How comprehensive does an AST have to be?

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    How comprehensive does an AST have to be?

    Hi all,

    I generally draft my own ASTs for my lets. I try to keep it to a reasonable length (about 8 A4 pages), but there are certain things I don't cover. Notably what happens when (and how) it becomes a periodic tenancy, and under what conditions a tenant can terminate the tenancy (assuming there is no break clause).

    This is because I presume that both parties can rely on the terms dictated under law and this doesn't have to be explicitly repeated in the AST. Am I right to take this approach? I just don't want a bloated AST if I can avoid it, no good for either party.

    Ta!

    #2
    Originally posted by fandango View Post
    ... both parties can rely on the terms dictated under law and this doesn't have to be explicitly repeated in the AST.
    I agree that you have a sound approach for matters that are set out clearly in statute, anyway. One real disadvantage of repeating stuff, is that if the law changes, your agreement may be at variance with amended statute, and that can only lead to uncertainty or, at worst, unenforceable provisions.

    The other approach might be that some tenants will be expecting to see such matters as notice periods set out explicitly. It's all very well for an honest and competent landlord to assure their tenant that they needn't worry about x, y or z, because its already satisfactorily legislated for, but the tenant's last landlord may have been incompetent or dishonest, and the tnenat may not be minded to trust the landlord's assurances.

    As for brevity: an agreement really needs say very little. One side of A4 could be perfectly OK, and eight pages already starts to look rather verbose. Unless it's in big print, of course.

    Comment


      #3
      It needs to say what must be said and not be verbose, but I doubt that this would fit on a single side of A4 paper if written in 10/12pt.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by jjlandlord View Post
        It needs to say what must be said ...
        Well, yes, but as there's no mandatory requirement for a written agreement, at all, it follows that the essence of a tenancy agreement (in the sense of what needs to be agreed) is not very much. A good agreement will say more, but verbosity is not something to strive for. I don't think anyone suggested that to the draughtsman responsible for the government's epic model agreement ...

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          #5
          Originally posted by StuartH View Post
          A good agreement will say more, but verbosity is not something to strive for.
          We are obviously discussing good agreements...

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by StuartH View Post
            I don't think anyone suggested that to the draughtsman responsible for the government's epic model agreement ...
            The model agreement is a daunting beast, I would say that the section with regard to grounds for termination by the landlord (mandatory, discretionary by the courts. etc) is quite nice and succinct though. I've used something v.similar myself as a result in mine

            Comment


              #7
              As an additional thought: there is so much not determined by existing law that DOES need to be in an AST. Who sorts the garden, what about pets, what about council tax and utilities, what about subletting, etc. I can't see how a decently comprehensive AST can be only a couple of pages long!

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by fandango View Post
                As an additional thought: there is so much not determined by existing law that DOES need to be in an AST. Who sorts the garden, what about pets, what about council tax and utilities, what about subletting, etc. I can't see how a decently comprehensive AST can be only a couple of pages long!
                Well, my standard agreement (in which the government model on which it was based is still clearly recognisable) runs to four sides of A4 and 2,600 words. It doesn't mention the garden directly (but does say the tenant must take reasonable care of the property, which includes the garden) and it deals with the other specifics you mentioned in a very few words. I omitted anything about the landlord ending the agreement, save for permitting use of the grounds used in s8 notices during the fixed term, and provision for termination if the tenancy ceased to be an AST. Anything more, on that topic, would be padding, because it only states the well-established law.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by fandango View Post
                  How comprehensive does an AST have to be? ....
                  Nuffink really: Just agree rent, shake hands, no need for paperwork (for the tenancy...: Deposits are different...)....
                  ....I generally draft my own ASTs for my lets. .................
                  Oh dear(apologies..) Great: And what legal training and experience have you had to ensure your agreement is water-tight?

                  Suggest you look at the free gov.uk one to see what you are missing.
                  https://www.gov.uk/government/public...ssured-tenancy

                  £5 to an agreed housing charity if your current AST permits use of s8g8 during fixed term...and covers what happens if tenant moves out (therefore it is no longer an AST, therefore no more s8 or s21....)
                  I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Actually my ASTs are pretty thorough having been refined over years of consulting/re-consulting legislation, learning from past mistakes and the like. But yes I'm no lawyer.

                    I have borrowed some of the govt's model agreement but overall it is a daunting document and it is hard to believe many tenants want to be wading through an AST of that length.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Tenants don't read tenancies in my experience.

                      That £5 still available!
                      I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                      Comment


                        #12
                        With the way my rents are going at the moment, more like £4.50! It's a declining market right now so I'm slashing budgets

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Does your AST permit use of s8g8 during the fixed term, please? I'd really like to know, if possible.
                          I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Why wouldn't it, assuming rents are payable weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly?
                            I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

                            I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Housing Act 1988 s7(6)
                              http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/50/section/7
                              (6) The court shall not make an order for possession of a dwelling-house to take effect at a time when it is let on an assured fixed term tenancy unless—

                              (a) the ground for possession is Ground 2, Ground 7A or Ground 8 in Part I of Schedule 2 to this Act or any of the grounds in Part II of that Schedule, other than Ground 9 or Ground 16; and

                              (b) the terms of the tenancy make provision for it to be brought to an end on the ground in question (whether that provision takes the form of a provision for re-entry, for forfeiture, for determination by notice or otherwise).....
                              I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                              Comment

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