Private tenants with an assured tenancy have long-term tenancy rights. Most assured tenants moved into a private rented home between 1989 and 1997.
Rights in an assured tenancy
An assured tenancy is a tenancy that gives you a legal right to live in your accommodation for a period of time.
Your tenancy might be for a set period such as six months. This is known as a fixed-term tenancy. Or it might roll on a week-to-week or month-to-month basis. This is called a periodic tenancy.
Assured tenants have strong tenancy rights. For example, you can't usually be evicted unless you breach your tenancy agreement
and your rent cannot be increased unless you agree to this.
If you don't pay your rent your landlord can take court action to evict you.
Your landlord can increase the rent if:
- you agree to the increase
- there is a procedure for increasing rent written in your tenancy agreement
- your landlord gives you written notice of the proposed rent increase
- your landlord gives you written notice to change the terms of your tenancy
Your landlord cannot increase the rent unless you agree to it.
If your landlord doesn't follow the rules and tries to increase the rent, you cannot be evicted for not paying the new rent. But you must keep paying the rent you did agree to.
If you start paying the increased rent the law assumes that you have agreed to the increase and you will have to continue paying it.
You may be able to challenge a rent increase through the tribunal for rent disputes.
Find out more about private tenancy rent increases.
You may be able to claim housing benefit to help pay your rent if you are working and have a low income or if you claim benefits.
The law says your landlord has to keep the structure and exterior of the property in good repair. This includes:
- the roof
- walls (but this doesn't include internal decoration)
- windows and doors
Your landlord must keep gas, electricity, heating, water and sanitation equipment in good repair. Your landlord must have a valid gas safety certificate for any gas appliances in the property.
Any furniture provided should be fire resistant.
Your landlord may have extra responsibilities if you live in a house in multiple occupation (HMO).
Tell your landlord or letting agent if your accommodation needs repairs.
If your landlord doesn't do repairs, there may be steps you can take to get your landlord to carry out the work.
You are responsible for looking after the property and for minor repairs. This might include unblocking a sink or changing a fuse. You may also have other responsibilities depending on what your tenancy agreement says.
Passing your tenancy to someone else
You lose the legal right to live in your home if you pass your tenancy to someone else.
You can only pass on your assured tenancy to someone else in specific circumstances. These are if:
- you die
- your tenancy agreement says you can pass on your tenancy
- your landlord agrees to it
Your landlord may be able to end your tenancy if you attempt to pass your tenancy to someone else under any other circumstances.
If an assured tenant dies it may be possible for the tenancy to be passed on to a spouse, civil partner or partner. This is known as succession. This is only possible if the tenancy has not previously been passed on this way. It can only take place if the spouse, civil partner or partner was living in the property at the time of the tenant's death.
Getting other people to live with you
But if you move out you no longer have an assured tenancy. If your tenancy ends, your subtenant or lodger won't have any rights to live there.
Spending time away from home
You might lose your status as an assured tenant if you don't live in your accommodation as your only or main home.
You can spend time living elsewhere but still keep your assured tenancy. To do this you must be able to show that you are planning to return, for example by leaving personal possessions there.
You have the right to live in your accommodation without being disturbed.
Your landlord is not allowed to restrict or interfere with your right to live in your home. If your landlord tries to do this, they may be guilty of harassment which is against the law.
Ending an assured tenancy
Your tenancy continues until you or your landlord end it. This can happen by:
- you and your landlord agreeing to end the tenancy (known as surrender)
- you serving a valid notice
- your landlord taking action to evict you (see below)
It is possible for a tenancy to be surrendered at any time. Get your landlord's agreement in writing if possible to avoid problems later.
If you have a periodic tenancy, you have to give one months' notice in writing (or longer if you pay your rent less often). The notice should end on the day that your rent is due. Once the notice ends your tenancy ends and you no longer have any right to live in your home.
If you have a fixed-term tenancy you can only give notice during the fixed-term if your tenancy agreement says it is allowed. The length of notice you have to give depends on what your tenancy agreement says.
It is also possible to leave on the day your tenancy ends without giving any notice. However, you should tell landlord that you plan to do this, as this may help to avoid arguments about the return of your deposit.
Most assured tenants can only be evicted in certain circumstances.
You cannot be evicted without written notice and a court order.
For more information, see the section on the eviction of assured tenants.
It may be a criminal offence if your landlord tries to evict you without getting a court order.
Contact your local council. They may be able to help if you have been illegally evicted or harassed by your landlord. You may also be able to obtain a court order requiring the landlord to allow you back into the property.
Find out more about illegal eviction.
Use our directory to find a local advice centre if you think you are being illegally evicted from your home.
Are you an assured tenant?
You are likely to be an assured tenant if all these apply:
- you pay rent to a private landlord
- you have control over your home so that your landlord and other people cannot come in whenever they want to
- your landlord does not live in the same building as you
- you moved in between 15 January 1989 and 27 February 1997 and your landlord did not give you a notice saying that you have an assured shorthold tenancy
You can also be an assured tenant if you moved in after 27 February 1997 but this is quite rare. This can only happen if your landlord gave you a written notice saying that you have an assured tenancy before your tenancy started, or if you previously had an assured tenancy in the same accommodation with the same landlord.
Tenancies that can't be assured
Some types of tenancy cannot be assured tenancies, for example:
- business tenancies
- tenancies where no (or a very low) rent is paid
- tenancies that started on or after 1 April 1990 and where the current rent is more than £100,000 per year
- tenancies of agricultural land or holdings
- college accommodation
- holiday lets
Use Shelter's tenancy checker to check what type of tenancy you have.