Free Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST rental contract) | Download Now!

Most residential lettings in England and Wales are arranged as an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) – an agreement introduced by the Housing Act 1988, and subsequently updated by the Housing Act 1996.  When an AST is established, the document everyone signs to agree terms is often referred to as an AST as well.

You can download a OpenRent’s free AST here:

Download Free AST

download an AST for free download for a legal tenancy landlord-tenant tenancy

Despite being defined in law, not all ASTs are the same. Although tenancy agreements tend to look broadly similar there can in fact be quite a lot of variation in language and structure.  The reason for this is that there’s often a trade-off between being broad enough to cover all aspects of a tenancy, being specific enough that there aren’t any loop-holes which inadvertently permit bad behaviour, and having a contract that is understandable and reasonable for all parties.

There’s also a lot of variation in price: a search on Google turns up a few free ASTs, WHSmith sell a template for 7 quid, and some high street letting agents charge several hundred pounds.  So is it worth paying big bucks in order to get a quality document, given that the future of your property could be at stake?

As if often the case in property, the answer is no. Price is a pretty poor indicator of quality – and a much better indicator of how much someone thinks they can get away with charging you at a particular point in time!

The OpenRent AST draws on industry best practice to balance the considerations above – it’s broad reaching, protects the interests of both landlords and tenants, and is currently in force in hundreds of tenancies across the country.  Feel free to download a sample copy of our Free Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement – For Entire Premises, or if you use our Rent Now service you’ll also benefit from digital signing, which makes the process secure, convenient and much faster!  Once your tenancy is under way you can also access all your tenancy documents including the AST from your OpenRent Manage tab.

Individual Tenancy Agreement

If you’re renting out rooms in a shared property and are renting to individuals who don’t already know each other or who will be moving in on different dates, you might be interested in our Individual Tenancy Agreement for Shared Houses.

A regular (Joint Tenancy) AST names all tenants on the same agreement and no tenant has exclusive possession of any part of the property – they are all jointly liable for looking after the property and paying the rent.  This is easily the most common form of AST used today.  With an Individual Tenancy each tenant signs their own, separate agreement with the landlord.  This means each tenant has exclusive possession of a specific room in the property, as well as access to shared facilities like the kitchen, bathroom, lounge, etc.

If you advertise an individual room on OpenRent, we’ll assume you want to create an Individual Tenancy, but you should only use this type of agreement once you’ve understood the considerations for doing so.  These are a brief summary of the pros and cons of using an Individual Tenancy rather than a Joint Tenancy:

Pros:

  • Flexibility and convenience – tenants can move in and out on different dates without the need to sign new agreements with all tenants each time, re-register deposits, etc.
  • Higher rent – the ability to rent out each room separately as well as the flexibility to allow shorter term contracts can often increase rental yield
  • Right to enter – unlike a Joint Tenancy, the landlord has the right to enter common areas for inspections and repairs

Cons:

  • No joint liability – the joint and several liability created by a joint tenancy (whereby any one tenant can be held legally responsible for the unpaid rent, damage caused, or any other breach of contract by any or all of the other tenants) is its major strength; this is lost in the case of individual tenancies
  • Tenant turnover – the flexibility for tenants to move in and out independently cuts both ways; a bad or incompatible tenant can drive out good ones who are free to cut them loose and move elsewhere
  • Council tax and bills – these are the landlord’s responsibility under an individual tenancy so are usually factored into the rental amount – however if a tenant falls into arrears or defaults on their rent entirely, the landlord is still reponsible for paying for these under an individual tenancy

You’re of course very welcome to print out our tenancy agreements and use them offline.  Alternatively why not list on OpenRent for free and benefit from digital signatures on these contracts, free referencing and deposit registration services?  All that in addition to free listing on all of the UK’s biggest property portals! We’re committed to finding high quality tenants and handling all the admin to make the landlord experience as straightforward as possible.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions – you can reach our team on info@openrent.co.uk.

17 Replies to “Free Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST rental contract) | Download Now!”

    1. Hi Madhoo,

      Yes, absolutely. You can advertise each room on our site, as well as on Rightmove, Zoopla, and dozens of others. If you haven’t used us before, then you can make use of our free trial:
      https://www.openrent.co.uk/landlords-advertise-property-for-rent-on-rightmove-and-zoopla

      You can also use our referencing services to reference your applicant lodgers:
      https://www.openrent.co.uk/tenant-referencing

      Our tenancy creation service, Rent Now, will not be appropriate for you because it uses an AST contract. This kind of contract is not appropriate for lodgers.

      Sam
      OpenRent

    1. HI Jon, it doesn’t have to be 12 months. It can be as short as required and also contain break clauses. One thing to note, however, is that a landlord can’t initiate no-fault possession orders (i.e. start to evict the tenants) within the first 6 months of an AST.

      1. Hi – I am wondering the same thing. Can I, for example, create an AST with a fixed term of 1 month, which then lapses to 1 month periodic?

        1. Hi Dave,

          You can, but there’s not point. Here’s why.

          If you set up an AST then you can’t serve a S21 eviction notice until the fourth month, meaning you can’t evict the tenants until 6 months earliest. That’s true even if the length of fixed term is under 6 months.

          Having a fixed term of one month, then, just means that the tenant would be able to serve notice, after one month, but you wouldn’t be able to until the fourth month.

  1. If I am renting a property but my income doesn’t meet the requirements for insurance purposes but I have enough money to pay the rent, will the landlord demand a guarantor? If so how do I find one as I have no one to act as a guarantor? Or do landlords generally that advertise on open rent do no not require guarantors or proof of income? Is there somewhere specifically on the open rent website that provides answer to this? Do the open rent lease contracts provide specific details on the above?

    1. Hi Chris, the key here is tenant referencing. If all tenants pass referencing then the landlord can insure the tenancy. If a tenant does not, then they can provide a guarantor. If the guarantor passes referencing then the tenancy can be insured. If the tenant does not pass referencing and can’t provide a guarantor, then the tenancy does not meet the requirements of the rent guarantee insurance policy. Hope this helps.

  2. Hello, so we have just bought our first property. We are moving in a family member and her friend. We wanted to know what tenancy agreement would be best for them. The family member isn’t a concern however we want to still be protected. The friend of the family member is a bit of a nightmare and unpredictable so we want to be protected if he does anything silly. We don’t want to take deposits. Also is it enough for them to move i, register as living there and signed an agreement we draw up? Is there anything you specifically have to do? A process you have to follow? Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Tom, Congrats on buying your first property to let.

      We always recommending putting all adults living in the property on the tenancy agreement. What do you mean by ‘you want to be protected’?

  3. If using OpenRent’s tenancy agreement, can I avoid the use of any deposit scheme by simply taking 2 month’s rent in advance instead? And is this legal?
    I have found rent deposit schemes problematic in the past, particularly at the end of a tenancy.

    1. Hi Noreen, you can set your tenancy deposit value to 0 and not take or protect any money. But this will mean you have no protection against damage to the property or costs incurred from the tenant’s failure to discharge any contractual responsibilities. You can take two months’ rent in advance, that’s not a problem. I would advise taking a holding deposit, but you can choose not to if you wish.

  4. Hi
    I have a prospective tenant who does not have a credit history due to arriving from abroad. He is prepared to pay 6 months rent in advance. Does the rent now process allow me to edit the AST accordingly? And if I set the AST for 6 months would the break clause be at 4 month or 5 month? Would I also still take a deposit?
    Thanks

    1. Hi Anita,

      Yes, Rent Now can accommodate rent in advance. Yes, you would still take a deposit and Rent Now can handle all of that for you, too.

      Break clauses do not really apply to tenancies of 6 month’s length, since the law makes it very hard for landlords to unilaterally end tenancies before the six month mark. You cannot serve notice before the fourth month, and notice must be a minimum of two months. Therefore, six months is the defacto minimum length of an AST’s fixed term in England and Wales.

      Hope that helps!
      Sam

  5. Thanks Sam.

    Another question. If I have a married couple named on the tenancy who have two guarantors are they jointly liable? So in the instance that either one of them does not pay the rent would the guarantors be 50/50 liable questions of the whole rent regardless of whether one of the couples has abandoned the property and disappeared – ie would the two guarantors be attached to the whole tenancy or to one individual?

    1. Hi Anita, with joint and several liability, all people on the tenancy are liable for the full rental amount. I.e. if the rent is not paid, the landlord could pursue any individual on the tenancy for the full sum.

      Sam

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