Most residential tenancies are now Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST). An AST is a type of assured tenancy that allows the landlord to let the property whilst retaining the right to repossess the property at the end of the term of the tenancy. A residential tenancy created on or after 28 February 1997 will automatically be an AST (provided it meets the requirements listed below), unless the landlord has served a notice on the tenant stating that the tenancy will not be an AST. The Housing Act 1988 lists the following requirements for an AST, all of which must be fulfilled:
- The tenant must be an individual
- The property must be occupied as the tenant’s only or principal home
- The tenancy does not fall within one of the exceptions in Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Housing Act 1988.
If an AST expires and the tenant continues to occupy the premises the tenancy continues as a Statutory Periodic Tenancy on the same terms. This means that although the initial period of tenancy has come to an end the tenant can remain in the property on the same terms as before, and at the same rent, without a further document until the tenancy is brought to an end by formal notice and, if necessary, a court order. If the landlord wishes to change the rent or other terms of the tenancy this will need to be in writing and with the agreement of the tenant.