What is assured shorthold tenancy

Written by kaye jones
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What is assured shorthold tenancy
Assured shorthold tenancies give the tenant the right to live in a well-maintained home. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

An assured shorthold tenancy is the most commonly used tenancy agreement in the UK. It came into force with the passing of the 1996 Housing Act, as a means of encouraging British people to rent property. In essence, the assured shorthold tenancy is applicable to any residential property that is let to an individual and is separate from the landlord's. Assured shorthold tenancies are often used in fixed-term lets of six months or longer.

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If you moved into your home on or after 28 February 1997, pay rent to a private landlord and have specific rights that prevent the landlord and others from entering your property without permission, you have an assured shorthold tenancy agreement. This type of tenancy agreement is not, however, applicable to holiday lets, college accommodation, business or agricultural tenancies or those with an annual rent of more than £100,000, at the time of publication.

Rights of Tenants

The 1996 Housing Act grants a number of rights to each and every assured shorthold tenant in the UK. You are entitled to get information about your tenancy from your landlord, like the start date and length of the tenancy and the amount and frequency of rent payments. You also have a right to prevent people, including your landlord, from entering your home without permission. This tenancy also ensures that the structure and exterior of your home, along with any equipment that supplies gas, electricity and water, are kept in good repair.

Responsibilities of Tenants

Under the 1996 Housing Act, assured shorthold tenants also have a number of responsibilities when renting a property from a private landlord. The interior of the property, for example, must be kept clean and in good order with any minor repairs, like changing a fuse or light bulb, carried out by the tenant. This also applies to any equipment or furniture provided by the landlord and tenants should note that they can be billed for causing damage through neglect or carelessness. Tenants are also responsible for paying household bills, like council tax and utilities.

Ending an Assured Shorthold Tenancy

There are three ways that you can legally end an assured shorthold tenancy agreement, according to the national housing charity, Shelter. Surrendering the tenancy, for example, can take place at any time during the tenancy but must be mutually agreed by the tenant and the landlord. Tenants and landlords can also give notice to end the tenancy agreement. This is usually given in writing and in advance of one month. A landlord can also seek permission from a court of law to evict a tenant. A hearing will then decide whether the tenant will stay at or leave a property.

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