Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement

An Assured Shorthold Tenancy is used where the landlord does not live at the property. The tenancy agreement can be used for a single tenant who occupies the property on their own, or a group of tenants who jointly occupy the property and share responsibility. If you want to let an unfurnished house or flat situated in England or Wales an assured shorthold tenancy agreement is what you require. Tenancy agreements are partly contractual, i.e. an agreement between landlord and tenant which can be enforced by a court of law. And, particularly with residential tenancies (as opposed to commercial or business tenancies), they are partly governed by statutory (Parliamentary) rules which cannot be over-ridden by the contractual common law rules.

An Assured Shorthold Tenancy can be for any length of time. The landlord may agree a fixed term of less than six months if the tenant agrees. However, the tenant has a right to stay in the property for a minimum period of six months. This means that even if a fixed term of less than six months is agreed, the landlord does not have a guaranteed right to possession if the tenant refuses to leave during the first six months of the tenancy.

Key Fact

Following new rules introduced in April 2007, the deposit for all new Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements must be placed within a government authorised tenancy deposit scheme.
The landlord must provide details of the chosen deposit scheme to the tenant within 14 days of receipt of the deposit. Government authorised tenancy deposit schemes do not apply to Common Law Tenancies.

The tenancy agreement sets out the obligations of the landlord and the tenant(s). As long as there are no conflicts with the law, a tenant and a landlord can make any type of arrangements regarding the tenancy and all these arrangements will be regarded as a part of the tenancy.

An Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement will cover:

  • Name of the tenant and the landlord.
  • The present address of the property which is being let to the tenant.
  • The date the tenancy had started.
  • Deposit amount
  • Details of the rent amount and frequency of rent payments.
  • Tenant’s obligation to keep the property in good condition.
  • Tenant’s obligation to pay service bills and council tax.
  • Not to cause nuisance or annoyance to others
  • Not to keep pets without written permission
  • Landlord’s obligation to keep the property in repair.
  • Landlord’s obligation to insure the property.
  • What happens at the end of the tenancy.

Contractual Tenancy Agreement – Common Law Tenancy Agreement

A Contractual Tenancy Agreement may be used in any of the following tenancy situations where an assured shorthold tenancy should not be used:

  • where the annual rent exceeds £25,000 or a proportion of it;
  • where the premises being let is self-contained accommodation in a property that has been converted from a single property to multiple units (e.g. a house converted into flats), where the landlord lives;
  • where the property is not the tenant’s principal home.

The issues covered in a contractual tenancy agreement cover the same areas as for an assured shorthold tenancy agreement, covering the responsibilities and obligations of both landlord and tenant.

Tenancy Agreement (unfurnished)- Scotland)

Key Fact

Private landlords letting property in Scotland must be registered unless all the properties they let are exempt.

This tenancy agreement sets out the obligations of the landlord and the tenant(s). The important Form AT5 (Scottish Notice of a Short Assured Tenancy) and a Repairing Standard provisions letter, must both be given to your tenant before the tenancy agreement is signed and dated. A Short Assured Tenancy must be for at least 6 months initially. An inventory should also be prepared of the furnishings or equipment included in the let.

A standard Tenancy Agreement (unfurnished) in Scotland should cover:

  • Details of the rent amount and frequency of rent payments.
  • Deposit amount.
  • Tenant’s obligation to keep the property in good condition.
  • Tenant’s obligation to pay service bills and council tax.
  • Not to cause nuisance or annoyance to others
  • Not to keep pets without written permission
  • Landlord’s obligation to keep the property in repair.
  • Landlord’s obligation to insure the property.
  • What happens at the end of the tenancy.

Tenancy Agreement (furnished) Scotland

A Short Assured Tenancy Agreement is used for a furnished property in Scotland. A Short Assured Tenancy is used where the landlord does not live at the property.
The tenancy agreement can be used for a single tenant who occupies the property on their own, or a group of tenants who jointly occupy the property and share responsibility.

Again the important Form AT5 (Scottish Notice of a Short Assured Tenancy) and a Repairing Standard provisions letter, must both be given to your tenant before the tenancy agreement is signed and dated.