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We are still seeing examples of employers failing to serve the correct documentation before handing over the keys of a cottage to new farm workers. They think they are granting an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) and that they will be able to recover possession in due course without too much trouble. Instead, there is a good chance that they will have inadvertently granted an assured agricultural occupancy which enjoys greater protection.
If, as an employer, you want to be sure not to grant a tenancy with enhanced protection, you need to serve a “Form 9” landlord’s notice on your prospective tenant.
De-regulation is not the name of the game when it comes to letting a house to a farm worker. We’ve condensed the various rules, spread across different pieces of legislation, into a checklist for farm employers, set out below.
Checklist for assured shorthold tenancy agreements
- Have you served a Form 9 landlord’s notice on the proposed tenant before the commencement of the AST and before the proposed tenant goes into occupation?
- Have you given the tenant a copy of any inventory or report of condition that has been prepared?
- Have you given the tenant a copy of the gas safety certificate (if applicable) and energy performance certificate?
- Have you provided the tenant with a copy of the Government’s ‘How to Rent Guide’?
- Have you given the tenant a record of any electrical safety inspections which have been carried out? By law, all landlords are required to ensure that all wiring, installations and any electrical appliances they supply are safe. Checks every five years are recommended.
- If the tenant has paid a tenancy deposit, have you protected the deposit and provided the tenant with information about the deposit protection?
- Have you installed a smoke alarm on every floor used as living accommodation and a carbon monoxide detector in any room with a solid fuel burning appliance (if used as living accommodation)?
- Have you checked the smoke alarms are in working order on the first day of the tenancy?
- Have you undertaken the Right to Rent checks on the tenant, any adult occupier and any children over the age of 18 and kept a record?