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Assured shorthold tenancies with housing associations

Your housing association could give you:

  • a starter tenancy

  • an assured shorthold tenancy with a fixed term of up to 10 years

Starter tenancies might not have a fixed term and can be ended quite easily.

Many housing association tenants have assured tenancies. These do not have an end date.

Help with rent

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

You could get help with rent from:

  • universal credit if you're working age

  • housing benefit if you're pension age

You could ask for a discretionary housing payment (DHP) from the council if you cannot afford your rent.

Tell your housing association if you're struggling with rent or service charges. They must try and help you sort things out.

Reporting repairs

Report problems quickly if your home needs repairs. 

Your housing association is responsible for most repairs.

Your tenancy agreement might say what repairs you have to do. This could be things like putting in new lightbulbs and fixing any damage you cause.

Swapping homes 

You could 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 both need your landlords' written permission to swap your homes.

You cannot usually swap if either of you have a starter tenancy. 

Eviction from a housing association tenancy

Your housing association must try and help you before they take any action to evict you.

For example, they should help you set up a repayment plan if you miss a rent payment.

Eviction should be a last resort and they must take the right legal steps to evict you.

This means your housing association must:

  • give you a legal notice

  • get a court order to say you must leave

  • apply for bailiffs to evict you if you do not move out

Fixed term tenancies

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

This is called a ground for possession. The housing association must prove it at a court hearing. For example, they must show the court that you have rent arrears.

Sometimes the court can stop or suspend an eviction if it's not reasonable. For example, if you can show that you can pay back your rent arrears.

Starter tenancies

Your housing association could use the section 21 process to end a starter tenancy. The court cannot usually stop your eviction if the housing association takes the right legal steps.

Passing on your tenancy if you die

Joint tenancies always pass to the other tenant named on the agreement.

If the tenancy is in your name only

Your tenancy can usually pass to a partner who you live with. It must be their main home.

If you do not have a partner living with you, the tenancy agreement might say it can pass to a close relative living in your home. Check your agreement. 

When a tenancy passes on in this way it's called a succession.

These rights do not apply to a fixed term tenancy of less than 2 years.

Read more about succession rights in a housing association tenancy.

If nobody has the right to succeed to the tenancy

The tenancy will pass on:

  • in line with your will

  • to your next of kin if you do not make a will

The person who inherits the tenancy may not be able to keep it.

The housing association can use a special ground to end the tenancy if it passes on in this way.

Complain about your housing association

Start by complaining direct to the housing association. Ask for their complaints process.

You can complain to the housing ombudsman if you're not happy with the response.

The housing ombudsman is an independent service that looks at complaints about social landlords.

More about how to complain.

Last updated: 22 May 2024

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