General

Everything You Need to Know About ASTs

Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) are the most common form of tenancy agreement in the UK. They were introduced in the Housing Act 1988 and amended by the 1996 Act. Most new tenancies are of this kind.

Details about tenancies can be found at the government’s website.

The landlord must be a housing association or private owner. The tenancy must have begun after 15 January 1989 and be the tenant’s main accommodation, and the landlord must not share the property.


A tenancy can’t be in the form of an AST if it began before 15 January 1989 or if the rent is more than £100,000 per year or less than £250 per year (less than £1,000 in London). Restrictions also apply to business and licensed premises, holiday lets or where the landlord is a local council.

Rent Assessment Committee

The landlord is entitled to possession at the end of the fixed term, and the tenant may be removed then without having breached the tenancy agreement. If the tenancy is not being renewed, two months’ notice must be given.

Rent can also be reviewed at the end of the agreement, which should contain guidelines on this, and the tenant should be given written notice. They may appeal to the Rent Assessment Committee if they feel the rent is not justified.

The landlord is responsible for most repairs, including roof and walls, windows and doors, wiring and plumbing. The tenant must allow access for the landlord to carry out repairs, and the latter must give reasonable notice.

Each year the landlord must also arrange for a gas inspection and provide the tenant with a copy of the gas safety certificate as well as a copy of the energy performance certificate.

Disagreements

At the beginning of the tenancy the landlord will carry out an inventory check and can take a deposit from the tenant. This deposit must be protected in a government-approved scheme and the details passed to the tenant.

Property Inventory Software, such as that provided by https://inventorybase.co.uk/, is increasingly being used to avoid disagreements at the end of the tenancy when the tenant’s deposit should be returned in full.

The exception to this is where the landlord feels they have the right to make deductions for damage or rent arrears. The tenant must be informed of any such deductions.

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