What to Look for in an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement
Searching for a place to rent can be a daunting task, especially if you are unfamiliar with the legalities surrounding the process. One of the most important documents you will encounter during your search is the Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement. This legal agreement outlines your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, as well as those of the landlord. As a professional, here are some key things to look for in an AST agreement before you sign on the dotted line.
1. Rent and payment terms
The most important aspect of any tenancy agreement is the rent and payment terms. As a tenant, you need to be clear on how much rent you will be paying, when it is due, and how it should be paid. It’s also important to know if there are any penalties for late payment and what your options are if you cannot pay on time.
2. Tenancy period
The tenancy period is the length of time that you will be renting the property. It’s important to know if the tenancy is for a fixed term or a periodic term. A fixed term means that you are renting the property for a set period of time, whereas a periodic term means that the tenancy automatically renews at the end of each rental period (typically monthly).
Most landlords will require you to pay a deposit before moving in. Your deposit serves as a guarantee against any damage you may cause to the property during your tenancy. The AST agreement should clearly state the amount of the deposit, how it will be held, and the circumstances under which the landlord may withhold all or part of it at the end of your tenancy.
4. Repairs and maintenance
The AST agreement should outline who is responsible for repairs and maintenance of the property. Typically, the landlord is responsible for major repairs, while the tenant is responsible for minor repairs. Make sure you are comfortable with the terms outlined in the agreement before signing.
5. Termination clause
It’s important to know the circumstances under which the tenancy can be terminated. The termination clause should outline the notice period required for both you and the landlord to end the tenancy. It should also outline the circumstances under which the landlord can terminate the tenancy early – for example, if you breach any of the terms outlined in the agreement.
In conclusion, an AST agreement is a legally binding document that outlines the terms and conditions of your tenancy. As a tenant, it’s important to thoroughly review the agreement before signing and to make sure that you understand all of the terms outlined in it. By paying attention to the key things outlined above, you can ensure that you are entering into a tenancy agreement that is fair and reasonable for both you and your landlord.