Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement
Outside of the social rented sector, letting property is essentially a private arrangement between landlord and tenant. And at the heart of that arrangement is an assured shorthold tenancy agreement – a legally binding contract.
This is not to say landlords have an entirely free hand in what to include in tenancy agreements, or about many other aspects of renting. Housing is important to the wellbeing of everybody, and as a consequence the private rented sector is subject to much legislation and regulation.
The law says rented houses must be of an adequate standard and must certainly not expose tenants to any danger. Landlords have a duty to make sure this is the case. Tenants must not be harassed. They are entitled to ‘quiet enjoyment’ of their rented homes and may not be evicted without resort to formal procedures – although if those procedures are followed landlords who let property on the basis of assured shorthold tenancies are ‘assured’ return of their properties when tenancy agreements end or their reasonable terms have been breached.
Likewise tenants have legal obligations, especially to pay the agreed rent on time, to take proper care of the property (and it contents) with which they have been entrusted, and not to cause a nuisance to neighbours.
Having said all this, landlords have scope to tailor tenancy agreements to their own needs by inclusion of optional clauses – and tenants have scope to challenge those clauses that might be judged ‘unfair’.
This website gives access to an outline assured shorthold tenancy agreement, suitable for use in England and Wales for tenancies granted to private individuals for a term of less than 21 years (additional considerations apply to agreements for tenancies of longer than three years – such as the need for rent review and insurance provisions) and at a rental of less than £100,000 per annum. The agreement, which has optional clauses and can also be edited to include tenant and landlord details, can be used for rental of both houses and flats.
Also included is a guarantee document (to be used where compliance with tenants’ obligations is to be guaranteed by a third party) and explanatory notes.
Before entering into such an agreement it is extremely important for landlords to understand fully the nature of the contract they are entering into. To help with this, AssuredShortholdTenancyAgreements.com has a wealth of information for landlords, all accessible free via our menu. In the main this applies to England and Wales only although we have sections dealing specifically with renting in Scotland and Northern Ireland.