Assured Shorthold Tenancies

The vast majority of private rented tenants are assured shorthold tenants. You automatically have an assured shorthold tenancy if:

  • you moved in on or after 28 February 1997 and
  • you pay rent to a private landlord and
  • you have control over your home so that your landlord and other people cannot come in whenever they want to and
  • your landlord does not live in the same building as you

You will also be an assured shorthold tenant if you moved in between 15th January 1989 and 27th February 1997 and your tenancy agreement specifically stated that is was an assured shorthold tenancy.

Your tenancy might be for a set period such as six months (this is known as a fixed term tenancy). Or it might roll on a week to week or month to month basis (this is known as a periodic tenancy).

The law gives you rights to:

  • get information about your tenancy
  • control your home so that you can stop other people from freely entering
  • get certain types of repairs done (mainly the structure and systems of the house)
  • live in your accommodation until your landlord gets a court order to evict you

Assured shorthold tenants can be evicted fairly easily, particularly if any fixed term agreement has come to an end. The landlord may not have to give a reason but would usually have to give two months written notice. An assured shorthold tenant can be asked to leave without good reason if:

  • the initial fixed term agreement (which could be six or twelve months or more) has ended
  • the tenancy was a periodic tenancy (rolling, with no fixed term) and the tenant has been in the property for more than six months
  • any deposit paid to the landlord was paid into a deposit protection scheme

If you have broken the terms of your tenancy agreement for example by not paying rent or causing damage to the property or antisocial behaviour your landlord may be entitled to give you as little as two weeks notice to quit.

If you don't leave by the end of the notice period your landlord will have to go to court to get a court order to evict you. This is know as a possession order. (Granting the landlord possession of his property) If the correct procedure has been followed by the landlord the court will grant the order and you may be liable for the costs.

If you don't leave by the time a court order takes effect, the court can ask the bailiffs to physically remove you from the property.

If the landlord tries to get you to leave without following the correct procedure he may be guilty of an offence. See the harassment and illegal eviction page for more information.