An assured shorthold tenancy is a tenancy that gives a tenant the legal right to live in a property for a period of time. A tenancy might be for a set period such as six months (this is known as a fixed term tenancy) or it might roll on a week-to-week or month-to-month basis (this is known as a periodic tenancy).
There are certain basic rights that a tenant has in an assured shorthold tenancy.
A tenant has the right to live in your accommodation without being disturbed. They have the right to have control over their home so that their landlord and other people cannot freely enter whenever they want to.
A landlord cannot limit or otherwise interfere with a tenants right to live in their accommodation or they could be found guilty of harassment.
The law says your landlord has to keep the structure and exterior of the property in good repair. This includes:
Your landlord must also keep the equipment for the supply of gas, electricity, heating, water and sanitation in good repair. The accommodation must have a valid gas safety certificate for any gas appliances in the property. Any furniture provided should be fire resistant.
A tenant is however responsible for taking a certain amount of care for the property. This might include unblocking a sink or changing a fuse when necessary. Depending on what the tenancy agreement says a tenant can have more responsibility for the upkeep of the property.
If your tenancy started after March 1997 a tenant the right to ask their landlord to provide a statement of the terms of their tenancy. The information that must be provided is as follows.
This information must be provided within 28 days of a request being made in writing by a tenant.
During a fixed term tenancy a landlord must have a reason to evict a tenant. The reason could be one of the following:
If the landlord wishes to evict a tenant before the fixed term is up he will need to apply to the court for a possession order. Before applying to the court he must first serve the tenants with a correctly written Section 8 Notice specifying the grounds the landlord has for regaining early possession.
The court will not give a possession order unless it is satisfied that a valid reason exists. In some cases the court must also consider whether it is reasonable for the tenant to be evicted.
A landlord can give two months' notice without having a reason but the notice can not run out before the end of the fixed term. For further information on the notice required see the page Section 21 Notice to Quit.
If a tenancy is periodic or if the fixed term has come to an end and no new fixed tenancy has been arranged, a tenant can be evicted fairly easily. There is no need for landlords to give a reason to the court but s/he must be able to show that the tenancy is an assured shorthold tenancy and that the correct Section 21 Notice to Quit has been served.
The notice must be at least two calendar months or the same period for which rent is paid, whichever is longer. The notice should end on the last day of a rental period (the day before rent is due). If the tenants don't leave by the end of the notice period, a landlord can apply for a court order.
Despite eviction in a periodic tenancy being a relatively straightforward process, a tenant does have a certain degree of protection.
A tenant cannot be evicted before the landlord has gone to court and the court has agreed to the landlord regaining possession of the property. The court has to give permission on a written notice known as a possession order. The court has no choice but to make an order to evict assured shorthold tenants if the correct procedure has been followed. It is possible for tenants to get the court to delay the eviction for up to six weeks if they can show they will face exceptional hardship.
If the tenants don't leave by the time a court order takes effect, a landlord can ask the bailiffs to physically remove tenants from a property.
In April 2007 it became law (Housing Act 2004) that all deposits collected by Landlords or Agents, [even renewing an AST] need to be registered in either a custodial scheme or an insurance based scheme. These schemes protect all deposits on Assured Shorthold Tenancies in England & Wales.
The Deposit Legislation was updated April 2012 and the Landlord or person deemed to be holding the Deposit must now comply with the new Deposit protection Laws or face a mandatory fine Legislation revised 2012. Within 30 days of receiving a deposit the Landlord or Agent must lodge the deposit in a scheme or insure it. They must also give the tenant and any other person/entity who provided the deposit, details about how their deposit is protected including:
If a Landlord or Agent fails to comply with the deposit legislation they maybe ordered by the courts to return or protect the deposit AND ALSO pay the Tenant NO LESS than one times the value of deposit BUT NO MORE THAN three times the deposit value, further penalties may include being unable to serve a Section 21 Notice, until the deposit breach has been remedied.
Further information can be obtained from: