Assured shorthold tenancy agreement

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What is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement?

An Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement establishes the terms of a letting between a landlord and a tenant for a specified term at an agreed rate. Both parties undertake certain duties in regard to the property, rent, deposit, and repair. Depending on the term of the tenancy, there are various rules about termination. Both the landlord and the tenant undertake certain duties under an assured shorthold tenancy agreement. 

Key features of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement: 

  • Property and common parts;
  • Term and termination;
  • Rent and deposit;
  • Joint and several liability;
  • Service of notices;
  • Possibility of periodic tenancy after the term ends.

Tenants: Obligations, liabilities and consents

Under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement a tenant contracts to place themselves under certain obligations in relation to the property. These often include the obligation to: 

  • Occupy the property as their principal home.
  • Take reasonable care of it and protect it from damage.
  • Not use property for illegal, immoral or antisocial purpose.
  • Not do anything which may be a nuisance to neighbours.
  • Repair damages caused by them.
  • Promptly replace any broken glass.
  • Inform the landlord of the need for repair.
  • Inform the landlord when away for more than 28 days.
  • Secure property when it is unoccupied

Under an AST, a tenant is often liable to pay rent (and other charges, such as bills) by an agreed date. If they fail to do so, they are liable to pay interest (capped at 3% of the Bank of England's rate) on overdue rent. It is also standard for a tenant to be liable to pay a deposit (capped at 5 weeks’ worth of rent in most circumstances).  

It is also common for tenants to have to ask the landlord’s consent for certain activities. These may include: 

  • Allowing other adults to stay at the property 
  • Using the property for business purposes 
  • Keeping pets at the property 
  • Making alterations to the property, including decorating 
  • Assigning or subletting the property. 

Upon the termination of the AST, the tenant will be obliged under the contract to return the property in the same condition as when it was let (excluding wear and tear). They must also return keys, remove all of their possessions from the property and provide forwarding addresses. 

Landlords: Obligations, liabilities and consents

A landlord will also be under obligations in relation to the property under an AST. These obligations typically include:

  • Giving the tenant possession of it at the beginning of tenancy.
  • Giving the tenant appropriate information for them to comply with the agreement.
  • Not interrupting the tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment of property.
  • Keeping it and its installations in repair and proper working conditions.
  • Getting a comprehensive insurance policy for property.
  • Giving the tenant notice before accessing property.
  • Storing tenant’s possessions for one month after the end of the tenancy.

Where a tenant asks for the landlord’s consent for one of the above mentioned activities, such as having an adult to stay, the landlord cannot unreasonably withhold consents. 

Under an AST, a landlord is entitled to increase rent where it is an option by serving a detailed notice. They are also entitled to receive a deposit from the tenant, provided that it is placed in a tenant deposit scheme, and make deductions from the deposit for certain purposes, included repairs required due to the tenant’s fault. 

A landlord has the right to terminate a tenant and following the Housing Act 1988 they must follow certain procedures for giving notice. The current Coronavirus Regulations have temporarily amended these notice periods. Landlords are also entitled to include and exercise break clauses in ASTs. 

Before renting, a landlord must also obtain consents. These include, where relevant, consents from any: 

  • Shared owners 
  • Mortgagees 
  • Superior landlords 
  • Insurers 
  • Adults living in the property with the landlord as a partner or spouse 
  • Lender 

If a landlord is entering into an AST with the intention of renting a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), a landlord will also need to ensure they obtain a HMO licence. 

How long is an assured shorthold tenancy agreement?

Whilst there is no minimum term for an assured shorthold tenancy agreement, 6 or 12 months is the most common duration. Legislate's assured shorthold tenancy agreement can be configured to convert into a rolling periodic at the end of the initial fixed term. A break clause can also be inserted if required.

Why Legislate your ASTs? 

Legislate’s patented knowledge graph approach (United States patent 11,087,219) understands and reads your contracts in a new and novel way. It allows obligations and restrictions under a contract to be automatically retrieved and visible to ensure that both parties know exactly what their contracts mean. Furthermore, our approach makes managing your properties a seamless process with our reminders on contract anniversaries and updates on the progress of your contracts. 

Far aside from providing invaluable insights into your contacts, saving you time and cost, Legislate’s ASTs: 

  • Are lawyer approved, fair and written in plain English
  • Allow users to choose between a HMO, Bedsit or Sole Occupancy
  • Support permitted occupiers, guarantors, pets and special terms
  • Offer a better user experience to your tenants who can now access their tenancy information at anytime on any device.

Once you have generated one AST on Legislate, your terms and contacts will be remembered meaning that serving a  how to rent letter, rent increase letter, tenancy amendment letter, section 8 and 21 notices to your tenants is a quick, seamless and easy process. 

How to create an Assured shorthold tenancy contract with Legislate

Creating an Assured shorthold tenancy agreement with Legislate is effortless. Specify the type of tenancy (HMO, bedsit or sole occupancy) and provide the terms of the agreement by answering simple questions. Invite the tenant when you are happy with the terms.

Screenshot of the Legislate terms tab

Once the tenant has reviewed the contract and accepted the terms they can sign. Legislate also supports witnessing should you require this.

For more information on how to create your agreements with Legislate, sign up, read our assured shorthold tenancy contract tutorial or book an introductory call with one of our team members.

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Assured shorthold tenancy agreement

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