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shorthold tenancy

Assured shorthold tenancy

The Assured Shorthold Tenancy is the default tenancy for most dwellings in England and Wales. It is a form of Assured tenancy with limited security of tenure, and an important class of residential tenancy in England and Wales. It was introduced by the Housing Act 1988, with important changes made by the Housing Act 1996.

Security of tenure

The landlord has the right to terminate the tenancy by using a "section 21 notice", which in practice results in a minimum notice period of 2 months. Although there is no minimum length for which an assured shorthold tenancy may be granted, such a tenancy may not be ended by a section 21 notice in the first 6 months from the beginning of the tenancy. Where one assured shorthold tenancy follows another, the tenant is only protected for 6 months from the beginning of the first tenancy under which the premises were occupied.


There are a number of exceptions set out in the Housing Act 1988 under which exclude a tenancy from being an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, for example:

  • a landlord is living in the same building as the tenant
  • the rent is greater than £25 000 per annum
  • none of the tenants occupying the property do so as their principal home
  • the tenant is not an individual (for example it is a limited company)
  • the landlord is a local council

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