Assured shorthold tenancies with housing associations

Housing associations often provide assured shorthold tenancies. Assured shorthold tenants can be evicted more easily than most other housing association tenants.

When you'll have an assured shorthold tenancy

You're probably an assured shorthold tenant if you were offered your home from a waiting list and it's a:

  • starter tenancy (usually a rolling tenancy for the first 12 months)
  • fixed-term contract (must be for at least 2 years)

If you're offered temporary accommodation with a housing association following a homeless application it could be an assured shorthold tenancy.  

You'll have an assured shorthold tenancy if your assured or secure tenancy has been demoted by the court because of antisocial behaviour within the last 12-18 months.

Eviction of assured shorthold tenants

Housing associations must follow legal eviction rules.

Your housing association must:

  • give you notice
  • get an order from the court before you have to leave

If you have a fixed-term contract, the housing association must have a legal reason (known as a ground) if it wants to evict you.

Get help with rent arrears

Tell your housing association immediately if you are having difficulty paying your rent or service charges. They should give you help and information about benefits that you could be eligible for.

You could lose your home if you get into rent arrears.

If you are on a low income you can usually claim housing benefit or the universal credit housing costs element to help you pay the rent.

Responsibility for repairs

If your home needs repairs, report the problem to the housing association immediately.

The housing association is responsible for most repairs, including any problems with the roof, guttering, windows, doors and brickwork. They also have to ensure that the plumbing, gas and electricity are working safely.

The housing association should give you information about what repairs you are responsible for. This usually includes internal decoration and putting right any damage you cause.

If the housing association plans to do major work, it should consult you before the work begins.

The housing association may have to rehouse you (temporarily or permanently) if you have to move out while the work is done. You may be entitled to claim compensation.

Rent increases

There are rules about how and when the rent can be increased. Your tenancy agreement should explain the procedure.

Usually, your rent will be increased each April by an amount just above the inflation rate.

Succession rights

Inheriting a tenancy is known as succession. Only one succession is usually allowed.

Assured shorthold housing association tenancies can be passed onto your partner, civil partner or cohabiting partner when you die.

If you have a joint tenancy, the other joint tenant automatically takes over the tenancy if you die.

Other family members cannot succeed to most housing association tenancies, unless the tenancy agreement allows for this.

If your tenancy has a fixed term of less than 2 years, there is no right to inherit the tenancy.

Pass on your tenancy during your lifetime

This process of transferring your tenancy to someone else is called assignment.

Most assured shorthold tenants can only assign their tenancy if the housing association agrees to it. Usually you would only be allowed to assign your tenancy to your partner, civil partner, cohabiting partner or other family member.

Get advice if you want to assign your tenancy. If the correct procedure isn't followed, you could still be legally responsible for paying the rent and the person who stays on could be evicted.

You may be able to swap tenancies with another housing association or council tenant if you have a tenancy for a fixed-term period of more than two years. This is called mutual exchange. Ask your landlord for more information about this.

Buying your home

Only assured shorthold tenants with a fixed-term tenancy of more than two years have the right to buy their home through the Right to Acquire.

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

Get involved in the management of your home

Your housing association should consult and involve you in decisions that are likely to affect you. You might be able to join a tenants' committee and help in the running of the housing association.

This doesn't mean that the housing association has to act on your wishes. Ask the housing association for more information about how you can get involved and how final decisions are made.

Make a complaint about assured shorthold tenancies

Use your housing association's official complaints procedure if you feel that the housing association isn't treating you fairly or hasn't fulfilled its responsibilities. You usually have to do this before you can take things any further.

Complain to the Housing Ombudsman Service if you're not happy with the response you receive from your housing association.

More information about rights in assured shorthold tenancies

Housing associations must provide a written tenancy agreement to new tenants.

Your tenancy agreement should state what kind of tenancy you have and explain your rights and responsibilities. The housing association can't normally make changes to it without your written consent.

You may also be given a tenants' handbook, with details of any additional rights.

Get help from a Shelter adviser if you need more information

Last updated 10 Jun 2015 | © Shelter

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