be:
- fixed term - often 6 or 12 months
- periodic - rolling weekly or monthly
Some contracts contain a break clause which allows you to end the contract early by giving notice.
Written statement of terms
If your landlord doesn't 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
- any rent review clause
- 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 can't 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.
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 don't 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 06 January 2020 | © Shelter
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