Assured Shorthold Tenancies – as easy as pie?25 Mar 2019
In the current economic climate it may be tempting for landlords to attempt to save a few pounds by using off the shelf tenancy agreements and notices when letting and obtaining possession of a property. However given the understandably strict interpretation of the law employed by the courts in possession proceedings this may prove to be a false economy.
Landlords may consider that assured shorthold tenancy agreements (ASTs) offer little security to tenants and that obtaining possession at the end of the term will be a simple matter. However this misapprehension may end up costing the landlord dearly in both money and time when faced with a diffi cult tenant.
COMMONLY ENCOUNTERED PROBLEMS INCLUDE…
• Where the annual rent is over £100,000 a tenancy cannot be an AST and therefore the notice procedure when obtaining possession of the property is different (for once it is far easier!). Landlords who serve an incorrect termination notice can incur unnecessary costs and waste precious time.
• In order to be legally valid a tenancy that exceeds three years must be signed as a deed (i.e. the signatures witnessed). Some “off the shelf” tenancies fail to provide for this.
• Termination notices must be correctly drafted and include the correct termination date, failure to ensure that they are absolutely correct may result in any possession proceedings being dismissed.
• Since the introduction of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme and the compulsory licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation there are numerous rules and regulations that must be complied with to ensure that possession can be easily obtained at the end of the term. Failure to comply with these requirements will prevent landlords from obtaining possession.
The moral of the story – landlords would be well advised to seek specialist legal advice when issuing ASTs and when bringing possession proceedings based on them. Obtaining the correct advice at the outset may well avoid the unnecessary costs, time and inconvenience when faced with a diffi cult tenant!
Osbornes has a specialist Property Litigation Department who can assist in both the issue of tenancy agreements and recovering possession.
Shilpa became a Partner in September 2008. She specialises in residential and commercial property litigation and undertakes work for housing associations and co-operatives. Shilpa also heads up a successful Housing Department. Shilpa can be contacted on 0207 485 8811 and by email@example.com