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
Assured tenants have strong tenancy rights. You can only be evicted for the reasons set out in the law.
If you don't pay your rent your landlord can take court action to evict you.
Your tenancy might be for a set period such as six or 12 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.
Your landlord can increase the rent if:
- you agree to the increase
- there is a rent review clause written into your tenancy agreement (if you had a fixed-term tenancy that has expired your landlord may not be able to use this)
- your landlord gives you at least one month's written notice of the proposed rent increase (they can't take effect during the fixed term of your tenancy)
You cannot be evicted for not paying the new rent if your landlord tries to increase the rent in any other way. But you must keep paying the old rent.
The law says that you will have agreed to the increase if you start paying the increased rent.
If your landlord gives you notice of a proposed rent increase you can challenge this through the tribunal for rent disputes. You must do this before the notice period expires or the new rent will take effect.
Find out more about private tenancy rent increases.
Help to pay the rent
You may be able to claim housing benefit or universal credit to help pay your rent if you are working and have a low income or if you claim benefits.
Landlord responsibility for repairs
The law says your landlord is responsible for most repairs. This includes to:
- the roof
- external doors and windows
Your landlord must keep also fix problems with gas, electricity, heating, water and sanitation equipment.
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.
Tenant's responsibility for repairs
You are responsible for using your home in a responsible way and for certain minor repairs.
This might include:
- renewing sealant around the bath
- changing a fuse
- checking and replacing smoke alarm batteries
Passing 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 is possible for the tenancy to be passed on to a spouse, civil partner or partner. This is known as succession.
Succession 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
You are allowed to take in a lodger.
Your benefits could be reduced if someone else moves into your home. This can happen even if the person is a family member or doesn't pay you any rent.
Find out more about lodgers.
Living away from home
You will lose your status as an assured tenant if you no longer live in your accommodation as your only or main home. Your landlord can then end your tenancy very easily.
It is possible to spend time living somewhere else though and still keep your assured tenancy. You may need to show that you are planning to return, for example, by leaving your personal belongings at home.
You have the right to live in your accommodation without being disturbed by your landlord.
Your landlord is not allowed to enter the property without your permission or interfere with your right to live in your home in other ways. 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
It is possible for a tenancy to be surrendered at any time. Get your landlord's agreement in writing if possible to avoid any dispute about whether it was given.
If you have a periodic tenancy, you have to give at least 28 days (if you pay rent weekly) or one months (if you pay rent monthly) notice in writing.
The notice you give must end on the first or last day of the period of a tenancy, except when your tenancy agreement says something different. The first day of a period of your tenancy is the anniversary date each week or month of when your tenancy began. This is often the same date that your rent is due, but not always. Check with a housing adviser if you're not sure about the dates.
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.
Once the notice period you give your landlord expires your tenancy ends. You no longer have any right to live in your home.
It may be possible to leave on the day a fixed term agreement expires without giving any notice. But it's always best to let your landlord know what you plan to do to avoid disputes.
Your landlord must give you notice on a special form and then get a possession order from the court.
You can only be evicted if your landlord can prove a legal reason to the court.
For more information, see the section on the eviction of assured tenants.
It is 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
- 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 not common. This can 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
- where the rent is more than £100,000 per year
- tenancies of agricultural land or holdings
- student halls of residence
- holiday lets
Use Shelter's tenancy checker to check what type of tenancy you have.