Tenancy Agreements under the microscope

by Leeds Building Society


The changes in Tenancy Agreements over time

From knowing when you can expect rent to be paid to who is responsible for repairs, a tenancy agreement is key when renting out a buy-to-let property. Setting down your rights and those of your tenants is the best way to ensure a hassle-free tenancy.

We've taken a look at how tenancy agreements and the legislation around them have changed over the years.

Protected Tenancy

Tenancy agreements entered into before January 1989 are commonly known as protected, or regulated tenancies, giving the tenant the most protection against evictions or rent increases. Under a Protected Tenancy, a Landlord must set a fair rent by registering it with the Rent Assessment Committee. Any rent increase must be agreed in advance. As a landlord you may be able to increase the rent where you have improved your tenants’ living arrangements, for example by renovating the property.

Assured Tenancy

Properties let between January 1989 and February 1997 were generally let under an Assured Tenancy Agreement, which protects tenants from eviction as no expiry date is cited by the landlord in the agreement. An assured tenant can continue to reside in the property as long as they do not breach any terms of the Assured Tenancy Agreement and can object to any changes proposed by a landlord who wishes to change the terms of the tenancy agreement.

An Assured Tenancy Agreement is also typical for properties let by housing associations.

Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST Agreement)

An AST Agreement is now one of the most common types of tenancy agreement and typically apply to landlords letting a house or a flat.

You can create an AST Agreement if:

  • You’re a private landlord or housing association;
  • The rent is more than £250 a year but less than £100,000 a year;
  • You don’t live in or habitually use the property;
  • It is your tenants’ main home.

When you enter into an AST Agreement you may require your tenants to pay a deposit which you are legally required to put in a Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme (TDPS) within a month of receipt.

If your tenants breach the AST Agreement such as failing to pay utility bills or causing unreasonable damage to the property you may be able to keep the full deposit or a proportion of this at the end of the tenancy. The TDPS offers an arbitration service if you are unable to come to an agreement and the money will remain in the TDPS until a decision is reached if there is a dispute.

This guide is intended as a summary only and does not constitute legal advice given by Leeds Building Society. No reliance should be placed on this guide and you must make your own decisions, we recommend that you seek legal and/or financial advice if you have any questions or queries.