Housing Act 1996

Provisions relating to assured and assured shorthold tenancies


The amended provisions were introduced with the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.


These provisions relate to letting privately owned property on assured or assured shorthold tenancies and are intended to simplify the system under the Housing Act 1988. This Act applies to England and Wales only.

Key Provisions:

Assured Shorthold Tenancies
Section 96 inserts a new s19A into the Housing Act 1988 providing for a new type of assured shorthold where it will no longer be a requirement to serve a notice of assured shorthold tenancy before the commencement of such a tenancy. All assured tenancies entered into on or after 28th February 1997 will automatically be an assured shorthold tenancy unless a notice is served or provision is made in the tenancy agreement stating that the tenancy is not to be an assured shorthold tenancy.

There is no minimum time period for granting an assured shorthold tenancy, although a landlord cannot recover possession within six months of the start of an assured shorthold tenancy. A landlord cannot obtain a court order for possession even if the fixed term is for less than six months, unless the tenants are in breach of their tenancy agreement for some other reason (e.g. rent arrears).

Rent Arrears
The mandatory ground for possession, ground 8 of Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988 has been amended. From the 28th of February 1997, the court must make an order for possession if at the time of the service of the notice and at the time of the hearing there is at least 8 weeks rent owing instead of 13 for weekly tenancies and 2 months instead of 3 months for monthly tenancies. The new ground 8 reads as follows:-

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