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Changing the Terms of an Assured or an Assured Shorthold Tenancy and Tenancy Renewal

4.5 Changing the Terms of an Assured or an Assured Shorthold Tenancy and Tenancy Renewal

The landlord can only change the terms of the tenancy, within the
contractual period of the tenancy, if the tenant agrees. It is best to agree
any changes in writing.

Normally any changes are made by getting the tenant to sign a new
tenancy agreement, incorporating the new terms and conditions.

If the tenancy is an assured shorthold tenancy (AST), and the tenant refuses
to co-operate there is the option of serving a section 21 notice [see Chapter
5] and ending the tenancy and the end of its initial term. New terms can
then be written into any new AST.

After the fixed term of a tenancy has ended, assured and assured shorthold
tenancies will automatically run on as a statutory periodic tenancy, on
the same terms and conditions as the preceding fixed term tenancy. The ‘period’ will normally be either weekly or monthly depending on how rent
is paid.

There is also a procedure whereby the landlord or the tenant can propose
new terms, including a new rent. This can be done, within a year of the
statutory periodic tenancy starting, using a special procedure under the
Housing Act 1988. There is a special form, called a section 6 notice, which
needs to be used, and which has to be served on the tenant. This procedure
may include a change in rent (up or down) but should not be used simply to
change the rent alone (for rent-only changes, see section 13 Housing Act at
section 3.6 above). Landlords can obtain the forms from law stationers and
from some of the online services for landlords.

Although rarely exercised, the landlord and the tenant both have the right
to apply for an independent decision by a Rent Assessment Committee if
the new rent cannot be agreed.