Standard Clauses in Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements
Things to know about standard clauses in Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements
Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements (ASTs) are the most common type of tenancy agreement in the UK and the majority of tenants will have an AST. ASTs are legal contracts between the tenant and the landlord, and for this reason, it is important to make sure that the agreement is legally binding, clear and fair.
In this guide, we will cover the common clauses found in ASTs in the UK and we will also explain what clauses are standard and which are less common.
By the end of this guide, you should have a good understanding of the standard clauses in an AST and the implications of each clause. Armed with this knowledge, you will be well-equipped to negotiate a fair and legally binding tenancy agreement
Below is an illustration of how standard AST Agreements tend to be laid out, and some of the clauses, main ones and also additional ones they most commonly contain.
This is just an example so we do not recommend you copy and paste it.
Standard AST Agreements can be downloaded here.
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:
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.
LANDLORD'S ADDRESS: __________________________________________
LANDLORD'S AGENT (if applicable): ___________________________
CONTENTS: The Landlord's fixtures, fittings and furniture listed in the
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
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
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 here.
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.
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:
"In the event of non-payment of rent, the Landlord may:
2. Charge interest on the overdue rent at a rate of 8% above the Bank of England base rate;
3. Re-enter the premises and retake possession;
4. Recover from the Tenant any reasonable costs and expenses incurred in recovering the rent or regaining possession of the premises;
5. Pursue legal action for the recovery of any outstanding rent or breach of other terms in the Tenancy Agreement."
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
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.
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 to Rental Agreements
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
_______ A, Inventory
_______ B, Policies and Rules
_______ C, Animal Agreement
_______ D, Other ________________
What is an example of a standard clause in an AST Agreement for a security deposit?
A standard clause in an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) Agreement for a security deposit in the UK is typically included to ensure that the tenant is financially responsible for damages to the property or unpaid rent. This clause will usually state that the tenant agrees to pay a security deposit prior to the commencement of the tenancy. This deposit will typically be equal to one month's rent and is intended to act as a financial cushion in case of any late rent payments or damages caused to the property by the tenant.
Example wording for a rental deposit may be as follows:
"The Tenant agrees to pay a deposit of [amount] upon the commencement of the tenancy. This deposit will be held by the Landlord and will be refunded to the Tenant at the end of the tenancy, less any deductions for damages or unpaid rent."
"The Tenant agrees to pay a deposit of [amount] upon the commencement of the tenancy. This deposit will be held by the Landlord in accordance with the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme, and will be refunded to the Tenant at the end of the tenancy, less any deductions for damages or unpaid rent."
Standard Clause for duration of Tenancy agreement UK
"This tenancy agreement shall commence on [date], and shall remain in effect for a period of [duration], after which time it shall automatically renew for successive periods of [duration] unless either party provides written notice of termination at least [notice period] prior to the end of the current tenancy period."
Tenancy agreement clause for resposnibilty for utility bills
"The Tenant agrees to be responsible for all utility bills for the duration of the tenancy, including gas, electricity, water, and any other services that may be required. The Tenant must ensure that all bills are paid in full and on time. If the Tenant falls behind in payment or fails to pay the utility bills, the Landlord reserves the right to take appropriate action to recover the debt, including but not limited to legal action and/or eviction proceedings."
A clause in an agreement saying a tenant can not make changes to the property?
"The Tenant agrees not to make any changes or alterations to the property, including but not limited to painting, installing fixtures or fittings, or making structural changes, without the prior written consent of the Landlord. Any alterations or changes made to the property without the Landlord’s prior written consent will be the sole responsibility of the Tenant and the Tenant agrees to bear all costs associated with the repair or restoration of the property to its original condition."
A clause addressing whether the tenant responsible for any repairs?
"The Tenant agrees to maintain the property in good condition and to be responsible for all necessary repairs and general maintenance. The Tenant must inform the Landlord immediately of any damage or repairs that are needed, and must take reasonable steps to ensure that the damage or repairs do not worsen. The Tenant must not attempt to carry out any repairs to the property without the Landlord's prior written consent."
Is the tenant allowed to sublet the property?
"The Tenant agrees not to sublet or assign the property to any other party without the prior written consent of the Landlord. The Tenant must not allow any other persons to occupy the property other than those stated in the tenancy agreement. Any violation of this clause may result in the termination of the tenancy agreement and eviction proceedings."
Are there any restrictions for overnight guests?
"The Tenant agrees that any overnight guests must be approved in writing by the Landlord. The Landlord will use reasonable discretion in granting permission for overnight guests. The Tenant must provide written notice to the Landlord of the name and dates of stay for any overnight guests at least 48 hours prior to their stay. The Tenant is responsible for any damages caused by overnight guests and must ensure that all guests comply with the terms of this Tenancy Agreement. The Landlord reserves the right to refuse permission for overnight guests or terminate the Tenancy Agreement if the Tenant fails to comply with this clause."
Standard clauses for pets in a rented property. Are there any restrictions on pets?
"The Tenant may keep a pet in the property provided that the Landlord has given written permission. The Tenant must provide written notification to the Landlord of the type and breed of pet prior to bringing the pet into the property. The Tenant is responsible for any damage caused to the property by the pet and agrees to pay for any repair costs. The Tenant agrees to clean up after the pet and to keep the pet under control at all times."
Not Allowing Pets Clause:
"The Tenant agrees not to keep any pet in the property without the prior written consent of the Landlord. If the Tenant is found to be keeping a pet in the property without the Landlord's consent, the Tenant will be in breach of the Tenancy Agreement and may face eviction."
Can the landlord enter the property without prior notice?
"The Tenant agrees that the Landlord may enter the property without notice for the purposes of inspection, maintenance or repair. The Landlord must provide reasonable notice in writing at least 24 hours in advance, except in the case of an emergency. The Tenant agrees to provide access to the property during reasonable hours as requested by the Landlord."
Is the tenant responsible for any legal costs incurred by the landlord?
"The Tenant agrees to pay for any legal costs incurred by the Landlord due to a breach of the Tenancy Agreement by the Tenant. This includes any court fees or charges for the recovery of unpaid rent or costs associated with damages to the property caused by the Tenant. The Tenant must pay these costs within 14 days of receiving an invoice from the Landlord."
AST clause addressing landlord responsisibilities under GDPR
1. The Landlord shall ensure that all Processing of Personal Data carried out by or on behalf of the Landlord is conducted in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and any other relevant Data Protection Laws.
2. The Landlord shall ensure that all Processing of Personal Data is carried out in accordance with the requirements of the GDPR and other relevant Data Protection Laws.
3. The Landlord shall ensure that appropriate technical and organizational measures are taken to protect Personal Data from unauthorized or unlawful Processing, accidental loss, destruction, or damage.
4. The Landlord shall ensure that all Processing of Personal Data is carried out in accordance with the rights of the Data Subject under the GDPR and other relevant Data Protection Laws.
5. The Landlord shall inform the Data Subject of its Processing of Personal Data in accordance with the GDPR and other relevant Data Protection Laws.
6. The Landlord shall ensure that the Data Subject is provided with the information required by the GDPR and other relevant Data Protection Laws.
7. The Landlord shall ensure that all Personal Data is kept secure and confidential at all times.
8. The Landlord shall ensure that all Personal Data is processed in a manner that ensures its accuracy and relevance to the purpose for which it is collected.
9. The Landlord shall ensure that any third parties engaged in the Processing of Personal Data are contractually obliged to comply with the GDPR and other relevant Data Protection Laws.
10. The Landlord shall ensure that all Personal Data is destroyed or returned to the Data Subject in accordance with the GDPR and other relevant Data Protection Laws.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this example is for illustrative purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any matter. No action should be taken or omitted based on the information provided in this example. Furthermore, this example should not be copied, pasted, or relied upon for any purpose.
You can download a trustworthy AST here