One of the most common forms of tenancy, the Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST), usually runs for 6-12 months. They make sure that your deposit is protected and that you’re given notice of eviction. Here we take a look at the basic information that you need to know.
Before you Move in
You should get a contract to sign before your tenancy starts, which should tell you how much rent to pay, who is responsible for what and how long the tenancy is for. Once signed, you are committed to paying the amount of rent for the length of your contract.
You will give your landlord a sum of money as a deposit in case the property is damaged or rent is unpaid. Your landlord is legally obliged to protect your tenancy deposit in an approved scheme. To help resolve disputes, make sure that you and your landlord agree on an inventory of your home, which you can refer to at the end of your agreement.
During your Tenancy
Your landlord cannot increase the rent during the fixed term of an assured shorthold tenancy, unless it states a time when it can be increased in the contract.
The landlord is responsible for most of the repairs, including the roof, walls and windows, doors, wiring and plumbing, but you must inform your landlord if repairs are needed. You then need to allow the landlord access to your home, but they need to give you reasonable notice. There will be some things that you’re responsible for, however, such as changing light bulbs and cleaning windows and sometimes maintaining the garden too.
When you Leave
When your contract comes up for renewal, you can either:
- Ask your landlord for a new fixed term contract (in which case you may have to pay renewal fees)
- You can go on to a ‘periodic’ contract which rolls from month to month
- You can leave and find somewhere else to live
- Or, you are leaving before the end of the fixed term, in which case you need to check your contract. Some include a ‘break clause’ which allows you to do this, but otherwise you will have to negotiate with your landlord
If you’ve been Evicted
The landlord must get a court order and follow set procedures in order to evict you.