Assured shorthold tenancy (AST)

This is the most common type of tenancy. A tenancy is highly likely to be an AST if it has been entered into recently because most new tenancies are automatically deemed to be ASTs.

An AST always begins with a fixed term, which is usually 6 or 12 months. The length of the fixed term can be found in the tenancy agreement and is usually 6 or 12 months. This is where the term ‘assured’ derives from because the tenancy is guaranteed for this period.

An AST must have the following features:

  • The rented property must be private.
  • The tenancy must have started after 15 January 1989.
  • The rented property is the tenant’s main accommodation.
  • The landlord does not live in the property.

A tenancy cannot be an AST if:

  • it started, or was agreed, before 15 January 1989;
  • the rent is more than £100,000 a year;
  • the rent is less than £250 a year, or £1,000 in London;
  • the rent relates to a business or licenced premises;
  • the property is a holiday let; or
  • the landlord is the council.

Excluded tenancy

An excluded tenancy exists where the tenant lives with the landlord and shares rooms with landlord such as a bathroom, kitchen or living room. This type of tenancy does not offer as much protection as an AST and makes it easier for a landlord to evict a tenant.

Assured tenancy

An assured tenancy is different to an AST in that it is more difficult for a landlord to evict an assured tenant.

An assured tenancy exists where:

  • the tenant rents a private property;
  • the tenancy started after 15 June 1989 but before 27 February 1997; and
  • the landlord did not state it was an AST.

However, it is possible for an assured tenancy to exist even where it started after 27 February 1997. This is usually when the landlord states that it is an assured tenancy or where the tenant previously had an assured tenancy with the same landlord for the same property.

Regulated tenancy

A regulated tenancy is where the tenancy started before 15 January 1989. Regulated tenants have strong tenancy rights and pay what is known as ‘fair rent’. Fair rent is less than the market rate and is set by a rent officer at the Valuation Office Agency.

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