The following are the legal background requirements of assured shorthold tenancies:
1. Tenant Identity Check
From 1st of February 2016, landlords are required to run background checks on tenants before renting out their houses to them. These identity checks should include finding out if the tenant is an immigrant. If so, they should determine whether their immigration status allows them to rent a house in the UK. A fine of up to £3,000 will be given to any landlord who rents to a tenant that doesn’t have the right to rent a house.
The law permits landlords to request marriage certificates if the tenant is married, birth certificate, insurance, benefit book, utility bills, and so on.
Landlords are also required to check the tenant‘s employment and credit history before renting out their property and make sure that every person over the age of 18 is legally permitted to rent a house, even if the name of any person does not appear in the tenancy agreement.
2. Gas and Electricity Safety
The Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015 states that the landlord is required to provide the tenant with a free copy of the gas and electricity safety certification before the signing of the tenancy agreement. Even after signing the agreement between the landlord and the tenant, it is the landlord‘s duty to make sure that the gas installation is inspected from time to time, at least once a year, by a registered gas engineer. A copy of the conditions of the system should be with both the landlord and the tenant at all times. The same goes for the electrical connections. Imprisonment, or a fine of up to £25,000, is possible for defaulting landlords, while that of failing to meet with electricity requirements is a £5000 fine.
3. Deposit Protection Scheme
You will find this included in the tenancy agreement. It stipulates the amount of deposit for the property. Deposits can also be made with other items apart from money if the tenancy is assured shorthold. The landlord is also required to show how the deposit will be protected. Usually, the method will be through the Deposit Protection Scheme. They are required to provide the tenant with the protection information after registration. The deposit must be returned to the tenant no more than 10 days after the end of the tenancy.