An Assured Shorthold Tenancy can be brought to an end by the service of a notice. Different forms of notice are used dependant on the circumstances.

Generally speaking, when an Assured Shorthold Tenancy is created, it is for a fixed term e.g. 6 months or 12 months. If neither party does anything to terminate it before the last day of the fixed term then the tenancy is automatically converted into a Periodic Assured Shorthold Tenancy. This is still an Assured Shorthold Tenancy but it is now one that continues by operation of the law on a periodic basis i.e. on a week to week basis or month to month basis dependent upon the period in the fixed term tenancy by reference to which rent was paid.

1. Assured Shorthold Tenancy – Fixed Term
Where the fixed term has not yet expired notice has to be given under Section 21(1) Housing Act 1988. The tenant has to be given at least two months, notice such notice not to expire before the last day of the fixed term of the tenancy. The notice has to be served before the end of the initial fixed term of the tenancy

2. Assured Shorthold Tenancy – Periodic
Where the fixed term has expired and the tenancy has become a periodic one, then notice has to be given under Section 21(4) Housing Act 1988. In this case the period of the notice again has to be not less than two months but the date that is specified as being the date upon which you require possession must be the last day of a period of the tenancy

Terminating an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (whether fixed term or periodic) is straightforward but take care to use the correct form of notice. Choosing the wrong form is likely to be fatal to your claim for possession. The form of notice should be either delivered to the tenants personally or sent by registered post so you have evidence that the notice was served.

Although termination of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy is most commonly dealt with by way of the Notice to Quit as mentioned above there are certain other grounds upon which possession can be sought. If there is a mortgage on the property then the lender, in giving its consent to the property being let, may request that before the tenancy is entered into notices under Ground 1 and /or Ground 2 of Schedule 2 of the  Housing Act 1988 are served first. These are notices that tell the tenant that possession of the property might be recovered on the grounds either that the landlord wants it to occupy for his own use or that possession is required by the lender who is repossessing the property. If these notices are served they have to be served before the tenancy is entered into.

The Landlord cannot hold the deposit himself - this is in breach of the legislation. With effect from 6th April 2007 any deposit held under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy must be held under an approved deposit scheme or backed by an approved insurance scheme. For more information see Useful links.

Useful Links


Don’t forget that no matter how good the references you get for your tenant are, there is no guarantee that they will actually pay on time. To protect yourself against the tenants failure we suggest you consider taking insurance.
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The documents available on this site have been prepared for use in England & Wales. They may not be valid if used in other areas.