Assured tenancy vs assured shorthold tenancy – what’s the difference?

Posted on: 12 September 2019 by Jamie Turnbull

Jamie Turnbull looks at issues facing people who want to downsize and rent on the open market. This month, he explains the difference between assured tenancy and assured shorthold tenancy.

Tenancy Agreement

Renting is becoming a popular choice for many retired people. In fact the number of older renters has risen by 61% since 2012, up 8% in the past 12 months alone, according to research by Hamptons International[i], with around a third of these being pensioners.

For those new to renting however, the types of tenancy on offer can be confusing. It’s also the one thing that can put people off renting, if it’s something they haven’t had to deal with before.

The two main types of tenancy are an ‘assured tenancy’ and an ‘assured shorthold tenancy’. At Girlings our most common tenure is an ‘assured tenancy’, also sometimes known as a ‘lifetime tenancy’. This is very popular with our residents, as it gives them security and reassurance they can stay in their home as long as they want, without fear that the landlord will ask them to leave.

The main characteristics of an assured tenancy are:

  • A long term tenancy with increased protection from eviction provided you keep to the terms of the tenancy agreement.
  • An initial fixed term, the tenancy then automatically continues on a ‘periodic assured tenancy’ basis whereby the tenant stays for as long as they wish and yet may give the required notice to leave at any time.
  • The landlord can only regain possession by obtaining an order from the Court if there is a breach of the contract by the tenant.

We find the main barrier for people when it comes to renting in retirement is they worry about the security of tenure. Often they have been home owners for most of their lives and renting can seem like a temporary option.

An assured tenancy gives people reassurance this isn’t the case. It is unlimited and allows people to remain in a property for as long as they wish. However, if they want to leave, they only have to give one month’s notice, after an initial 12-month tenancy term.

An assured shorthold tenancy is more common on the open market. The main characteristics of an assured shorthold tenancy are:

  • A fixed term tenancy.
  • At the end of the fixed term, either a new tenancy will be negotiated and offered to you or the landlord may wish to regain possession.

Some of our residents prefer to have an assured shorthold tenancy when they first move to a new area to see if they like it. If they decide to stay they may then move to an assured tenancy, if it’s available, or move to a different property in the area.

If they decide they don’t like the area they can give notice and move somewhere new.

Whichever tenancy people choose depends on their own circumstances and preferences. However, for people who want to downsize and rent on the open market, it can be difficult to find assured tenancies.

This is why we are finding more retired people are opting to move into a specialist retirement development, so they can have an assured tenancy, plus all the other benefits of renting.

These include releasing capital in their home, no longer having to worry about the upkeep of a home, as the rent covers the services and maintenance of the property and having the flexibility to move somewhere new.

Many of the popular retirement hotspots such as southern coastal regions can be expensive so renting can also be an affordable way to move. Plus there is no stamp duty to pay.

Whether people want to stay in the same place or experience living somewhere new, they can opt for the right tenancy to suit their needs.

 

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