shorthold tenancy agreement explained

Published: 18/09/2020

Various tenancy agreements are available when renting, but the most popular agreement is an assured shorthold tenancy agreement (AST).

Below is a simple guide to what you need to know about an AST before you sign on the dotted line when 
renting property in central London.


It's the most common tenancy agreement, with the majority of new tenancies being automatically assigned to this agreement. Before moving in, you will sign a tenancy contract that generally runs for a year.

The agreement outlines how much rent you pay, who is responsible for any repairs or damages, and the tenancy's length. From the outset of the contract, you are committed to paying the agreed instalments on time.


 To be an AST tenancy agreement, all of the following must apply:

  • The property must be private
  • The commencement of the tenancy was on or after 15th January 1989
  • The property is the tenant's main home
  • The landlord doesn't reside at the property

A tenancy agreement cannot be an AST for the following reasons:

  • The tenancy was agreed or commenced before 15th January 1989
  • The rent is less than £250 per annum (less than £1,000 if in London)
  • The rent exceeds £100,000 per annum
  • The property is a holiday let
  • The landlord is a local councilor
  • It's a business tenancy or a licensed premises

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Under an AST, the tenant can remain in the rented accommodation until the fixed term terminates. The only way the tenancy can come to an early end is if the landlord convinces the court that they have a good case for an eviction e.g., damage to the property or the non-payment of rent.

An AST gives the tenant the right to…

  • Enforce repairs to be completed
  • Have the protection of a tenancy deposit scheme
  • Be treated with no discrimination regardless of gender, race, beliefs, sexuality, or disability
  • Receive at least twenty-four hours' written notice from the landlord or letting agent if they wish to visit the property (except in an emergency)


Below we have listed other tenancy agreements:

  • Non-assured shorthold tenancies are when landlords do not have to give notice to terminate the tenancy
  • Excluded tenancies are for landlords that reside with their tenants e.g., lodgers)
  • Assured tenancies are mainly used for housing associations
  • Regulated tenancies (used before 1989)
  • Company lets (when a property is rented to a company and not an individual tenant)

An assured shorthold tenancy agreement is the right path to follow as it not only gives the tenancy rights mentioned above, but the tenants have peace of mind knowing that the rent cannot be increased without agreement throughout the contract.

If you would like more information about Shorthold Tenancy Agreements, please get in touch with our 
London lettings team.
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