So far, there is no maximum length for an assured shorthold tenancy. However, there have been calls for the government to restrict the maximum number of years that can be covered by an assured shorthold tenancy, which is simply the tenancy form for privately owned properties. The calls have been consistent with 5 years with reasons, even though it is not the most common length found in these agreements. Because assured shorthold tenancies are meant to be for short periods, the agreements usually cover between 6 months and 3 years. The length is agreed upon by the tenant and the landlord. However, there have been cases where agents have refused a letting agreement that was longer than 3 years, even after the landlord and tenant have agreed to it. Their reason may be because, if an assured shorthold tenancy agreement is to be renewed, there would be no need for another agreement to be drawn up if the new term is 3 years or less. It simply is a statutory tenancy. But if it is going to be more than, say 4 or 5 years, then another agreement has to be drawn up for the purpose.
Now, the standard length of tenancy for landlords is 6 months as it offers them ease to repossess their property through a section 21 notice once the tenancy ends. All they would require is a two month notice and no fee. It is favourable for the landlord since they can easily increase the rent fee, replace unruly tenants, and also easily renovate their property.
The tenants, on the other hand, prefer a longer tenancy agreement as it provides a certain level of security for them. Those with school-age children are better assured with a longer tenancy of up to 3, 4 or 5 years. They are better protected from indiscriminate fee increases and repossession of the house by greedy landlords. The longer the length, the more rights are accrued to the tenant.
However, a longer tenancy may be good for the landlord as much as the tenant. It provides a steady income, which isn’t assured in a short one. An assured shorthold tenancy agreement that covers only a few months might leave the landlord without a source of income if they are not able to find a replacement quickly.
There is no stipulated maximum length of an assured shorthold tenancy agreement.