What is an assured tenancy?

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If a private tenant has an assured tenancy, they have long-term tenancy rights. The law gives a tenant with an assured tenancy a certain amount of security of tenure.

A tenant under an assured tenancy is protected under the Housing Act 1988 and therefore may not be evicted unless there are reasonable grounds to do so.

Unreasonable changes in rent can also be challenged before a rent assessment committee.

An assured tenant:

  • Pays rent to a private landlord
  • Does not live in the same building as their landlord
  • Moved into their property between 15 January 1989 and 27 February 1997

However,  assured tenancy can also exist if the tenant moved in after 27 February 1997, providing:  

  • The tenant received a written notice from the landlord to say they were an assured tenant
  • The tenant previously had an assured tenancy with the same landlord in the same building

Can all tenancies be assured?

Some types of tenancies can’t be assured, including:

  • Holiday lets
  • Student halls of residence
  • Properties with a rental figure of more than £100,000 per year
  • Agricultural property or land tenancies
  • Business tenancies

How long does an assured tenancy last?

Your tenancy might be a fixed term period or a periodic tenancy – a tenancy that rolls from week to week or month to month.

How can you end an assured tenancy?

Either the tenant or the landlord can end a tenancy when:

  • A ‘surrender’ is agreed with both tenant and landlord concurring to end the tenancy. It is possible to surrender a tenancy at any time if the landlord agrees
  • An official notice to end an assured tenancy is given
  • The landlord uses the eviction procedure. A tenant can only be evicted if the landlord can provide a legal reason in court. It is a criminal offence if a landlord tries to evict tenants without a court order
  • The tenant serves the notice period specified in their lease

Tenants with a periodic tenancy need to give the landlord their written notice to end their tenancy.

What is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy?

An Assured Shorthold Tenancy allows the landlord to evict the tenant after the initial fixed term without a legal reason. This is usually a period of six months.

When applying for a buy to let mortgage, the mortgage lender will require you to have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) and will often ask to see a copy.

If you are a private landlord renting a property that will be your tenant’s home, you will also need an AST.

Can a landlord increase the rent on an assured tenancy?

A landlord can increase the rent on an assured tenancy if:

  • There is a rent review clause written into the assured tenancy agreement
  • The tenant agrees to the rent increase
  • The landlord gives one month’s written notice (this is not allowed within the period of a fixed term tenancy)

Who is responsible for repairs on an assured tenancy?

The landlord is responsible for most repairs including the external repairs such as the roof, windows, walls and guttering. The landlord is also responsible for any issues with the heating, water, gas or electricity.

The tenant is responsible for minor property repairs such as changing fuses, light bulbs and fire alarm batteries.

Inheriting an assured tenancy

A succession happens when an assured tenant passes away and a periodic tenancy is given to a spouse or partner. This can only happen once (ie it can’t have previously been passed on this way).

Losing your status as an assured tenant

If a tenant no longer permanently lives in the rental accommodation and has another property as their main home then the landlord can end the assured tenancy.

Exceptions include if a tenant is in hospital, caring for a relative or is in prison.