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Identifying the type of tenancy

This content applies to England

The factors determining the type of tenancy a PRPSH can grant.

The type of tenancy granted by a Private Registered Providers of Social Housing (PRPSHs) will principally depend on the date the tenancy commenced. However a PRPSH must also have regard to:

  • the tenancy strategy published by the local authority (although local authorities are not required to have a tenancy strategy in place until January 2013)
  • the regulatory standards issued by the regulator of social housing.

PRPSHs will mainly have granted secure or assured/assured shorthold tenancies depending on the date the tenancy commenced.

Tenancies commencing before 15 January 1989

Most private registered provider of social housing (PRPSH) tenancies that started before 15 January 1989 are secure tenancies, with the following exceptions:

  • occupiers of property let by a housing co-operative (a fully mutual housing association registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965) which was registered under the Housing Associations Act 1985 cannot have had a secure tenancy[1] or a regulated tenancy under the 1977 Rent Act.[2] Most of these occupiers are occupiers with basic protection – for more information see the page on Rights of housing co-operative occupiers. If a fully mutual housing association changes its status to a non-mutual housing association, then the tenants' status could change,[3]
  • tenancies created by non-mutual housing associations that were not registered with the Housing Corporation are usually regulated tenancies. Security of tenure and rent control for these tenancies are governed by the Rent Act 1977. See the section on Regulated (protected) tenancies for more information.

Tenancies commencing on or after 15 January 1989

Most PRPSH tenancies that started on or after 15 January 1989 are assured or assured shorthold tenancies. For more information, please see the page on Assured tenancies and ASTs.

The following lettings granted by PRPSHs on or after 15 January 1989 are not usually assured or assured shorthold tenancies:

  • a letting granted by a fully mutual housing association is not capable of being an assured or assured shorthold.[4] These occupiers are usually occupiers with basic protection – for more information see the page on Rights of housing co-operative occupiers. However, if a fully mutual housing association changes its status to a non-mutual housing association, then the tenants' status could change.
  • if a PRPSH is providing accommodation so that a local authority can comply with its interim duty to house an applicant pending investigation of her/his homeless application,[5] the occupier of such accommodation is excluded from the protection offered by section 3 of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. For more information, see Interim duty to accommoate: Applications, inquiries and decisions. If a letting of interim accommodation granted by a PRPSH is a tenancy, it cannot be an assured or assured shorthold tenancy before a period of 12 months has expired since its commencement, unless the tenant is notified that it is to be regarded as such[6]
  • if a PRPSH is providing accommodation so that the local authority can comply with its full duty to provide temporary accommodation to a homeless person,[7] then that person will be granted an assured shorthold tenancy unless s/he is notified that the tenancy is to be regarded as an assured tenancy [8]
  • licensees of a hostel provided by a charitable housing trust or a registered housing association[9] have an excluded tenancy or licence
  • occupiers who are granted a temporary licence or tenancy for premises that they had first entered as a trespasser also have an excluded tenancy or licence.[10]

For further information about occupiers with basic protection and excluded occupiers, see the section on Basic protection/excluded occupiers.

Tenancies following stock transfer

Where a local authority has transferred its housing stock to a PRPSH after 15 January 1989, then the new tenancy with the new landlord will not be a secure tenancy, even if it was previously secure. These tenancies will usually be assured tenancies, though tenants will retain the right to buy, and additional rights are usually granted in the tenancy agreement.

Where the transfer to a housing association is made by the Crown Estate Commissioners after 15 January 1989 and certain of its tenants previously enjoyed regulated status, their tenancies with the housing association will be assured tenancies, rather than secure or regulated tenancies.[11]

Tenancy strategies

Each local housing authority must have published is tenancy strategy by 15 January 2013. The strategy must set out matters which all registered providers of social housing in its area must consider when framing their own policies on the types of tenancies they grant.[12] For more information see the page Tenancy strategies.

How the larger PRPSHs with properties in many different local authority areas adapt their own policies to comply with differing local tenancy strategies remains to be seen.

Tenancy standard

Under Government Directions, the regulator of social housing must set a 'Tenancy Standard' which all PRPSHs must comply with when considering the type of tenancies to be granted. From 1 April 2012 a PRPSH can only grant a periodic assured tenancy or a fixed-term assured shorthold tenancy.

For information about this and the other standards that must be complied with see the page Regulatory standards

[1] s.80(2)(a) Housing Act 1985.

[2] s.15(3) Rent Act 1977.

[3] (1) Bhai (2) Cabare v Black Roof Community Housing Association Ltd [2000] EWCA Civ 276.

[4] para 12(1)(h), Sch. 1 Housing Act 1988.

[5] ss.188, 190, 200, 204(4) Housing Act 1996.

[6] s.209 Housing Act 1996.

[7] s.193 Housing Act 1996.

[8] para 16.22 Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities.

[9] s.3A(8) Protection from Eviction Act 1977.

[10] s.3A(6) Protection from Eviction Act 1977.

[11] Crown Estate Commissioners v (1) Governors of the Peabody Trust (2) Poplak [2011] EWCH 1467 (Ch).

[12] s.150 Localism Act 2011.

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