• 01616 966 229
  • Request a callback
Stephensons Solicitors LLP Banner Image

News and Events

Things to consider when renting out a property as an assured shorthold tenancy

  • Posted
What is a rent repayment order and can I defend it?

An assured shorthold tenancy (AST) agreement normally has to be a minimum term of six months. Although it is not a legal requirement, we recommend it being signed by both the tenant and landlord in front of a witness who can sign that they witnessed the signatures – this takes out any ambiguity over the validity of the signed agreement.

You must ensure that the name and address of the landlord is stated in the AST to meet requirements of section 48 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 – this requires landlords to provide an address, which must be in England or Wales, at which notices may be served on them by their tenants. A failure to properly comply with this provision results in any rent demand by the landlord being invalid until the landlord does provide their address, which means a landlord is prevented from enforcing recovery of any rent until the correct notice is service (referred to as a section 48 notice).

Inventory/check-out reports

We recommend a detailed inventory with pictures to be conducted and signed by the tenant before they move into the property. This ensures a landlord can provide evidence of the state of the property when the tenant moved in in the event of any dispute about the condition of the property when the tenant leaves.

Right to rent

A landlord is required to check that a tenant or lodger can legally rent your residential property. It is best practice to check all tenants aged 18 or over.

If a tenant is not a UK citizen, a landlord must complete a right to rent check, which will involve asking for original documents as proof of the tenant’s right to live in the UK. Landlords failing to complete such checks run a risk of an unlimited fine or imprisonment if they are found to be renting the property to someone who is not allowed to stay in the UK.

More information can be found here.

Tenant referencing

We would always recommend that a landlord conducts a reference check on a tenant before they move in to ensure they can afford the monthly rent, if not, we would recommend asking for a guarantor. If they have a guarantor we would recommend putting a ‘guarantor agreement’ in place which ensures the guarantor takes full responsibly of the AST i.e. all rent, damages etc. 

Prescribed information

Landlords must ensure they have completed and/or served the following information on their tenant:

How to rent guide
This needs to be completed and served to the tenant before they move into the property (usually sent to the tenant when the AST is signed). It can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-rent

Gas safety
Gas safety needs to be conducted every 12 months,. You will need to have a valid gas safety certificate before the tenant moves in and it has to be served to the tenant within 28 days of the AST commencing.

Energy performance certificate
Valid for ten years, the energy performance certificate needs to be sent to the tenant as part of the prescribed information pack.

As of 1st June 2020 it is now a legal requirement to have a valid EICR. It needs to be conducted every five years and needs to be valid before the tenant moves into the property. 

Deposit protection scheme
A landlord cannot take more than five weeks’ worth of rent as a deposit, due to the Tenancy Fees Act. The deposit needs to be protected within one of three government approved schemes. The DPS information needs to be sent to the tenant within 30 days of the AST commencing. 

Mandatory licensing
A landlord must ensure they have the appropriate licence where relevant:

  • A licence is required for Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO). More details can be found here.
  • If the property is in Wales, the landlord is required to have a licence to rent from the local council.

Please note: This guide is a brief overview of a complex and difficult area of law. Is it is not intended as legal advice and you should seek specific advice from a solicitor on your particular situation. To be referred to a specialist solicitor please contact us on 0161 696 6170.