Assured Shorthold Tenancy

Definition of an AST:

An Assured Shorthold Tenancy, also referred to as an AST, is a residential tenancy that provides the Landlord with an assured tenancy in that the Landlord has a guaranteed right to repossess his property at the end of the term, subject to the following:

  • The Landlord must give 2 month's written notice; and
  • Possession cannot take place within the first 6 months.

An AST is the most frequently used form of residential tenancy and as from 28 February 1997 it also became the default or automatic form of tenancy in residential lettings.

Requirements for an AST:

The Housing Act 1988 as amended by the Housing Act 1996 provides the essential requirements for AST's. Some of the more important requirements include the following:

  • The Tenant must be an individual;
  • The property must be separate accommodation; and
  • The property must be the Tenant's main or principal home.

Exclusions from an AST:

The following are exclusions to AST's and are therefore not permitted to set up AST's:

  • The annual rent is more than £100,000;
  • The initial fixed term is for a period of more than three years;
  • The Tenant is a company;
  • Where there is no rent or very low rent;
  • Holiday lettings;
  • Tenancies granted by a resident Landlord (a Landlord who lives in the same property as the Tenant);
  • Tenancies let with property of more than 2 acres of agricultural land; and
  • Tenancies entered into before 15 January 1989.

For more information on the tenancy agreement for an AST, see The AST Agreement.

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