As a tenant or landlord, it is essential to have a proper understanding of the different types of rental agreements available. The two most common types of rental agreements in the UK are the Common Law Tenancy Agreement and the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST). In this article, we will delve into the differences between the two and help you understand which one would be most suitable for your rental needs.
Common Law Tenancy Agreement
Common Law Tenancy is also referred to as a Periodic Tenancy. A common-law arrangement is one where the tenant occupies the property under an unwritten agreement. The rental agreement may be verbal or in writing, and there are no fixed terms or maximum period of occupancy. The tenancy agreement can last for an indefinite period and can be terminated by either the landlord or the tenant at any time. The common law tenancy agreement is commonly used for renting rooms in a shared property.
The terms and obligations of a common law tenancy are not as strict as an AST. Tenants have more flexibility as there is no fixed term, and there are no mandatory requirements such as deposit protection. The landlord can only increase the rent if they provide reasonable notice.
Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST)
An AST is a written agreement that is used for tenants who wish to rent a property for a fixed period and is the most common type of tenancy agreement used in the UK. ASTs were introduced under the Housing Act 1988.
An AST is a legal contract between the landlord and the tenant, and it outlines the terms and conditions of the tenancy. The most significant advantage of an AST is that it offers security of tenure to the tenant for the duration of the agreement. A tenant can only be evicted by the landlord if they have valid reasons such as non-payment of rent, damage to the property, or anti-social behaviour.
An AST typically includes terms such as the rental amount, the length of the tenancy, the obligations of both the landlord and the tenant, and the deposit amount. The landlord must protect the deposit in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme, and they can only increase the rent at the end of the fixed-term period.
Which one is right for you?
The type of rental agreement you choose depends on your rental needs. If you are looking for flexibility and a short term stay, then a common law tenancy agreement may be more suitable. However, if you want a fixed-term agreement with security of tenure, an AST would be the better option.
It is essential to read and understand the terms of the tenancy agreement before signing. Ensure that you are aware of your obligations as a tenant, and if there are any clauses that you do not understand, ask the landlord or seek legal advice.
In conclusion, whether you choose a common law tenancy agreement or an AST, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the terms and requirements of the rental agreement. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice will depend on your specific needs and circumstances.