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:

  • Start date;
  • Deposit protection;
  • Property and common parts;
  • Term and termination;
  • Rent and deposit;
  • Joint and several liability;
  • Service of notices;
  • Possibility of periodic tenancy after the initial fixed term ends;
  • Valid in England and Wales.

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. A tenant's obligations are often 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
  • Pay council tax


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 rent arrears. It is also standard for a tenant to be liable to pay a deposit (capped at 5 weeks’ worth of rent in most circumstances).


A tenant is not a lodger. A lodger has less rights than a tenant as they do not have exclusive possession of the room they are licensing. This means that because they are staying in the landlord's main home they can be evicted without a court order if they breach the terms of their lodger licence agreement.


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 expiry 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:

  • Registering the tenant's deposit in one the government approved tenancy deposit schemes
  • Providing a how to rent guide to the tenant as well as an energy performance certificate and gas safety certificate (if applicable) at the start of the tenancy
  • Giving the tenant possession of the property 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 private 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 tenancy 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. The HMO licence requirements will vary between local authorities and landlords will need to apply to their local councils for a licence.

An AST is not suitable for landlords who wish to rent out a room in their main home to a lodger. When this is the case, the live-in landlord will need to enter into a lodger licence agreement.


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. Alternatively a fixed term tenancy can be created without the option to convert into a periodic tenancy. A break clause can also be inserted if required.

How long do you have to sign a tenancy agreement?

A landlord and letting agent will usually reserve a property once the holding deposit has been paid and circulate a tenancy agreement shortly afterwards. This means that you will need to sign the tenancy agreement before your prospective move-in date which can be as far as 1 year away or as soon as the next day. If you change your mind about signing the tenancy agreement, the landlord will be entitled to keeping the holding deposit which is capped to 1 week's rent.


What is the difference between an assured shorthold tenancy agreement and an assured tenancy?

An assured tenancy is often used by councils and Housing associations and gives tenants long-term tenancy rights. Assured tenancies have security of tenure which means they do not have an expiry date. Assured shorthold tenancies do not have security of tenure.

What types of AST can I create on Legislate?

Below are some examples of assured shorthold tenancies which can be created easily with Legislate:

Below are some examples of bedsit tenancies which can be created easily with Legislate:


Below are some examples of HMO tenancies which can be created easily with Legislate:

Finally you can create rolling tenancies with Legislate which can kick in automatically after 6 or 12 months and support break clauses, shared facilities, letting agents, superior landlords and insured risks as well.

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
  • Compliant with the Tenant Fees Act 2019
  • Allow users to choose between a HMO, Bedsit or Sole Occupancy
  • Support permitted occupiers, guarantors, pets, cleaning to a professional standard and special terms
  • Appropriate clauses for data protection
  • Offer a better user experience to your tenants who can now access a copy of the agreement and key tenancy information at anytime on any device.
  • The Legislate AST can be created and signed by an authorised letting agent or the landlord

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 eviction 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.

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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