Last edited 22 Jun 2018

Difference between assured shorthold tenancy and assured tenancy

A tenant is the occupier of a leasehold estate, that is, someone who occupies land or property that they rent from a landlord. Tenancy is the agreement between the landlord and the tenant giving them the right of occupancy.

Assured shorthold tenancy (AST) is the most common type of agreement used by landlords to let residential properties to private tenants. ASTs are typically given for a period of six months but can be for longer. After this initial agreed period, the landlord is able to evict the tenant without a legal reason.

An assured tenancy in contrast, provides tenants with far greater security of tenure in the long-term, as they are able to stay in a property until they choose to leave or the landlord gains possession on one of the grounds listed in the Housing Act 1988. This usually requires waiting until a certain condition has arisen which enables them to seek a possession order, for example, the tenants go into arrears on the rent.

This is the central difference between the two tenancies; under an AST the landlord has the automatic right to regain possession at any point after the fixed term of the tenancy agreement has expired as long as they provide reasonable notice, whereas under an assured tenancy, the landlord does not have this automatic right which grants the tenant greater security of tenure.

Prior to February 1997, assured tenancies were the most common type of tenancy, but now they are seldom used as landlords tend to prefer ASTs, since it allows them to recover possession without requiring a reason or proof of infringing a condition. Some assured tenancies are inadvertently created as a result of the landlord failing to adhere to the correct procedure required for ASTs.

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