Section A - Introduction to the Template AST
TMCP has prepared a template form of assured shorthold tenancy agreement (Template AST). The Template AST reflects Methodist best practice on letting residential property and also complies with Methodist law and policy. The provision of a pre-approved form of tenancy agreement is intended to help Managing Trustees who want to let residential property. Please contact TMCP if you would like a copy as the Template AST is for the exclusive use of Managing Trustees and is not available on TMCP’s website.
Please refer to the Residential Tenancy Guidance for general guidance on residential tenancies including the charity law and Methodist law, policy and best practice requirements that must be satisfied before TMCP can approve a tenancy agreement. Those requirements apply whether or not the Template AST or another form of tenancy agreement is used.
Section B - Finding your way around the Template AST
The Template AST can be split into 4 parts; (1) Definitions; (2) Charity law and Methodist law statements; (3) Main terms and conditions of the tenancy; and (4) the General legal terms.
Part 1 - Definitions
The capitalised words listed in Interpretation Clause 1 of the Template AST are defined by the descriptions (not in bold) immediately following them. Where a defined term is used in the Template AST, this is indicated by the use of a capital letter for the first letter of each word of the term e.g. “Model Trusts”. It helps to clarify exactly what is being referred to.
Sub-clauses 1.2 to 1.20 of Interpretation Clause 1 of the Template AST set out how to interpret (or understand) the terms in the Template AST, including who the obligations in the Template AST will be placed on and who those obligations are owed to.
Part 2 - Charity law and Methodist statements
Sub-clauses 2.1 to 2.5 of the Template AST are the prescribed statements that have to appear in all tenancy agreements under charity law and Methodist law and policy. These cannot be varied. They confirm the basis on which the Property is held by the TMCP Board and managed by the Managing Trustees. The sub-clauses also confirm that the Managing Trustees have the necessary power and authorisations in place to grant the tenancy.
Part 3 - Main terms and conditions of the tenancy
The main terms of agreement are set out in clauses 3 to 16 of the Template AST. These provisions include:
- the grant of the tenancy (clause 3);
- the security provisions relating to any deposit and guarantee (clauses 6, 7 and 15);
- the Tenant’s obligations i.e. all the things that the Tenant must and must not do (clauses 4,5 and 8-12);
- the landlord’s rights and obligations (clauses 13 and 16 respectively); and
- what happens if the Tenant breaches the terms of the tenancy agreement (clause 14).
If Managing Trustees have any questions about the meaning of the main terms in the tenancy agreement they may find the guidance produced by the Department for Communities and Local Government of assistance.
If Managing Trustees have any queries on the drafting of the Template AST please ask TMCP Legal for further guidance.
Part 4 - General legal terms
Clauses 17 to 19 contain general legal terms such as notice provisions, what happens at the end of the tenancy and the Landlord’s right to enter the Property on giving 24 hours prior notice.
C1 Parties clause on page 1 of the Template AST
Managing Trustees in parties clause (1)
Insert details of the two Managing Trustees who are authorised to sign legal documents on behalf of the appropriate managing trustee body and the name of the managing trustee body itself as indicated, e.g. the “Central Circuit Meeting”. If the assets and income of the managing trustee body exceed certain thresholds and the body is required to register with the Charity Commission then please insert the full registered charity name and number as indicated in italics in parties clause (1) of the Template AST.
The contact address should be an address where any notices sent under the AST will receive proper attention i.e. the Superintendent’s home address or the circuit office. Please also insert a telephone number, email address and fax number (if there is one). These details must be given to a Tenant if a deposit is taken but is best practice even if you are not taking a deposit.
Tenant in parties clause (2)
Please insert the tenant’s full name(s), address, telephone number, email address and fax (if there is one) as indicated.
Guarantor in parties clause (3)
If there is a guarantor then please insert the guarantor’s full name, address, telephone number, email address and fax (if there is one) as indicated. Leave blank if there is no guarantor. Please do not delete the definition.
C2 Interpretation - clause 1
You will need to insert key information about your particular tenancy in Interpretation clause 1 on page 2. The guidance in this Section C2 and the footnotes in the Template AST will show you how to complete the details that must be inserted:
- Deposit – if a deposit is being taken then please insert the deposit amount where indicated.
- Landlord’s Service Address – insert the best service address where notices served by the Tenant will reach you; this could be your agent’s address; superintendent minister’s address or the circuit office for instance.
- Property – insert the full address of the property that you are letting out. If you are letting a house with a garden, garage or other outbuilding, then please ensure the description makes reference to these areas so that everybody is clear what is included.
- Rent – insert the amount of rent by reference to the appropriate period e.g. “£750.00 per month”.
- Rent Payment Dates - insert the appropriate payment date e.g. the “1st working day of each month.” If rent is payable weekly then you are legally obliged to provide the tenant with a rent book containing certain prescribed information. Your agent and/or solicitor will be able to advise you about this.
- Term – insert the length of the tenancy and the start date as indicated. The Residential Tenancy (Ending) Focus Note provides guidance on ending ASTs during and after the fixed term of a tenancy. Managing Trustees will be anxious to ensure that they can commit to the fixed term agreed given the fact that tenancies can only be terminated during the fixed term using the Ground 8 procedure (requiring a court order).
C3 Schedule 1 - Lawful Occupiers
Please refer to the Residential Tenancy Guidance and the News Article Legislation Update – Right to Rent for details about the requirements regarding “Right to Rent” checks.
Please record details of each occupier in the table in Schedule 1, including the Tenant, and details of each “Right to Rent” check as indicated in italics in Schedule 1. Your agent should be able to help you complete the information if they carried out the checks for you.
C4 Schedule 2 - Special Tenancy Obligations
If you want to impose any particular obligations on the Tenant in addition to those in the Template AST, you can insert these in Schedule 2 as "Special Tenancy Obligations". The guidance box in Schedule 2 of the Template AST gives examples of the type of practical obligations agreed between landlords and tenants such as arrangements regarding bins and the upkeep of gardens.
C5 Schedule 3 – Inventory and Schedule of Condition
As discussed in Section B5.3 of the Residential Tenancy Guidance it is best practice for the Managing Trustees to attach a list of contents and a description of the condition of the property when entering into a tenancy agreement.
A list of contents/inventory can be attached at Schedule 3.
At Schedule 3 you can also include a Schedule of Condition which is a record of the state of repair of the Property at the beginning of the tenancy and can include photographs. Managing Trustees’ agents may prepare this as part of their letting agency services.
C6 Signature page
The names of the individuals who will sign the tenancy agreement need to be inserted on the final page. This will include the two authorised Managing Trustees as well as the Tenant and the Guarantor (if there is one).
Section D - Suitability of the Template AST
The Template AST is very general in nature and may not apply to the specific facts and circumstances of a particular residential tenancy situation. Please see Section B3 of the Residential Tenancy Guidance for examples as to when an AST may not be suitable at all. If Managing Trustees have concerns as to whether the provisions in the Template AST are suitable due to the requirements of a particular tenancy or have queries as to their legal position, an independent legal adviser should be able to help. Please contact TMCP after receiving advice and TMCP Legal will provide guidance on the charity law and Methodist law, policy and best practice requirements.
Please also note that if a deposit is being taken, specific confirmation is required by TMCP as to whether the tenancy deposit provisions are appropriate to the Tenancy Deposit Scheme being used and are in line with current legislation.
Please note that this document is to provide guidance and assistance to Managing Trustees and their professional advisers. This guidance note is general in nature, may not reflect all recent legal developments and may not apply to the specific facts and circumstances of any particular matter.
Also note that nothing within the documents and guidance notes provided by TMCP nor any receipt or use of such information, should be construed or relied on as advertising or soliciting to provide any legal services. Nor does it create any solicitor-client relationship or provide any legal representation, advice or opinion whatsoever on behalf of TMCP or its employees.
Accordingly, neither TMCP nor its employees accept any responsibility for use of this document or action taken as a result of information provided in it.
Please remember that Managing Trustees need to take advice that is specific to the situation at hand. This document is not legal advice and is no substitute for such advice from Managing Trustees' own legal advisers.