Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs)

Assured Shorthold Tenancies, or ‘ASTs’ as they’re known, are the most commonly used type of private tenancy in the UK.

For a tenancy to be eligible for an AST it must be the tenant’s main residence and you, the landlord, must not live in the property.

Other things you need to know about Assured Shorthold Tenancies:

  • They are only available to private tenants or groups of private tenants
  • The tenant will have a minimum right of occupation for at least six months
  • The annual rent must be no more than £100,000
  • If you’re thinking about letting the property to holiday-makers, making the property a holiday let, you will need a special licence agreement and an AST should not be used here.

A very detailed background to Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements can be found here.

Most private tenants are given assured shorthold tenancies which often run for an initial period 12 months although many tenants (and indeed landlords) are now looking for and signing up to longer tenancies.

The contract

The tenancy agreement, or contract, should be signed by all parties before the tenancy starts and outlines the rent, how long the tenancy lasts, the obligations of the tenant and the landlord and the process for repairs.

The tenant commits to paying the agreed rent for at least the length of the contract and normally pays in advance for each month.

The deposit

If you hold a tenant’s deposit from an AST, you are required to ensure that it is registered within an Approved Deposit Scheme and provide the tenant with the ‘prescribed information’ explaining what happens to the deposit during the tenancy.  If you have not registered the deposit properly there are potentially large fines of up to three times the value of the deposit and it will prevent you from serving notice on your tenant to vacate the property.

Find out more about tenancy deposit schemes and what you need to do as the landlord.