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Potential Change in Law for Assured Shorthold Tenancies

Terraced Kent houses

Potential change in law for Assured Shorthold Tenancies

With the current trend in the rise of the renter the government is considering reviewing the present situation with Assured Shorthold tenancies (AST’s).

Under current English law, assured shorthold tenancies grant tenants a minimum of six months security of tenure. As the rise of the renter increases this is something the Government really need to look at and reflect on the market conditions. The average length of a tenancy is 4.3 years with 10 per cent of those surveyed having lived in their current home for 10 years (according to Joanna Christie in July’s The Negotiator.)

The government believes that longer tenancies would be more beneficial to both tenants and landlords. On short term contracts, tenants face instability, a lack of power and the potential cost of unplanned and unwanted moves. On the other hand, longer tenancies would save time and money spent on unnecessary renewals. As well as helping renters put down roots, the government says it would also give landlords longer term financial security as stated in the The Huffington Post. In addition the government says the current situation can lead to tenants feeling insecure, unable to challenge poor property standards for fear of tenancies being terminated, and unable to plan for their future or get involved in the local community.

Under the proposals, tenants would be able to leave before the end of the minimum term, but they would have greater protection if they wanted to stay for an extended period of time.

Therefore, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is consulting on its proposed model for a minimum three-year residential tenancy with a six-month break clause, and the options for implementing this.

The core elements of the model would be:

A three-year term with an opportunity for either landlord or tenant to leave the agreement after the initial six months.
Following the six-month break clause, the tenant would be able to end the tenancy by providing a minimum of two months’ notice in writing.
Landlords would be able to recover their property during the fixed term if they had reasonable grounds.
Rents could only be increased once per year and any agreement on rent would be detailed in the tenancy agreement.

The government is considering particular aspects of implementing the new regime, including the need for legislation, tax relief for landlords, and awareness raising initiatives.

The consultation closes on 26 August 2018. The proposals apply to England only.

Contact Anji on 07748 682818 or Amanda 0n 07944 305921 for any help in finding Assured Shorthold Tenancies.

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