Assured shorthold tenancies with housing associations

Find out about your rights and responsibilities if you have an assured shorthold tenancy with a housing association.

When you have an assured shorthold tenancy

Some housing associations use fixed term assured shorthold tenancies for new tenants. These usually have a fixed term of between 2 and 10 years, depending on their policy.

You also have an assured shorthold tenancy if it's a:

If you're in temporary housing provided by a housing association after a homeless application, it could be an assured shorthold tenancy.  

Rent

Your tenancy agreement should set out how much your rent is and when to pay it.

You can usually claim universal credit to help with rent if you're on a low income.

You might also be able to get a discretionary housing payment (DHP) from the council.

Tell your housing association if you're struggling with rent or service charges. They must try and help you sort things out before taking eviction action for rent arrears.

Repairs

Report problems quickly if your home needs repairs. 

The housing association is responsible for most repairs.

Your tenancy agreement may say what repairs you are responsible for. This usually includes internal decoration and putting right any damage you cause.

Swapping homes 

You may be able to swap your home with another council or housing association tenant if you have an assured shorthold tenancy with a fixed term of at least 2 years. 

This is called a mutual exchange. You need the landlord's written permission before you swap.

You can't usually do this with a starter tenancy or a demoted tenancy. 

How the landlord can end your tenancy

Your housing association must:

  • give you notice
  • get a court order to say you must leave
  • apply for bailiffs to evict you if you don't move out

The court can't usually stop an eviction if the housing association follows the correct procedure to end a starter tenancy or demoted tenancy.

Fixed term tenancies

The housing association needs a legal reason to evict you before the end of the term.

This is called a 'ground for possession' and the housing association must prove it at a court hearing.

Depending on the grounds used, the court can sometimes stop or suspend an eviction if it's not reasonable for you to have leave your home.

What happens to your tenancy if you die

With a joint tenancy, the tenancy will continue automatically for the other joint tenant.

If the tenancy is in your name only

Sometimes the tenancy can pass to another person under succession rules.

If you have a partner living in your home immediately before your death, the tenancy will usually pass to them if either:

  • the tenancy has a fixed term of at least 2 years
  • it's a periodic tenancy - this includes demoted tenancies and starter tenancies 

If you don't have a partner but someone else lives there with you, the tenancy may pass to them but only if this is mentioned in your tenancy agreement. 

You probably can't pass the tenancy on under succession rules if you succeeded to it or inherited it yourself. This is because the tenancy can only be passed on once unless the tenancy agreement allows for another succession.

If no one has the right to succeed to the tenancy

The tenancy can still be passed on under your will, or to your next of kin if you don't make a will.

The person who inherits the tenancy may not be able to keep it in the longer term. Housing associations will usually take steps to end the tenancy if there's no right to succeed under the succession rules.  

Buying your home

You may have the right to acquire your home at a discount but only if you have a fixed term tenancy of at least 2 years.

You may be able to apply to buy a home through other home ownership schemes designed to help tenants get onto the property ladder.

Complaints about the housing association

Use your housing association's official complaints procedure first. 

Complain to the Housing Ombudsman Service if you're unhappy with the response.


Last updated 27 Sep 2019 | © Shelter

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