What is the minimum length of an assured shorthold tenancy?03-10-2022 | Legal Issues
Finding good tenants can feel like you’ve struck gold. Problems can start to arise when your tenants aren’t adhering to agreed standards. This is when you’ll be flicking through your assured shorthold tenancy agreement to double-check the length of it.
The minimum length of an assured shorthold tenancy
The current law states that the minimum length of an AST (assured shorthold tenancy) is six months. This isn’t to say that you can’t agree on it for longer. A typical AST would sit at either six or twelve months.
What is an assured shorthold tenancy?
This is the most commonly seen and used agreement issued by a landlord or letting agent to their prospective tenants. With the minimum length of the agreement being six months, this isn’t to say that both parties can extend the tenancy or agree in advance to have it for longer.
Once the six-month agreement concludes, the landlord has the right to evict the tenant without reason as stated in the law. The landlord has the right to use section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 to regain possession without giving a reason.
How to end the tenancy the right way
With the minimum six-month or twelve-month tenancy agreement in place, a landlord will need to issue a notice four weeks in advance. Similarly, your tenant is required to give you four weeks’ notice if the rent is due monthly.
At the end of the agreement, you’ll want to consider your tenancy agreement. With consideration to fine wear and tear as well as further damage, the landlord is able to enforce deposit deductions as long as there is clarity over each item.
A landlord should also be looking to eradicate any financial arrears before the tenants leave the property.
Can you break the assured shorthold agreement?
Most landlords and tenants will seek to include a sixth-month break clause on a twelve-month agreement which gives both parties the opportunity to walk away from the tenancy with no further obligations.
Landlords and tenants will have to give notice if they want to exercise their break clause right. The break clause is discussed and written into the agreement before it is signed at the start of the let.
When tenants breach their agreement
Being locked into a six-month agreement with the wrong tenant can sometimes feel like a sentence.
If you suspect damage to your property, you’ll want to understand your specialist insurance deal drawn up by CIA. Our landlord contents insurance and landlord building insurance could protect your asset from any undesirable tenants.
Let’s pretend you’ve got tenants constantly breaching their agreement. You’ll want to know what behaviour is considered a breach for you to be able to call for a court order for possession.
What is considered a tenant breach?
You’re able to call for a court order for possession if your tenant performs these behaviours after having signed the AST. Make sure you have these points written into your AST before they sign it.
- Criminal activity
- Rental arrears
- Damage to the property
- Anti-social behaviour
- Keeping pets if the tenancy agreement expressly forbids this
- Noisy or disruptive pets
- Disrepair issues
- Poor upkeep of the property
Malicious damage to your property can be costly as well as upsetting. Make sure you’ve taken out the appropriate insurance to give you peace of mind at the most critical of times.
The benefits of making your tenancy long term
Retention of tenants can prove massively beneficial as long as you’ve found the right fit. No financial arrears, good upkeep of the property and a good relationship could equal multiple years of a regular and reliable tenancy.
Tips to help you increase tenant retention.
Get the right tenant to lease your property. Here’s what you can do to start with good footing.
- Complete a thorough tenant credit check.
- Check their criminal history
- Provide out-of-hours communication service by working with a letting agent.
- Implement a tenant communication solution such as through a letting agent, via email or WhatsApp group.
- Conduct regular meetings with your tenant.
- Appoint a letting agent to facilitate rent collection. Letting agents will often still forward the rent money even if there are outstanding monthly payments.
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