Q&As

An Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement has been signed by both parties but not dated, and is held by the landlord pending completion. The tenant then changes its mind and wishes to withdraw, on the grounds that the AST has not been completed yet. Can the landlord date the agreement and enforce?

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Published on LexisPSL on 18/10/2018

The following Property Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • An Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement has been signed by both parties but not dated, and is held by the landlord pending completion. The tenant then changes its mind and wishes to withdraw, on the grounds that the AST has not been completed yet. Can the landlord date the agreement and enforce?

Since 28 February 1997 the majority of assured tenancies are assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs). Any tenancy granted after 28 February 1997 is automatically an AST unless:

  1. a notice is served stating that the tenancy is not an AST, or

  2. it is written in the agreement that it is not an AST, or

  3. an exception applies

For further information, see Practice Note: Assured and assured shorthold tenancies—granting, in particular the section ‘Criteria for AST’.

To determine whether or not an AST is completed, it is important to consider the type of document that the parties signed, ie whether the document was a deed or simple contract. The particulars of the agreement completed are important here, to ascertain whether or not a deed is needed. Under section 52 of the Law of Property Act 1925, leases intended to take effect at law must be

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