Information for landlords and tenants on assured shorthold tenancy agreements in England and Wales

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About Tenancy Agreements

Standard Clauses in Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements

Below is an illustration of how standard AST Agreements tend to be laid out, and some of the clauses they most commonly contain.

Standard AST Agreements can be obtained from landlords' associations, letting agents and reputable stationers. 

Landlords wishing to add any extra clauses can do so by means of an Addendum.
It is advisable to have this done by a solicitor, to ensure that it is done correctly and will be legally enforceable if required.

 

The Tenancy Agreement

This section, typically the first page of the AST Agreement, defines the terms of the agreement, for example:

 

TENANCY AGREEMENT

THIS AGREEMENT is made on the date specified between the Landlord and the Tenant. It is intended that the tenancy created by this Agreement is and shall be an assured shorthold tenancy within the meaning of the Housing Act 1988 as amended by the Housing Act 1996.

 

DATE:                                  _____________________________________

LANDLORD:                       __________________________________________

LANDLORD'S ADDRESS:  __________________________________________

                                             __________________________________________

LANDLORD'S AGENT (if applicable): ___________________________

TENANT(S):                       __________________________________________

                                            __________________________________________

PROPERTY:                       __________________________________________

                                           __________________________________________

CONTENTS:                     The Landlord's fixtures, fittings and furniture listed in the
                                           attached Inventory.

TERM:                               For the term of _________ months

                                          Starting from: __________________

RENT:                               ________ (_____________________ pounds) per calendar
                                          month, in advance.

DEPOSIT:                        A deposit of ________ (_____________________ pounds)
                                         to be paid to the Landlord on the signing of this Agreement.
 

 

 

Clauses describing the landlord's obligations

Part 1 of a standard AST agreement typically consists of clauses describing the obligations of the landlord, such as:

 

1. The Landlord agrees:

1.1  To let the Property and its Contents to the Tenant for the Term at the Rent payable
       above. As long as the Tenant complies with the Tenant's obligations (see below), the
       landlord agrees not to interfere with the Tenant's use and enjoyment of the Property.

1.2  To pay the balance of the Deposit to the Tenant as soon as possible after the conclusion
       of the tenancy, minus any reasonable costs incurred for the breach of any obligation.
       Where applicable, the Landlord may retain the Deposit until the Local Authority
       confirms that no Housing Benefit paid to the Landlord ins repayable.

1.3  To keep the structure and exterior of the Property in good repair.

1.4  To keep the installations of the Property in good repair and proper working order for
       water, gas, electricity, sanitation and heating.

1.5  To ensure that the Property has an up-to-date gas safety certificate under the Gas Safety
      (Installations and Use) Regulations Act 1998. All gas appliances, flues and other fittings
       to be checked annually to ensure they are safe and working properly.

1.6  To comply with the obligations under the Fire and Safety Regulations 1988. All of the
       Landlord's furniture and furnishings, including sofas, bed, cushions and pillows, must
       meet these fire safety standards.
 

 

There may also be clauses requiring the landlord to insure the property, or clarifying which issues are not the landlord's responsibility, e.g. rebuilding the property in the case of destruction by flood or fire.

 

Clauses describing the tenant's obligations

Part 2 of a standard AST agreement typically consists of clauses describing the obligations of the tenant, for example:

 

2. The Tenant agrees:

2.1  To pay the Rent on the days and in the manner stated in the Agreement without any
       deduction.

2.2  To pay the Deposit as security for the performance of the Tenant's obligations and to
       pay and compensate the Landlord for the reasonable costs of breach of these
       obligations.

2.3  That if the Landlord has recourse to the Deposit during the Tenancy, the Landlord may
       immediately demand from the Tenant whatever amount is required to restore the amount
       of the Deposit to the original sum.

2.4  To arrange immediately with the relevant supply company for all accounts for water, gas,
       electricity, telephone, and television licence (where applicable) at the Property to be
       addressed to the Tenant in their own name and to pay all charges for these.

2.5  Not to damage the Property and Contents or make any alterations or additions.

2.6  To keep the interior of the Property in a good, clean and tenantable state and not
       damage or injure the Property.

2. 7  To maintain at the Property and keep in a good and clean condition all of the items
        listed in the Inventory.

2.8  Not to keep any animals, birds, or other living creature at the Property without the
       Landlord's prior written consent.

2.9  To pay for any cleaning that may be required to reinstate the Property to the same order
       that it was provided at the beginning of the Tenancy, including the washing or cleaning of
       all carpets and curtains which have been soiled during the Tenancy.

2.10  Not to be a nuisance to the neighbours. The Tenant will not make any noise that is
         audible outside the Property from 11pm to 8am daily.
 

 

There are typically many more clauses describing the tenant's obligations, which may include an obligation not to smoke in the property, or to limit smoking to designated areas.  For a fuller statement of the standard AST clauses, landlords can obtain a standard agreement from their letting agency, landlords' association, solicitor, or any reputable stationer.

 

Clauses describing the end of the tenancy

After describing the obligations of the landlord and the tenant, there usually follow some clauses outlining the ways in which the tenancy agreement may be ended.  For example:

 

3. The Landlord can terminate the Tenancy on the last day of the Term, or after the Term, by
    service of the Landlord's notice of intention to seek possession.

4. Before the Landlord can end this tenancy, he shall serve any notice(s) in accordance with
    the provisions of the Housing Acts. Such notice(s) shall be sufficiently served if served in
    accordance with section 196 of the Law of Property Act 1925. Under this, a notice shall
    be sufficiently served if sent by registered or recorded delivery post (if the letter is not
    returned undelivered) to the Tenant at the Property or the last known address of the
    Tenant or left addressed to the Tenant at the Property.

5. The Tenant can terminate the Tenancy by vacating the Property on the last day of the
    Term, or after that by giving the Landlord one month's notice in writing.
 

 

 

Notices relating to non-payment of rent

Standard AST agreements include a clause in which the landlord gives notice of actions that may be taken in the event of a non-payment of rent. For example:

 

6. If the Tenant does not pay the rent due to the Landlord under this agreement within 14
    days of the due date, the Tenant will be issued with a reminder from the Landlord, in
    writing, for which there is a charge of 20. Interest will also be charged at the rate of 5%
    per annum, calculated on a daily basis from the due date until the rent is paid.
 

 

 

Other Notices

If the rental property was previously the landlord's home, a notice like this may be included:

 

7. Notice is hereby given that possession might be recovered under Ground 1, Section 2 of
    the Housing Act 1988 if applicable. That is, that the Landlord used to live in the Property
    as his or her main home; or intends to occupy the Property as his or her only or main
    home.
 

 

 

Authorising Disclosure

Standard ASTs may include a clause in which Tenants authorise certain organisations to disclose information to the Landlord in specified circumstances:

 

8. The Tenant irrevocably authorises the Local Authority, Benefits Agency, Post Office and
    the relevant utility companies (including electricity, gas, water and telephone) to discuss
    and disclose to the Landlord or Agent all financial and other information relating to the
    Property or any housing benefit claim. This authority shall extend to disclosure of the
    Tenant's whereabouts if the Tenant has left the Property with rent or other money owing.
 

 

 

Final Clause

After all the clauses of the agreement (but before any addenda) there would usually be a final clause like this:

 

9. This Agreement, which includes all the attachments referred to below, constitutes the entire
    agreement between Landlord and Tenant and cannot be modified except in writing and signed
    by all parties.
 

 

Addenda

A tenancy agreement may include an addendum or several addenda, which form part of the agreement. If so, a clause should be included in the main agreement that lists the addenda and provides a space where the tenant can initial to confirm that they have read and agree to the contents of the addenda. For example:
  
 

9.  By initialling as provided, the Tenant acknowledges receipt of the following addenda, as
     indicated, copies of which are attached hereto and are incorporated as part of this
     Agreement.

_______ A,    Inventory

_______ B,    Policies and Rules

_______ C,    Animal Agreement

_______ D,    Other ________________
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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