Back to Blog

Around the UK: upcoming changes to tenancy agreements

Posted 3/08/2022 by Reeds Rains
Categories: Landlords/Lettings
Person sat in a chair looking at their laptop

Assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs) have been the default legal tenancy type and the most common form of rental agreement between landlords and tenants in England and Wales since March 1997.

But, 25 years later, that’s about to change, with new laws under the Renting Homes (Wales) Act due to come into force on 1st December this year and the Government’s recent White Paper on rental reform proposing significant amendments to tenancy agreements in England. In both countries, the rules around evictions are changing significantly and the focus seems to be very much on giving tenants greater security of tenure.

So, what does the law currently say about the length of tenancies and evictions where the tenant hasn’t breached their agreement? 

ASTs as they currently stand

  • It is not a legal requirement to have a written tenancy agreement (although it is advised)
  • Neither landlords nor tenants can break the AST during an initial fixed term – commonly 6 months – unless each party agrees
  • Landlords cannot evict a tenant within the first 6 months, regardless of whether there’s a fixed term
  • Following the end of a fixed term, landlords can evict a tenant without having to state a reason by serving a section 21 notice giving the tenant at least 2 months’ notice – and the notice can be served at the end of month 4 (provided the fixed term is not longer than 6 months)  
  • The tenant can give one month’s notice (or 4 weeks’ notice if rent is paid weekly) after any fixed term has ended

And what are the upcoming changes?

In Wales, from 1st December 2022

  • The AST will be replaced by an ‘occupation contract’ and ‘tenants’ will become ‘contract-holders’
  • It will be mandatory for landlords to provide written contents
  • Occupation contracts can either be for a fixed term of up to 7 years or periodic (week to week or month to month)
  • Landlords must give contract holders at least 6 months’ notice, which can’t be issued within the first six months of the contract – effectively, landlords will have an initial minimum 12-month commitment
  • If the contract is periodic, the contract holder can give not less than 4 weeks’ notice at any time

For guidance and model forms, visit and

Proposals for future tenancy agreements in England

Although these have yet to be formally detailed and presented in a Bill, the recent White Paper proposes:

  • All tenancies will be periodic – i.e. there will be no more fixed terms or specified end dates
  • Section 21 notices will be scrapped and landlords will only be able to evict a tenant “in reasonable circumstances”
  • Tenants will be able to give just two months’ notice to a landlord at any point during their tenancy

These proposals are still subject to change and are unlikely to come into force for some time.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, a similar type of rental reform happened back in December 2017, when a new Private Residential Tenancy agreement came into effect, with a key change being the removal of the ‘no reason’ eviction option for landlords.

In Scotland

  • Tenancies are open-ended, with no fixed length or end date
  • Landlords have to cite at least one of 18 specific grounds for eviction in a ‘notice to leave’ and give:

    1. 28 days’ notice if the tenant has lived in the property for less than 6 months
    2. 84 days’ notice if the tenant has lived in the property for more than 6 months
  • Tenants can give 28 days’ notice in writing at any time

More information is available on the Scottish Government website.

Book a free lettings review with Reeds Rains

The Reeds Rains Content Marketing Team

Signup for Updates

Get the latest news from Reeds Rains direct to your inbox

Signup for Updates

Get the latest news from Reeds Rains direct to your inbox