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What is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement?

Blog Guide to Renting
16.03.18

There are various tenancy agreements that are available when renting, but it’s important to know which one is right for you. The most popular agreement – and the one that ranks above the rest – is an assured shorthold tenancy agreement (AST). To put your mind at ease, here’s all you need to know about an AST before you sign on that dotted line.

What is it?

It’s the most common type of tenancy agreement and the majority of new tenancies are automatically assigned to this agreement. Before you move in, you should be given a tenancy contract to sign. Under an AST your tenancy usually lasts for a minimum of twelve months.

This agreement will outline how much rent you pay, who is responsible for any repairs or damages, and exactly how long your tenancy will be. From the start of this contract, you are committed to paying the agreed installments on time.

Who can use it?

 A tenancy agreement can be an AST only if all of the following apply:

  • The property to be rented is private
  • The tenancy started on/after 15th January 1989
  • The property is your/the tenant’s main living accommodation
  • The landlord does not live at the property

A tenancy agreement cannot be an AST if:

  • The tenancy was agreed or began before 15th January 1989
  • The rent is less than £250 a year (less than £1,000 in London)
  • The rent is more than £100,000 a year
  • The property is a holiday let
  • The landlord is a local council
  • It is a business tenancy or tenancy of a licensed premises

These guidelines have been taken from www.gov.uk.

What are the benefits?

Under an AST you have the right to stay in your rented accommodation until the fixed term ends. The only way your tenancy can come to an early end is if your landlord can convince the court that there are good reasons for your eviction e.g. extensive damage to the property or rent arrears.

As a tenant, having an AST gives you the right to…

  • Enforce repairs to be completed
  • Have your tenancy deposit protected within a deposit protection scheme
  • Be treated fairly regardless of your gender, race, beliefs, sexuality, or disability
  • Receive at least 24 hours’ written notice from the landlord or letting agent if they wish to enter the property (except in an emergency, such as a water leak)

Why opt for an AST?

When it comes to tenancy agreements – besides ASTs –  there are the following:

  • Non-assured shorthold tenancies (landlords do not have to give notice to end the tenancy)
  • Excluded tenancies (for landlords that live with their tenants e.g. lodgers)
  • Assured tenancies (mainly used in the past and for housing associations)
  • Regulated tenancies (used before 1989)
  • Company lets (when a property is rented to a company and not an individual tenant)

Ensuring you have an assured shorthold tenancy agreement is definitely the right path to go down. Not only do you have all of the tenancy rights mentioned above, you also have the peace of mind knowing that your rent cannot increase without your agreement throughout your contract.

We hope this has helped to clear up any tenancy-agreement worries you might have had. If you’re still a little bit wary of renting for the first time, our blog has you covered. You can always ask for advice by sending us a message on Facebook or tweeting us @EssLiving.

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