The Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) was originally introduced in 1988 and later amended in 1996. Along with the buy to let mortgage, it was a major factor in initiating the buy to let boom.
Unless there are otherwise good reasons you should always let residential property on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy.
The Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement
Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements (ASTs) are normally signed for either 12 months with or without a 6 month break clause, or 6 months. As far as the tenant is
concerned, the granting of an AST guarantees them six months’ security of tenure except in exceptional cases where a judge may order that their behaviour has nullified the agreement.
Always ensure that both yourself and the tenant(s) sign the Tenancy Agreement and that the signatures are witnessed. It's a good idea for both you and the tenant to initial each page of the agreement. Give the tenant a copy of the agreement and retain a copy for yourself.