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Secure tenancies

This content applies to England

Private registered provider of social housing (PRPSH), formerly known as registered social landlord (RSL), tenancies created before 15 January 1989 are normally secure tenancies.

For more general information about secure tenancies see the section on Secure tenancies.

Elements of a secure tenancy

For a secure tenancy to exist, three essential conditions must apply:[1]

  • there must be a separate dwelling
  • the letting must have been made by a relevant landlord, ie a PRPSH, a registered housing association or a charitable housing trust (but not certain types of fully mutual co-operative housing associations)
  • the tenant must be an individual (or individuals) who occupies the property as her/his only or principal home.

There are certain situations in which a tenancy cannot be secure - please see the section on Secure tenancies for further information.

Terminating a secure tenancy

Most secure PRPSH tenancies are periodic tenancies. A provider can only terminate a periodic secure tenancy by serving a notice of seeking possession and then instituting possession proceedings in a county court. In order to gain possession of the property, the provider must rely on one or more grounds for possession. The court normally has to be satisfied that it is reasonable to make a possession order (see the section on Secure tenancies).

Rights of secure tenants

Secure tenants have a package of rights. The main rights are:

  • one succession to a family member after the death of a tenant (see the section on Succession for more information)
  • assignment in very limited circumstances (see the section on Assignment of tenancies for more information)
  • to take in lodgers
  • to sublet part of the property with permission (see the section on Subtenancies for more information)
  • to make improvements with permission (see the section on Taking action on disrepair for more information)
  • compensation for improvements (see the section on Problems during repairs for more information)
  • to repair, in the landlord's default (see the section on Taking action on disrepair)
  • to exchange (see the section on Secure tenancies)
  • consultation on proposed changes in housing management arrangements
  • access to information on the tenant held by the association.

Secure tenancies and rent

One important feature of secure PRPSH tenancies is the procedure for fixing and increasing rents, which is the same as for private sector regulated (or protected) tenancies. This procedure is set out in the Rent Act 1977.[2]

The essential element in this procedure is the 'fair rent', which is assessed by a Rent Officer. The fair rent is fixed by comparing the rent of similar properties in the same area to decide on the value of the tenant's tenancy, excluding any financial impact due to scarcity of accommodation in the area. There is a section of the Rent Register (which lists fair rents set in each area) for PRPSH properties. New rents may be registered on the application of a landlord or tenant every two years, and are normally assessed in comparison with rents already registered. The tenant has a right to consultation, and to appeal to a Rent Assessment Committee (RAC) if there is disagreement. The fair rent may include a service charge element. For further information about fair rents, please see the section on Fair rents.

Tenancies granted on or after 15 January 1989

PRPSH tenants whose tenancies were granted on or after 15 January 1989 will be assured or assured shorthold tenants under the Housing Act 1988, unless the tenant (whether alone or as a joint tenant) was a secure tenant of the same landlord immediately before the new tenancy was granted (of the same or different premises), in which case s/he will be a secure tenant.[3]

[1] ss.79-81 Housing Act 1985.

[2] ss.61-97 Rent Act 1977.

[3] s.35(2)(b) and 35(4)(d) Housing Act 1988.

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