Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement 2020
The latest tenancy for 2020, is now available for download, from our download page. We have made appropriate changes due to the Deregulation Act 2015; it also incorporates the Tenant Fees Act 2019 clauses.
What is an Assured shorthold tenancy?
An AST is a legal document, between a landlord and their tenants, which sets out the legal terms, and conditions of the tenancy.
Most tenancies will automatically be, an assured shorthold tenancy. They will likely be this type of tenancy if:
- The tenant is a private tenant (not a company)
- The tenancy began on or after the 15th of January 1989 (provided the tenancy was in writing and a section 20 notice was served)
- Or the tenancy commenced after the 28th of February 1997
- The property is your tenant’s principal residence
- You don’t live in the property
Why do I need a tenancy?
Even if you don’t have a written contract with your tenant, an agreement will still be in place. Under s54(2) of the Law of Property Act 1925, a tenancy will exist as soon as a tenant starts paying rent.
However, having a written agreement allows you to add specific stipulations. You can stipulate how, and when you will review the rent or the circumstances under which you may withhold, all or part of your tenant’s deposit.
Without a written agreement, you may not be able to prove easily, how much rent the tenant owes you. This may cause you problems in the future.
Does an assured shorthold tenancy need to be renewed?
If your agreement is an assured shorthold tenancy and you wish to stay, you do not need to renew the tenancy. Once the fixed period expires, the tenancy becomes a ‘periodic tenancy‘ which means it will continue with the same terms and conditions, which will roll on, month to month.
Can you have an AST for less than six months?
It is perfectly legal, to let your property for less than six months. There is no minimum period for an AST. If the tenant stops paying rent after month 2, it may well be another four months before an order of possession of a rental property is obtained.
How long is an assured shorthold tenancy agreement?
An assured shorthold can be less than six months, under the housing Act 1996. However, should you require possession, then the six months rule applies. The landlord and tenant can agree to have the tenancy last for a set term, six months or 36 months or the term can be periodic.
What is the minimum term, for an assured shorthold tenancy?
The minimum term used to be six months; however, under the housing Act 1996, you can have a tenancy of fewer than six months.
A rental cannot be an assured shorthold tenancy if:
- It started before the 15th of January 1989
- The rent is more than £100,000 a year
- The rent is lower than £250 a year (lower than £1,000 if the property is in London)
- You’re renting business premises
- It’s a holiday let
What to include in an assured shorthold tenancy?
There are several things that you can include in a tenancy. The BLA Assured shorthold tenancy covers:
- The names of the tenants
- How much the rent will be
- How often the rent will be paid
- How deposit paid
- Reasons you may withhold all or part of the deposit
- The address of the property
- The start date and length of the tenancy
- The tenants’ responsibilities, such as paying council tax and maintaining the property
Other covenants and obligations you may want to consider:
- How and when you will review rent
- Whether the property can be sublet
- Whether the tenancy can be terminated early and how this can be done
What can make a tenancy agreement invalid?
All landlords ought to be aware of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations. Any unreasonable clause, or which is deemed ‘unfair’ null and void, in a court of law, will make that part of the contract invalid. So, if a term or condition of the tenancy agreement is giving either party less than their statutory rights, then it can’t be enforced, and it won’t hold up in a court of law. It is important to note; this will not render the entire tenancy invalid.
The most recent legislation that may affect tenancies is the Consumer Rights Act on the 1st of October 2015. The 2015 Act replaced the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999. Any contracts entered before this date will still be governed by the UTCC’s.
If you want to add or remove any parts of the agreement, you should seek legal advice before doing so.
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Date: 24th of March 2020
You can download the latest comprehensive 2020 Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements by clicking DOWNLOAD TENANCY