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Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST)

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When should you use this tenancy agreement?

This is the most commonly used form of tenancy agreement and will usually be the appropriate tenancy agreement for a landlord's needs.

It can be used for houses and flats as long as they are self-contained. It can also be used where a house or flat is rented as a whole to a group such as groups of students, young professionals, etc, even though these properties are houses in multiple occupancy (HMOs).

Do I need a different tenancy agreement?

Where you are protecting your tenant's deposit through DepositGuard, you should use the DepositGuard Compliant Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement instead.

If you are renting out individual rooms then normally the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement - Room Only is the appropriate form. If you are renting out an individual room and protecting your deposit through DepositGuard, then you should use the DepositGuard Room Only Tenancy Agreement.

In some circumstances, an assured shorthold tenancy agreement of any type would be the wrong type of agreement. The RLA has a number of other types of tenancy agreement to cover these circumstances so where you are letting your property to a company, you are thinking of getting a lodger for your own home, or you need a non-assured tenancy agreement we have the right tenancy agreement for you.

My tenancy is running out. Do I need to give my tenants a periodic tenancy at the end of it?

No. Once you have given the tenants a tenancy they are entitled to stay in the property until they serve notice on you or you get a possession order.

If you wish to change the terms of the tenancy at the end of a fixed term you may give the tenants a new tenancy with updated terms if they agree to it. Many landlords prefer to give a new term of 6 months to a year on these renewals. However if you would rather leave the tenancy on a periodic basis, then just create a tenancy agreement for one month. That will then roll on as a periodic tenancy.

What type of tenancy does this create?

The tenancy created by this agreement is an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) within the Housing Act 1988.

Do I need to protect the deposit?

Any deposit paid must be protected under one of the Government approved tenancy deposit schemes.

How do I end this tenancy?

You can use the Section 21 procedure to obtain possession. In the event of tenancy arrears or other tenancy breach you will need to serve a Section 8 notice (e.g. relying Ground 8 for rent arrears).

Why should I use the RLA Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement?

The RLA Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST) offers the following benefits:

What's new in the 2019 tenancies?

  • From June 1st 2019, landlords in England will be barred from charging most fees to tenants. The fees ban will come into force in a slightly different form in Wales from September 2019. The penalties for this can be severe, with fines of up to £30,000 or ban on serving section 21 for landlords or agents who try and charge a prohibited fee.
  • The RLA's 2019 tenancy has been amended to reflect the tenant fee ban. A number of clauses have been adjusted or removed so that landlords will not be in breach of the legislation.

In addition we have introduced a rent review clause. This clause allows landlords to agree how much the rent may increase by every 12 months. The landlord then serves a simple letter every 12 months rather than potentially having to go to tribunal to decide what rent is fair.Do I need a privacy notice?

From May 25th 2018 you must provide all of your current and new tenants and/or guarantors with your privacy notice. The RLA has created guidance on this, along with a sample privacy notice for use exclusively by our members.

What else do I need before I sign this tenancy?

Many experienced landlords and agents get into the good habit of providing a welcome pack for their tenants to sign prior to them moving in. This lets the tenant know all of their responsibilities, but it also protects the landlord by covering everything they are legally required to do beforehand.

A good welcome pack should include:

In addition to the welcome pack, you should never sign the tenancy agreement, or hand over the keys, until you have successfully completed your referencing and credit checks of the tenants or guarantors. The tenant should also pay the deposit and their first rent period in advance before you agree to sign the agreement.


You must perform the right to rent checks for everyone over 18 who wants to move into the property. If you don't do this before signing, you could go to jail!

I want to use a guarantor. What do I need to be aware of?

To avoid potentially successful unfair terms challenges, the RLA recommends that a new guarantor form should be provided to the guarantor for their signature prior to every new tenancy. This includes renewing an existing tenancy (or when you expressly agree to extend a tenancy).

You must send an unsigned, but completed, copy of the proposed assured shorthold tenancy agreement alongside the deed of guarantee. You should also allow the proposed guarantor sufficient time to read the document and take legal advice if necessary. This will typically be at least 7 days before the start of the tenancy agreement. Failure to do so will likely make your guarantee unenforceable.

For more information on guarantor obligations and cancellation rights please see the explanatory guide attached to the RLA guarantor forms.

Renting out a property with a Green Deal charge?

Are you entering a Tenancy Agreement with a new tenant for a property for which a Green Deal charge is payable?

If so - the Tenancy Agreement must contain a prescribed form of acknowledgement under which the tenant agrees to pay off the Green Deal charge.

If you fail to comply you may well have to repay the full Green Deal charge at once rather than repaying via a charge on the electricity meter.

Where a new tenant becomes the bill payer, they must be given a copy of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) giving details of the Green Deal before they view the property or at the first viewing and then sign the required acknowledgement in the Tenancy Agreement itself to say that they agree to pay the ongoing Green Deal charges.

The wording you need to insert is available on the government's website. Alternatively, please contact the RLA Advisors for assistance.

Unsure whether your tenant is over 18?

If there is any uncertainty as to whether the prospective tenant is aged 18 or over you must check. Obtain a copy of their birth certificate/other proof of age. If you let someone under 18 use this agreement it could be much more difficult to obtain possession (e.g. due to rent arrears or because the tenancy has run out, whilst they remain under the age of 18).

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