Many of our readers will be landlords in one way or another; whether in an agricultural, commercial or residential sense. If you are in this position, the importance of taking legal advice at the outset cannot be overstated. This is often overlooked, especially in relation to residential lets, and can result in difficulties for the landlord which could otherwise be avoided.

Generally speaking, a private landlord has two main options when creating a residential tenancy; the assured tenancy (“AT”) and the short assured tenancy (“SAT”). The security of tenure afforded to the tenant in an AT is almost absolute and thus the vast majority of new tenancy agreements are SATs.

One must be careful, however, when setting up a SAT as an incorrectly constituted SAT can inadvertently result in an AT. A tenant under an AT has extensive rights, and indeed a tenant cannot be asked to leave solely because the tenancy has reached its end date, as an AT automatically renews itself. If the tenant continues to pay their rent and refuses to leave, the only way the landlord can remove them is by a formal eviction based on set statutory terms, which could involve a lengthy court process.

A properly constituted SAT, on the other hand, allows a landlord to obtain possession of their property at the end date of the tenancy providing notices to quit were served in the correct fashion. If a tenant refuses to leave, the landlord can apply for a court order for eviction, which will be granted automatically.

Certain requirements must be met in order for a SAT to be set up. Fall foul of these requirements, and you could be left with an assured tenant.