The Housing Law Website

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Secure Tenancy | Introductory Tenancy | Demoted Tenancy | Non-Secure Tenancy | Assured Tenancy | Shorthold Tenancy | NTQ
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The Law

 

Assured Shorthold Tenancy

The Assured Shorthold Tenancy was introduced in HA 1980, expanded in HA 1988, and following HA 1996, is now the standard form of Assured Tenancy for both Housing Associations and private landlords. The Assured Tenancy provides an easy mechanism for the landlord to gain possession after a fixed period of time; with no need to prove any statutory Ground.

As an assured Shorthold Tenancy is a species of Assured Tenancy, the same provisions apply; the conditions and exceptions for Assured tenancies are identical, along with the rules on assignment and succession. The reader is therefore referred to ‘Assured Tenancy' here .

Exclusions Assignment & Subletting Succession Rent Termination & Possession

Conditions:

Identical to Assured Tenancy

Further requirements exist to enable a normal assured tenancy to take effect as an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. These requirements differ depending on whether the tenancy was entered into before or after the commencement of HA 1996.

Agreed or granted before 28 February 1997

Assured Tenancies granted on or before this date will only be Shorthold if:

  1. The tenancy was for a fixed term of not less than 6 months
  2. The tenancy contained no power to determine the tenancy prior to 6 months from its commencement (a power of re-entry or forfeiture for breach does not count as a power to determine for this purpose)
  3. The tenant was served with a s.20 Notice before the start of the tenancy (this notice indicates that the tenancy is to be shorthold.)

Granted on or after 28 February 1997

HA 1996 has now made the application of Assured Shorthold Tenancies the norm. For all Assured tenancies granted on or after this date, including tenancies which arise on the expiry of a fixed term tenancy pursuant to s5 HA 1988, they will automatically be Shorthold. There is no need for any Notice informing the tenant of this, and it applies equally to periodic and fixed term tenancies.

There are three exceptions to this rule:

  • The tenancy itself states that it is not to be shorthold;
  • The landlord notifies the tenant, before or during the tenancy, that it is not to be / no longer is Shorthold;
  • The tenancy is granted to a former Assured (non-shorthold) tenant by his/her former landlord

 

Exclusions:

Identical to Assured Tenancy

 

Assignment and Sub-Letting:

Identical to Assured Tenancy

 

Succession:

Identical to Assured Tenancy

 

Rent:

Assured Shorthold tenancies are not subject to any restrictions on rent which can be charged. However the tenant may refer to the Rent Assessment Committee for a determination on the rent that the landlord can reasonably expect to obtain.

 

Termination and Possession:

A Landlord may seek to terminate and gain possession of an Assured Shorthold tenancy in exactly the same way as for a normal assured tenancy; namely by serving a s.8 Notice and proving one or more of the statutory grounds.

However, a much simpler and quicker method may be used by virtue of s.21 HA 1988. All a landlord need do is serve on the shorthold tenant a s.21 Notice. This notice must:

  1. Be in writing; however there is no prescribed form; and
  2. Give a minimum of two months' notice to the tenant, which:
    1. if a fixed term Assured Shorthold Tenancy, must be given to the tenant on or before the date the tenancy expires,
    2. if a periodic Assured Shorthold tenancy, must be expressed to expire on the last day of the period of the tenancy; which date must be no earlier than the tenancy could have been determined at common law.

Provided these conditions are met, a mandatory ground for possession is proven and the court is required to make an outright order for possession. The one exception is that (for post-HA 1996 shorthold tenancies) the court cannot make an order to take effect sooner than 6 months from the start of the tenancy. This therefore provides the tenant with very limited security of tenure.

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