What is the Minimum Length of an Assured Shorthold?


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There is also no minimum length of an assured shorthold tenancy. However, the common length is between 6 and 12 months. This became the standard because the 1988 Housing Act set a minimum length of 6 months for assured shorthold tenancy. But the 1996 abolished that by providing that landlords can give periodic tenancy for ASTs. Another reason is that, in a case where a landlord invokes section 21 of the Housing Act to repossess their property, the court most often cannot grant it if the tenant hasn’t stayed up to 6 months in the house. It doesn’t matter if the tenant has violated any of the clauses of their assured shorthold tenancy agreement. That explains why most landlords will hardly ever agree to a two or three month tenancy. It means that a tenant can easily decide to stay longer than the stipulated number of months and refuse to vacate. since the court cannot grant possession. And, in some cases, the possession proceedings only begin from the 8th month. There are also other restrictions. Section 21 of the housing act notice cannot be served if the tenant has not been given a Gas Safety Certificate, an electricity power check certified, a how to rent guidebook, and/or the tenancy deposit protection information.

If the landlord agrees, it is often better to negotiate a shorter tenancy depending on your needs. For instance, a Masters student moving somewhere for their course can get a 12-month tenancy. Once this fixed agreement expires, they can then renegotiate for a periodic tenancy with the landlord. At this point, there won’t be any fixed date for vacation. The periodic tenancy can then go on on a month by month basis.  The tenant may leave as soon as their course is over, provided they give a notice of two months before.

Although the landlord is not allowed to increase the rent in a fixed tenancy, they can do so once the minimal tenancy expires so that a new price will be renegotiated into the next agreement. A way to discourage this is to introduce a clause in the tenancy agreement that takes care of that. Really, it all comes down to negotiations between the landlord and the tenant because, most of the time, the shorter the tenancy, the costlier the rent.

Apart from all the above pros and cons, there is really no mandatory minimum length of assured shorthold tenancy.


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