Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST) Tips

Buy A Tenancy Agreement

1] Length of tenancy

Don’t give a fixed term longer than 6 months unless you trust your tenants. You can always extend the contract when the fixed term has expired.

2] Signed tenancy agreements

Never allow a tenant to move into your property until the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement is signed.

3] Keep an original copy

Hold an AST with their original signatures (i.e. not photocopies, or a faxed or scanned copy). Your tenant should also keep a copy with original signatures.

4] Ensure legality

Ensure that the Tenancy Agreement you use is valid and legal. A lot of agreements are sourced from unreliable vendors, which aren’t completely legal.

5] Statutory rights

None of the tenant’s statutory rights can be revoked or conflicted with, even if stated in the AST.

6] Minimal length of contract

An Assured Shorthold Tenant is entitled to stay in the property for a minimum of 6 months, even if the agreement stipulates a shorter period.

7] Should be included

The following should be included in the agreement:

  • tenant and landlord name, and the address of the property which is being let
  • the date the tenancy began
  • the duration of the tenancy
  • the amount of rent payable, how often and when it should be paid and how often and when it can be increased.
  • Who is responsible for which bills e.g council tax, utility bills .etc
  • if pets are allowed

8] Ammending T&C’s

A tenancy agreement can be changed if both the tenant and landlord agree. If both agree, the change should be recorded in writing, either by drawing up a new written document setting out the terms of the tenancy or by amending the existing written tenancy agreement. Moreover, ensure that the chances you make are LEGAL. Seek legal advice to get confirmation.

9] Periodic Assured Shorthold

At the end of the fixed term if the tenancy agreement is not renewed, it then becomes what is known as a Statutory Periodic Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement. The terms of the original tenancy agreement still apply, but the tenancy continues on an agreed period by period basis.

10] Notice to quit

To end an AST, the Landlord MUST serve a Section 21 (Notice of Possession Order Form), at least 2 months prior to the end of the agreed termination date.

11] Using a appropriate AST

An AST can vary in content depending on whether the property for let is furnished or unfurinished. Make sure you use an agreement which matches your let type.

12] Assured Tenancy Vs Assured Shorthold Tenancy

There’s a difference between an “Assured Tenancy” and “Assured Shorthold Tenancy”. In short, with a shorthold tenancy the landlord can regain possession of the property 6 months after the beginning of the tenancy, provided that he or she gives 2 months notice to the tenant. A assured tenancy gives the right to a tenant to remain in the property unless the landlord can prove to the coirt that he or she has grounds for posession. The landlord does not have an automatic right to reposess the property when the tenancy comes to an end.

13] Rentbook

If you have made the rent payable weekly, you have to provide the tenant with a rent book in the prescribed form (obtainable from from most large stationers).

14] Up-to-date AST’s

Make sure the AST you use is up to date. Over the years new laws have come into play, which should all be included in the contract.

15] Tenant deposit

If you’re taking a deposit from your tenant, it must be protected under one of the government approved tenancy deposit schemes, and inform the tenant using the proper form within 14 days of taking the deposit.

16] Landlord address

Ensure the AST contains an address for the landlord in England and Wales. Otherwise the agreement will not comply with section 48 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987, which means that rent will not be payable by the tenant. The address can be that of an agent if the landlord is living abroad or in Scotland.

17] Tenancy Agreements in May/June

Try not to offer a 6 month AST in May or June, it’s harder to re-let in Nov, Dec and Jan if tenant vacates. 8 month agreements during May/June is a better idea.

Got anymore? Let’s hear it, and I’ll add it to the list.

Buy A Tenancy Agreement

34 Comments- join the conversation...

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Sam 23rd November, 2009 @ 21:50

Point 15 - it is usual for the amount of the deposit and where it is held to appear in the AST [under point 7]

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jools 30th November, 2009 @ 10:41

To avoid the possibility of being accused of being unreasonable - any clauses that relate to decoration of property, installation of TV ariel etc you should include the words "permission not to be unreasonably withheld".

Jools

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GillsMan 30th November, 2009 @ 21:44

Avoid adding a clause stating that it is forbidden to change the locks. Quite simply, this appears to conflict with the tenant's right to quiet enjoyment. Instead, word any such clause in such a way that they must a) seek your permission first and b) provide you with a copy of the keys (but even then it's highly unlikely you'll be able to enforce point b).

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Sam 1st December, 2009 @ 15:56

In practice if a tenant has changed the locks it can be against their best interests - e.g. recently we had a fire in the downstaits flat and needed access to the upstairs flat to check electrics and gas etc. Checked with tenant that OK to go in and he okayed. Got there with the tradesmen - but could not get in. When we phoned the tenant it had turned out they had changed the locks!

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jools 1st December, 2009 @ 17:48

They are not actually allowed to change the locks - it would only be seen as being reasonable IF the tenant had convincing evidence that you the landlord were breaching their 'right to quiet enjoyment' by trespassing or turning up at unreasonable hours or without notice.

Jools

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Stuart John 15th December, 2009 @ 21:11

Interesting points. Just remember that there are some professional bad tennants who know this business better than any landlord. You really nned to do all checks upfront and not let a tennant rush you. I did and to my shame they are in my house, not paying rent and are now 4 months in arrears. I had a feeling but greed got the better of me. The courts will decide in Jan but by then they owe me £5400 and the house needs a complete redecorate.

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Burton 14th October, 2010 @ 09:45

I have an AST which has recently been renewed for a further 12 months, commencing from November 2010. When I visited my landlord's agent responsible for renewing the AST in a hurry I was encouraged to sign and initial the new AST prior to the landlord signing the document and I was led to believe that there were no changes. When I finally had sight of the document and the time to read it through I found there were slight amendments and repeat clauses and also the Prescribed Information to the Housing Act 2004 section had not been signed thus protecting my deposit under the TIS from the original tenancy contract which expires in November. This may have been an oversight but there could be vested interest here. As I am still within the original tenancy period until November does this negate the new contract in any way.

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GLORIA HURT 1st September, 2011 @ 07:28

if you are in the process of evicting a tenant and he/she packs up and comes over, to leave you the keys and gives you verbal notice that he/she is leaving, can you ask the tenant to sign a letter that states that they are turning over the property and does that give you the right to enter the home again with out serving notices to anyone?

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IAN 1st January, 2012 @ 17:12

urgent - i signed forms saying i would downsize from 3 beds to 1 with my housing association - assured tenancy. I know i can cancel this ? However, before the move was due to take place legally/officially 12-12-11 they advertised my house for bidding and i had people walking up the drive willy nilly at all hours - is this legal, can the housing assoc do this??

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Jeremy 3rd January, 2012 @ 01:25

Hi Ian. I'm not au fait with Housing Association tenancy agreements, but if there anything like the ones in use by private landlords then there will be an agreeement that the landlord can advertise the property for rental to a new tenant when the incumbant tenancy is about to expire.

You describe people identifying the house as for rent (I'd guess because of a For Rent sign in the front garden) and walking up your drive to take a closer look. Whilst this is incredibly bad mannered, it is not the fault of your Housing Association landlord.

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Belle 10th January, 2012 @ 17:04

My landlords notice to quit is till March 6th. Original tenancy was till January 14th so it's 2 months after original tenancy ended (we renewed till Jan NEXT year but they threw it out... I don't know where I stand here.

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Jeremy 10th January, 2012 @ 21:47

Hello again Belle,

In one of your many other posts you say you paid a £125 fee to renew your tenancy which you have not had offered back.

If you renewed the tenancy agreement from Jan 2012 to Jan 2013 then your Landlord can not issue a Section 21 notice asking for two months to terminate the tenancy, see http://www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/blog/difference-between-section-8-and-section-21-notice/ for more info.

If they want posession of your property before the tenancy ends (Jan 2013), they will have to either:
+ Issue a section 8 notice and for that to be agreed by the court the landlord must be able to prove you've done something very wrong under the agreement
+ Bargin with you to see if you'll end the tenancy early by mutual consent. And of course you can do this, or not, on terms acceptable to you.

I don't know what you mean by "they threw it out". Who's "they"?

Your other posts paint a picture of a mould infested eletrical deathtrap run by a landlord who's the DIY-er from hell. Why you renewed is beyond me but as you can't change the past, if I were in your shoes, I'd be reminding the landlord of my legal rights; telling him I'll assert the rights I have and be more vigorous in with-holding rent in the future to fix maintenance problems he refuses to get resolved professionally (this will drive him mad - spending his money on a house he may plan to dispose of) and inviting him to put down a sensible offer for the early termination of the tenancy. Those terms to include a guarantee of the return of the deposit.

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Belle 10th January, 2012 @ 21:54

Hiya.

The sockets did spark.. Desperate times unfortunately.
We signed a form that asked us if we wanted to renew etc after a letter saying We're delighted to inform you your landlord whats to renew with you blah blah etc. We signed acompanying form and paid the fee (they is the Estate Agents) this was a week or so before Christmas. Come January 4th, we recieve a section 21 notice. There are less than 2 months left, I'm not sure how to play it. Council bloke says the notice they sent us what perfectly fine after I showed it to him (I don't see how!) and that no, we did not have a case. They (agents) have said oh yes you will get your fee back, upon my mid sentence asking about ending before the notice was up, he hung up on me. As far as they're concerned, we didn't renew our tenancy, they just have £125 for no apparent reason unless he decided around the same time he didn't want to renew but in that case we could have been told and he could have had us out by the 14th Jan instead. It makes no sense to me.

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Jeremy 10th January, 2012 @ 22:11

Hello Belle,

Thanks for your further details. English contract law demands three things:
Offer (they invited you to stay for a year)
Acceptance (you signed the forms)
Consideration (you gave them money)

So:
1 = Have you kept the agent's original letter offering renewal;
2 = Did you take a photocopy of the form you completed?
3 = Did they cash your cheque in?

If you've got 1 and / or 2 and also they've done 3, then you have enough evidence to show the landlord's agent has bound the landlord into offering you a further year. The fact they have not got round to the admin of issuing a replacement agreement with the new dates on it is immaterial.

Then you've got the ace cards in the negotiation. This is guesswork, but either the agent has mucked up and offered renewal when the landlord told them not to or the landlord has changed his mind. Either way someone is trying to do something naughty to you to cover up their mistake / change of mind.

Decide if you want to leave the dump. Then extract a high price for the highly valuable right of early release.

BTW: I think the council person probably reviewed the form to make sure it was drafted properly. My opinion of council workers is that they are really good at knowing housing law and regulations, but not very good at knowing contract law. This is a contract law issue. If you've got a friendly solicitor or para-legal in commercial practice, give them a shout.

Let us know how you get on.

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Belle 10th January, 2012 @ 22:16

I still have the letter.
The form is literally only signed by my partner and I, the form they had from us that is, we have a blank copy but we can easily re-sign it so both have signed copies.
Payment was via Debit Card so I pressume yes they have taken the money. (I typed this and my other half chirped in that yes, the most definitely took payment)

My aunt is a solicitor although she specialises in family law but she might be able to give us some advice or be able to consult with a collegue.

We do want to just get out of here, but that's not the point, it's that they're trying to take us for a ride and the way they have treated us is absolutley disgusting.

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Jeremy 10th January, 2012 @ 22:38

Hello Belle,

As far as I'm concerned, you have them hoisted in a gibbet for the sport of their own crows. You have a cast-iron agreement to a tenancy expiring in Jan 2013.

Early release of your rights is on terms acceptable to you. Make them sweat! Bring a friend of your Aunt in if they appear to refuse to listen to you.

Yes, I agree your point about how badly your story paints the landlord. I hope my advice goes a littel way to helping realise not all landlords are awful! Make sure to tell lots of your local friends how bad this place is.

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Belle 10th January, 2012 @ 23:28

Hey, Jeremy.

Thank you. I don't think the fact helps that I was moving here (Staffordshire) from Birmingham either.

I didn't think this would happen, I didn't expect it to be perfect but I didn't expect him to be a scumbag. He tried telling my mum (our guarantor) that he was poor. His contractor friend told me he not long built an annex on his already huge property, and the landlord himself told me he was going away on holiday for the second time in 3 months. But he's poor! Upstairs and next door who we're friends with no exactly what I think now of them though (we're good friends and we've all agreed he just can't be bothered) of course none of them have really pushed to get things done so he leaves them alone. If he tries to visit in the mean time, I'm not going to allow him in and if he insists on trying to enter then I'll call the police line. Actually, I could have been so nasty and just not let him in when he came round even though he said he was coming. (I would have gone over my contract to call him back as I was out of minutes)

I really appreciate the advice and input. I know not all landlords are bad, I guess I just drew the short straw. I ended up staying at my fellas houseshare (2nd year of uni at the time) and his landlord was one of the nicest guys I had ever met! He was a little old gent and he was so nice, he tried his best to resolve problems and actually came round to maintain the backgarden himself with his wife and always kept people informed and was very nice about me practically moving in there, he could have (and I wouldn't have argued it) wanted to add a little more to his rent but no, he was lovely and sang my fellas praises about what a good tennant he is. I hope the other agents we go to (if we can get this flat we view on Saturday) are as nice. Their writing and talking in person seems a lot nicer than the current agents website (who sound all ME ME ME LANDLORD MONEY ME ME AND I GUESS MAYBE YOU) fingers crossed eh. Though this new place is beautiful, looks in good repair, modern, well cared for unlike this place. Theres a floorboard that goes doooown when you step on it as it clearly needs replacing which I said about when we moved in that needs fixing (as they said the day before we got the keys the floorboards were being done that day, and they were.. just in one room) and this is the most trodden area of the house as you come in, go through the kitchen in to this room and it's right in the door way. Speaking of the kitchen, that's not even level. :|

Sorry for ranting on there. Needless to say, I'm not happy! I really hope the next tenant doesn't have so much bad luck with this all. I hope the landlord has gotten the sense to actually fix it properly (the things he did fix, he did a half job so they'd probably break sooner and cost him even more in the long run.) I quite enjoy this blog/site. It's nice to see things from the other side and does restore my faith a little!

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Rose 31st March, 2012 @ 08:58

The six month break clause in my tenancy agreement requires a 2 month notice period, my landlord has given me 4 months notice but I'd like to leave sooner (at the end of the two month notice).

As they've already given me notice can I just tell them that I want to leave at the end of the two month notice period or do I have to give them formal notice to get out before the end of the 4 months?

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Jeremy 1st April, 2012 @ 11:57

Hello Rose,

I'm not sure I understand what's goin on here. A break clause is usually around a certain set date, not a minimum notice period, otherwise what's the point of having an agreement with an end date?

So are you in the period of a tenancy agreement, or have you moved onto a Periodic Tenancy?

Knowing that will let me help you.

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issy 24th April, 2012 @ 15:56

We have a house share with another couple, but we refused to sign first agreement and told landlord that he couldn't run his dog boarding business from here. So now he has put his name on as a tenant and his wife is now sole landlord, so he can carry on running business, yet i'm not allowed to bring my own boarding dogs as it would affect his business, and considering in tenancy agreement states that no business can be run from the property. One other thing, as 5 of us on tenancy the rent still states £1,000 per calender month could we make landlords partner - tenant pay part of that rent

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emma 14th July, 2012 @ 11:26

hi,
I was looking for some advice. I am having to lesve my new tenancy agreement early - things aren't working out with the flatmates. As there is going to be a new tenancy agreement drawned up can someone clarify who should pay for this? I have not done this or gone through anything like this before, so don't know what it done, what is the norm or how it works. my flatmates tell me that i should be paying for this -just seems very costly....

any guidance would be great.

thanks
emma

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cardifflandlord 14th July, 2012 @ 12:25

Issy - in order to run a business from home the landlord would have to apply for planning permission from the local council. Contact them to see if this permission has been granted - if not he is breaking the law. If he's a tenant then he needs to pay rent.

I would actually leave given the fact the AST is probably worthless and unenforceable given the unfairness of him being allowed to keep dogs and you not being allowed to. Tell them to go forth and multiply forthwith!

Emma: If you are leaving early then it's upto you to cover the costs of reletting/redrawing of AST. Think yourself lucky that you are being allowed to do this since normally you would be required to find another tenant or failing that you would have to pay for the rest of the AST you are contracted to.

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Emma 15th July, 2012 @ 14:56

Thanks for that. They have got a new tenant to go on the lease., and as far as I know the new tenant is happy to pay. So in this case should it be the new tenant that pays for the new lease?? Or should it be split? Its not clear on the lease and I can't find guidance anywhere else for it. I don't think anything is written in stone for these situations and at the end of the day, it seems an easy way for the estate agents to make money....

Thanks again for your advice

Emma

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cardifflandlord 16th July, 2012 @ 10:39

Emma, It depends on whether you want to do the right thing and offer to pay after all you are the one who's benefiting from leaving early and the LL has had to do the work in getting a new tenant.

You don't actually say how much it is but it would be a nice gesture given the LL has agreed and he had no obligation to do so and you could have been stuck there 'till the end of your AST!

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Jeremy 31st July, 2012 @ 23:19

Well said, Cardiff!

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Jenny 19th January, 2013 @ 21:22

Hi, I live in a house share, I rent a room, I have signed a residential house and flat sharing agreement, as have the other two occupants of the house, the landlord runs his business from the office and plays poker here every Tuesday night (which I knew when I moved in) on Thursday we were burgled and, none of us had separate insurance, I understand that was our frustrating responsibility, however on asking the landlord since burglary for a lock on each bedroom door (bearing in mind strangers not the occupants are in and out of the house regularly) he was very reluctant, would any tenancy insurance be valid without a lock on my own door?

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Dawny 1st February, 2013 @ 17:57

Help, looking for advice. I live in a private rented property but do not deal with the landlord - have to deal with the letting agent. The house has a gap to the window where it has bowed in the middle which makes the house freezing, seals have gone on windows and are full of mould and fungus and the pressure has gone on the boiler so most of the radiators do not work. I have 3 young children, one has a persistant cough, one has a hole in her heart and the baby has been to the doctors twice over winter with a bad cough. I myself suffer from constant headaches. All this was reported 3 months ago to the letting agents and is still ongoing as they want me to either ring their contractor so he can give me instructions over the phone on how to fix the pressure on the boiler or pay for a visit, quote and then the actual repairs which i am not prepared to do. I have all this in writing from them as well. I am now at the point where I have told them i am leaving and have given 4 weeks notice but my tenancy does not end till another 6 months. They now want a release fee, a tenant fee, rent till they find a new tenant plus council tax and utilities by way of i either leave the heating on or drain the water system then pay for having it refilled. The release fee is 180 pounds alone and this has to be paid before they will remarket the property. They havent even told me if the landlord will release me. Enviromental health are now coming to inspect the property so my question is if the property is found to be unfit to live in can i get released from the tenancy and just pay the release fee and tenant fee.

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Jeremy 3rd February, 2013 @ 13:59

Hello Dawny,

If your house is really unfit then the tenancy ends as an operation of the law and thre is no release fee.

If, however, you can be shown to have made it unfit then you will have to continue with the tenancy and could be laible for any costs to remediate.

Something I don't understand is your unwillingness to phone the landlord's plumber to talk aboue re-pressurising the boiler (it's incredibly easy, not a tradesman job at all) or allow them to come round to look at the problem. If you report theproblem but won't participate in it getting fixed, then the law will not look favourably at you.

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Amelia 6th October, 2013 @ 19:09

Hi there,

I really hope you can help.

We are in a position where we rented a property through a letting agents which commenced June 2012. We started to notice a damp problem (which we knew had been a problem before) reoccurring in the inside wall just off the front door. They had basically just painted over the damp. The plaster and paint has been peeling and getting drastically worse for the past few months. We first reported this in January 2013. We kept chasing the agents who were chasing our then landlord for the money to carry out the works. The quote had obviously been quite high for the works as the agents actually told us at one point that the landlord was considering selling a car in order to fund the repairs. Anyway in July we had a letter from Solicitors for the landlord saying his mortgage was in arrears which rang alarm bells for us. Then in August we were told he was considering selling and would we allow viewings for an investment landlord to come and look round which we agreed to no problem. In September we had an automatic letter saying our contract was up for renewal and then last Friday we were notified that the new landlord needs to gut the entire property to sort the damp issue and refurbish the place and on September 27th we were served notice.

We have since been looking for a new home. I rang our agents to ask them whether we had to stay for two months or whether we could leave earlier. This was on the 2nd October. The agents contacted the new landlord and returned with the answer that he has builders booked in to start work from Nov 31st - the date the tenancy ends and that as he couldn't get them to come any earlier he wouldn't release us any earlier. Last night, pre-empting we might like a flat we were going to visit today, I text our new landlord (he didn't provide an e-mail) asking him if he could send me his e-mail in order for me to ask him in writing whether he would re-consider the release. His response was the same about his builder and that he quote "can't afford to just give away £950". I responded saying neither could we and could he be a bit more understanding given the circumstances and that I'd rather discuss this via e-mail. He responded again with no e-mail address just a very blunt "I bought the property subject to your tenancy agreement which is a 2 way agreement. I don't wish to sound harsh but this is business. I will try another builder to see if he can start early Nov but if he can't do it then that will be that." Nice. This is his business but this is our life! I just want some advice as to whether we have any grounds to leave earlier. Can we still give our 1 month's notice or would it have had to of been given on Sep 31st? Have we any grounds for breach of contract with regards to the damp and the works not been done despite the fact this is a new landlord and it is now technically our old landlord who breached the contract? Please help. We simply cannot afford to pay 2 months rent - one on the old place and one in the new one but we worry we risk losing the new flat if we can't move earlier as there are other parties interested too. Any advice would be greatly received. Many Thanks.

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lusi 6th November, 2013 @ 08:22

"Never allow a tenant to move into your property until the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement is signed." Also verify all the documents and even ID of your tenant. Identify verification is the instrument to maintain your safety. If you use some websites where you look for tenants they write their contact information (for example, look here http://chicago.localmart.com/apartments-for-rent/) so you can find him on facebook to know him better or verify the info the way you like.

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Leah 11th November, 2013 @ 10:14

If a tenant has agreed to renew the tenancy 2 months prior to the end then nearer the end of the AST they say actually we are moving out at the end of the contract do they need to serve notice? if so how much, they are in month 11 of an AST where 2 months notice is needed to end but it is due to end in a months time and no renewal contract has been signed. To end on the fixed term do they still need to serve 2 months notice or can they just leave? We have it in writing them agreeing to renew. - Thanks

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Mike 22nd December, 2013 @ 17:52

Hi all,

Advice urgently required - we were in a fixed term tenancy till April 2014. We asked the landlord if we could leave early and he agreed twice verbally and once in writing, and we left the property early and in good faith with the landlords approval.

We've subsequently discovered that he now wants all our deposit and all sorts of costs in between us moving out and a new tenant moving in.

As far as we understood, the landlord saying we could go early terminated the tenancy agreement.

Would welcome any thoughts.

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Pam 16th June, 2014 @ 19:54

My house is let on a AST to joint tenants and I have been told one of the tenants moved out 2 months ago .The one that is left wants to have a new tenancy just in his name at the end of the six months. Do I issue a new AST and will the guarantor still be valid? I would be grateful for your advice. Thank you.

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Giuseppe 10th October, 2016 @ 06:21

Hi,

I'm currently sharing a flat with my ex-colleague. We were working for the same company who was paying the rent, but now I left them and I am working directly for their client. They are really angry now and want me to move out as soon as possible, even if the room where I am staying will be empty, but I have nowhere to go at the moment.They only figure as guarantor in the AST, which was signed by me and my previous colleague. The AST incudes some clause, i.e. we can't leave the house before an year from the commencement of the agreement; the rent can be paid by us or by someone on behalf of us; as per all the normal AST, we need to give a 2 months written notice prior leaving the apartment.
They asked the agents to reissue a new contract removing My name, but the agency confirmed me that they cannot tell me to leave in two days as it is not a company let. I am also not sure now which of the two contracts is valid.
I need to continue staying here, and I am available to pay half the rent.
My questions as following:
can the rent be paid half by me, and other half by the company?
My colleague will probably leave the house within three months, and I am sure the client we are working for won't accept a new replacement by them. Therefore can he be replaced by another person even if the minimum term for which we are obliged to stay (1 year) will come to an end in 9 months? Do we have to reissue a new contract if he leaves or can we simply swap the names on the initial contract signed by us? If a new contract will be needed, do the commencement date will have to be changed or can it remain the same as it was per initial contract?
If they ipothetically manage to convince me to move out,
What should they do in order to remove me from any responsibility concerning the agreement? I believe that I 'll have to give a written notice to the landlord, if they want so. What else then?

I hope I 'll receive a feedback soon.
Thanks

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