The tenancy trail

A bit more about Assured Shorthold Tenancies

They are frequently referred to by their initials ‘AST’.

There are two  main versions of AST:

  • An AST of a whole house or flat.  Where if there are two or more tenants they all sign the same tenancy agreement on a ‘joint and several’ basis
  • An AST of a room in a shared house.  Where the tenant has ‘exclusive occupation’ of their own room (normally just their bedroom but it could be two or more rooms) and share use of the ‘common parts.  Normally the kitchen, bathroom and maybe a sitting rooms / lounge.

We have tenancy agreements for both types – which we call

  • ‘Type A’ (for the whole property), or
  • ‘Type B’ for the room in a shared house

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

An HMO is not really a tenancy type in the same way as an assured shorthold tenancy is.  It refers to a  property where there are three or more people who form two or more ‘households’.

So you can have an HMO which is an AST or a common law tenancy or a license.  An HMO can also be a house where a landlord has two or more lodgers.

The type of tenancy agreement you have also does not matter.  So a house with three or more tenants on a ‘joint and several’ tenancy agreement will be an HMO if they form two or more households.  It is not true that you only get an HMO where the tenants in a property have separate tenancy agreements.

We have a lot more on HMOs for members on Landlord Law which you will mostly find in  this section.


An AST can only exist if the tenant lives in the property as his ‘only or principal home’.  So if the property is sublet to other tenants or licensees, it will no longer be an AST.  It can’t be, as the tenant will no longer be living there.  In fact, it (ie the tenancy between the top landlord and the middle person) won’t be a residential tenancy at all.

This is often the situation with ‘rent to rent’ arrangements which are often misunderstood.  Landlord Law members should (if they are tempted by ‘rent to rent’) watch the video  here which explains the main problems and dangers inherent in this arrangement.

And finally

I hope you have enjoyed this Tenancy Trail and that it has been useful for you.  If you are not already a member of Landlord Law you can join  here.