Of all the agreements out there for professional landlords this will probably be the most common one you’ll use. And it is essentially the most important one of all.
You see an assured shorthold tenancy agreement is basically a contract between a landlord and tenant that protects the rights of them both whilst setting out their duties and responsibilities.
For example, once the agreement/contract is set up, you - as a landlord - will be given the right to repossess the rental property once your tenant reaches the specified ending date of their contract.
Whilst at the same time, your tenant will have the right to live in your rental property throughout that agreed rental period, unless they breach the contract.
For this reason it is essential that you acquire a firm grasp of what an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement entails to ensure your properties long term profitability - a task which at Property Mentor we can help you with.
Our team of property experts having been investing in the property market for over 20 years and know from experience the value of getting this agreement right.
So let us help you to make the transition into a professional, profitable landlord even easier! Contact us today on 01908 309274.
Alternatively download your Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement and continue reading to find out more.
Length of Agreements
When we use the phrase that Assured Shorthold Tenancy’s are flexible, we don’t mean you can lease out a property for just a week (sorting out the contract itself would take longer than that).
As long as the agreed term is above a minimum of 6 months you are free to decide, thereafter the length of the agreement.
This is not to say that you cannot agree to do a fixed term of less than 6 months with your tenant. It is just that this could create problems in the future as tenants – no matter what the agreement says – have the legal right to stay in your rental property for at least 6 months.
So if for example you decide to do a 4 month fixed term, but on the date the agreement ends, your tenant refuses to leave.
By right they are allowed to stay in your property until they reach the 6 month mark. Only then can you take action.
Now once your tenant’s tenancy agreement comes to an end, you will have 2 choices. You can either renew their contract, setting another fixed term on their lease, or you could not renew it.
If you choose to not renew their tenancy agreement, this then becomes known as a Statutory Periodic Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement.
Under this agreement all the same terms still apply except that the tenancy continues on an agreed period by period basis.
There is also such an agreement know as a Contractual Periodic Tenancy. In this scenario no fixed end term is set. The length of the tenancy agreement simply depends on who decides to end the agreement first: you or your tenant.
Whatever definition your tenancy agreement falls under (fixed or statutory), it is important that you bear in mind that you will still need to give 2 months notice if you wish to evict a tenant.
This becomes more complicated when a 6 month fixed term agreement gets involved. By right you cannot obtain possession of the property until those 6 months have transpired, that is unless you have the grounds to evict them.
Deposits – How to protect your tenants needs
If you are a tenant reading this article, this section may be helpful to you when choosing a landlord. Why? Because it protects your deposits.
By law all landlords who wish to take a deposit from their tenant - who is renting under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy - must first join a Government authorised tenancy deposit protection scheme.
Once a deposit has been received, landlords have got 14 days to provide their tenant with the details of the scheme they belong to.
Essentially 2 whole weeks to outline to them how their deposit is being safeguarded.
The Agreement – who keeps it?
Once the tenancy agreement has been agreed and signed, it needs to be distributed to all parties involved: to both to your tenant and yourself.
So what exactly is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement?
As we said at the beginning of this article, this agreement is responsible for protecting the rights of both you and your tenant.
With this in mind, here are a few issues that should be covered in the contract:
- Rent, deposit size and the length of the tenancy need to be specified
- Landlord’s right to charge interest on overdue rental payments
- Tenant’s obligation to pay the properties: bills and council tax
- Tenant’s obligation to care and keep both the property and its land in good order
- Use of Property: residential only
- Tenant’s conduct: to cause no disruption to their neighbours or the neighbourhood; to have no pets without seeking written permission; to not leave the property unoccupied for more than 21 days without first informing the landlord
- Provide documentation of tenancy deposit scheme.
Now these are just a few of the basics you need to remember. It can be shortened or added to depending on your circumstances. But as you can see, both you and your tenant have got rights and responsibilities over the care of your rental properties.
And these are not words that you can bend to your will. Whilst you can offer your tenants more than their statutory rights, you cannot give them less.
So try to gain an understanding of what is within your legal parameters before you create any agreement. That a way you can keep both your best interests at heart.
Being a landlord is not all about finding the right rental property, and gaining a tenant. Once an assured tenancy agreement has been made, you will both have some basic obligations to fulfil that have not been specified in the agreement, but that must be done by law.
Here is a list of the most common ones to expect:
- Landlords must do all basic maintenance repairs
- Landlord must care for all property installations: water supply, gas, electricity, sanitation etc
- Everything must be kept in good working order (both responsible)
- Tenants have the right to live in the rental property without nuisance/interference from their landlord
- Tenants are under obligation to take care of the condition of the property throughout their tenancy
Altering The Tenancy Agreement
Any changes done to the tenancy agreement must be agreed upon beforehand by both you and your tenant. All changes must be done in writing, from correspondence to new documentation of the new terms of tenancy as well as also doing a written amendment to the existing agreement.
If you do choose to do this, just make sure that you keep a record of everything that has been agreed upon, and get them signed.
Ending an Agreement
This will greatly depend on the type of tenancy you have got, and your reasons for wanting to end the agreement.
If for example you both agree to terminate the agreement, all it takes to make it final is a written agreement of this termination that has been signed by both parties at the same time.
But if it is due to a breach of contract that you wish to evict you tenant, you will need to have the right grounds to do so.
Read our article on the Section 8 form, for more details on this procedure.