Article - Landlord & Tenant

Assured Shorthold Tenancies - The Basics

What is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy?

An Assured Shorthold Tenancy is the most commonly used type of tenancy in the private housing market.  The main feature of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy is that it is issued for a fixed period of time usually either 6 or 12 months.

It does not give a tenant security as the landlord could if he wished to decide not to renew the tenancy at the end of the fixed period.

The other advantage of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy for landlords is that they are not usually subject to rent controls.

If an Assured Shorthold Tenancy is given for a fixed period of time of 6 or 12 months can a landlord bring this tenancy to an end before this fixed period elapses?

The simple answer is yes.  The landlord must however be able to show good reason for wanting to terminate the tenancy early.  The grounds upon which a landlord can do this are governed by the Housing Act 1988 and include such things as rent arrears, breach of tenancy and/or nuisance type behaviour. 

After the expiry of the fixed term of the Assured Shorthold Tenancy, does the tenant have to leave?

If the tenant stays in occupation of the property when the period of the Assured Shorthold Tenancy comes to an end, even if the tenancy has not been renewed then the tenant will then obtain the benefit of a periodic tenancy which will continue until such time as the landlord takes specific steps to end it.

Ending a Periodic Tenancy can be achieved by the landlord serving at least two month’s notice on a tenant in a specific prescribed form.  The two month notice must end on the last day of a period of the tenancy.  

At the end of the two months the tenant can leave is he or she wishes or wait until the landlord has obtained a Possession Order from the court.

Article First Published: 18 January 2005

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