Residential Tenancy Agreement

A residential tenancy agreement grants a right of occupation of premises for residential use giving one or more adults the right to occupy the premises as their only or main residence (whether or not the premises may also be used for other purposes) and provides for payment of rent (whether or not a market rent).

What is an Assured shorthold tenancy (AST)?

The most common form of residential tenancy is an AST. Most new tenancies are automatically this type.

A tenancy can be an AST if all of the following apply:

  • you're a private landlord or housing association
  • the tenancy started on or after 15 January 1989
  • the property is your tenants' main accommodation
  • you don’t live in the property

A tenancy can't be an AST if:

  • it began or was agreed before 15 January 1989
  • the rent is more than £100,000 a year
  • the rent is less than £250 a year (less than £1,000 in London)
  • it's a business tenancy or tenancy of licensed premises
  • it's a holiday let
  • the landlord is a local council

The 2 types of AST are:

  • periodic tenancies - these run week-by-week (weekly rent) or month-by-month (monthly rent) with no fixed end date
  • fixed-term tenancies - these run for a set amount of time for example 6 months

What is an excluded tenancy or licence?

If you have a lodger living in your home and share rooms with them, like a kitchen or bathroom, you may have one of these. This usually gives your lodger less protection from eviction than other types of agreement.

What is an Assured tenancy?

Tenancies starting between 15 January 1989 and 27 February 1997 may be assured. Your tenants have increased protection from eviction with this type of agreement.

What is a Regulated tenancy?

Tenancies starting before 15 January 1989 may be regulated. Your tenants have increased protection from eviction and can apply for a "fair rent". There are special rules for changing rents and terms for regulated tenancies. As landlord you can only increase the rent up to the registered rent, which is the legal maximum set by a rent officer from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).

A Landlord can ask the VOA to review the rent so that it remains fair, usually every 2 years. You can request it sooner if there's a major change to the home (eg repairs or improvements).

The Rent Officer is required under S66 of The Rent Act 1977 to maintain a "Register of Rents" and make this available to the public. The Register can be searched online at Electronic Rent Register search.