Tenancy agreements, Assured Shorthold Tenancy, Regulated and Assured

Tenancy Agreements – Assured Shorthold Tenancy, Regulated & Assured Tenancies

If you are a buy to let landlord or you rent residential property to tenants in the UK then it is important that you are familiar with the different types of tenancy agreements that are commonly used in the private rental sector. You should learn how to recognise the main forms of tenancy agreement and know where to use them including Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreements (ASTs) Regulated Tenancies and the more basic Assured Tenancies.

Investment Property Partners landlords and property investors guide to tenancy agreements covers the most common forms of tenancy agreement used in the UK, where to use them, and the rights of both landlords and tenants given under the agreements.

Understanding Tenancy Agreements

Because of the different forms of tenancy agreements within the private rental sector it is recommended that you get to grips with each type of agreement, what they involve on both sides, and under what circumstances they should be used in order to establish which is the most applicable to you.

More importantly, it is vital that you know which type of tenancy you have, as it can affect your rights as both a landlord and a permanent resident, and can also have a bearing on how the property is used.

However, before we go into further detail about the types of tenancy agreements we’ll start at the foundations of the subject and learn exactly what a tenancy is.

What is a Tenancy?

In simple terms, a tenancy is an agreement, normally a written agreement or contract, but sometimes verbal, that sets out the rules and obligations of a tenant and a landlord as part of a property letting.

This tenancy agreement or contract typically details things such as the name of the tenant permitted to live in the property and the rules and regulations that they must abide by.

It should also detail rental payments including how much rent will be due and when it should be paid.

Even though tenancy agreements can be either oral or paper-documented it is advised that the agreement be prepared in a written or printed form.

Should there be any disputes further down the line, there will then be written evidence which proves that the rules and regulations were agreed and signed off by both parties and to which both parties can then refer back.

A tenancy agreement will also need to be prepared before anyone rents a property.

Protecting the Legal Rights of Landlords & Tenants with the Correct Tenancy Agreement

When it comes down to rights and legal protection, both landlords and tenants can take heart from the fact that there are certain rules and regulations set out in tenancy agreements that the other party has to abide by legally.

  • Landlords Rights

    From a landlord’s perspective, there are certain regulations in place to protect landlords from badly behaved tenants and that stop them taking advantage of the property and the rental situation.

    Landlords’ rights include having the ability to take legal action to evict a tenant for failure to pay the rent; the ability to repossess a property when the tenancy ends; and the power to take back the property legally should it be badly damaged.

    Landlords can also access the property as and when they see fit to check that everything is as it should be – but they have to give the tenant reasonable notice, usually 24 hours’ as a minimum.

  • Tenants Rights

    Under a tenancy agreement tenants are also protected in many ways.

    One of the most powerful rules in place offers protection to the tenant so that they cannot be unfairly evicted.

    This means that should the tenant prove that the landlords plans to evict them are unfair, the landlord will not be able to evict them.

    Other tenants’ rights include freedom to live in the property undisturbed; the
    ability to look into and search through information contained in the tenancy agreement at any time; and the right to live in a property that is in a good, habitable condition.

    With regards to the property being maintained in a good, habitable condition, the tenant is well within their rights to demand that a landlord makes repairs and maintains the property if it is not up to scratch – especially if it poses a threat to health or safety of the occupants.

    With the latter in mind, a landlord has a duty to maintain the property and make sure it is in good condition.

    If a tenant believes that rental charges are rising too steeply, or if they are feel they are being unfairly targeted for more payments, they also have the power to raise this concern formally with the local authority.

Different Tenancy Agreements

Now that you understand the basics of a tenancy agreement, we’ll now consider the different forms of tenancy agreements.

We’ll start with the Assured Shorthold Tenancy, as it is the most common form of tenancy in the UK.

  • Assured Shorthold Tenancy

    As a tenant, if the property you rent is your main home, the landlord does not live in the property, and the property is private, you will more than likely fit into this Assured Shorthold Tenancy category.

    You should also note that if the living arrangements started after the middle of January 1989, an Assured Shorthold Tenancy is most likely to be the form of tenancy that you will have.

  • Regulated Tenancy

    The Regulated Tenancy is one of the oldest forms of tenancy agreements and generally provides more protection form a tenant’s point of view… increased protection from being evicted is one of the biggest advantages.

    A regulated tenancy is the form of tenancy that you will have if you live in a different building from your landlord, you moved in before the 15th January 1989 and you do not get help with the property with regards to services.

  • Assured Tenancy

    The Assured Tenancy is a form of agreement that is not too different to an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement, but does have a slight variation in the fact that the tenant can reside in the property for an unlimited amount of time.

    Normally, when a tenancy agreement has run its course, the landlord can simply ask the tenants to leave.

    With Assured Tenancy agreements however, the landlord does not have the right simply to take the property back at the end of the agreement.

    Instead, the landlord has to follow a legal process to prove that they have a valid reason for asking a tenant to move on.

    In this respect, that is why the tenancy agreement is called an Assured Tenancy… because it brings added reassurance to the tenant.

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Further reading…

More information about tenancy agreements for landlords… here →

More information about tenancy agreements for tenants… here →

More information about Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreements… here →