Entering into an assured shorthold tenancy

What information does a landlord need to give a tenant at the outset of an assured shorthold tenancy?

When renting out your property and entering into an assured shorthold tenancy agreement, your obligations as a landlord begin before the tenant has even moved in.

A landlord is required to provide specific information to the tenant at the start of the letting. Failure to give the tenant the required information, may result in a landlord being barred from obtaining possession of their property based on the Section 21 route.

Information that a landlord is required to give to the tenant

  1. An energy performance certificate. The tenant cannot be charged for a landlord providing this.
  2. The landlord is to provide the tenant with a gas safety certificate.
  3. A copy of the “How to Rent: The checklist for renting in England” booklet.
  4. A landlord is now required to install a smoke alarm on each storey of the rented property. Further, a landlord must also install a carbon monoxide alarm in any room that is used wholly or partly as living accommodation. Please note, this is only necessary where the room contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance.
  5. Prior notice must be given in writing to the tenants before the tenancy agreement is entered into, where the landlord may want to rely on grounds 1 to 5 of the Housing Act 1988 to end the tenancy.
  6. A landlord must also now check the immigration status of its tenant by obtaining original documentation from the tenant.

Documents that a tenant must show their landlord

Before a landlord and tenant can enter into an assured shorthold tenancy agreement, the landlord is obligated to check the immigration status of their proposed tenant. Set out below are the original documents a landlord will need to take copies of.

Only one of the documents from this list for is required for each tenant. If there are problems obtaining any of these a landlord is able to take further steps. Failure to comply with the immigration status requirements can result in a landlord receiving a fine.

  • A passport (current or expired) showing that the holder is a British citizen or a citizen of the UK and Colonies having the ‘right of abode’ in the UK.
  • A passport or national identity card (current or expired) showing that the holder is a national of the EEA or Switzerland.
  • A registration certificate or document (current or expired) certifying or indicating permanent residence issued by the Home Office, to a national of the EEA or Switzerland.
  • A ‘permanent’ residence card, ‘indefinite leave to remain’, ‘indefinite leave to enter’ or ‘no time limit’ card issued by the Home Office (current or expired), to a non-EEA national who is a family member of an EEA or Swiss national.
  • A biometric ‘residence permit’ card (current or expired) issued by the Home Office to the holder indicating that the person named has ‘indefinite’ leave in the UK, or has ‘no time limit’ on their stay in the UK.
  • A passport or other ‘travel document’ (current or expired) endorsed to show that the holder is either ‘exempt from immigration control’, has ‘indefinite’ leave in the UK, has the ‘right of abode’ in the UK, or has ‘no time limit’ on their stay in the UK.
  • An immigration status document (current or expired) containing a photograph issued by the Home Office to the holder with an endorsement indicating that the named person has ‘indefinite’ leave in the UK or has ‘no time limit’ on their stay in the UK or has no time limit on their stay in the UK.
  • A certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen.

As detailed above, there are many aspects that a landlord needs to consider, and comply with, when renting out their property. Getting it right from the outset can prevent future complications and tenancy issues.

To discuss this or any other landlord and tenant matters please contact Mark Fagan on 0113 320 5000 or e-mail maf@winstonsolicitors.co.uk.

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