Assured tenancies with housing associations

Assured tenants have strong rights and can only be evicted in certain situations.

Are you an assured tenant?

Most housing association tenants are assured tenants. This is a life-long tenancy, which will only end if you leave or are evicted.

Some housing association tenants have a fixed-term assured shorthold tenancy. If this applies to you, the housing association may take steps to end your tenancy when the fixed term expires.

You won't be an assured tenant if:

Written tenancy agreement

The housing association will get you to sign a written tenancy agreement when your tenancy starts. Keep your copy.

This explains your rights and responsibilities. It will also tell you the type of tenancy you have.

Some housing associations will also give you a tenant’s handbook that should explain all you need to know about your tenancy.


You have the right to live in your home as long as you don't break the rules of your tenancy.

The housing association must get a court order if it wants to evict you.

Common reasons for eviction include:

  • not paying the rent or regularly paying it late
  • causing nuisance to neighbours
  • using the property for illegal activities, such as drug dealing

If you have rent arrears of more than 8 weeks, this makes it easier for a housing association to evict you.

Find out more about the eviction of assured housing association tenants


Check your tenancy agreement to see how much the rent is and when it should be paid. It should also say when it can be increased.

From April 2016 housing associations were required to reduce the rent of most tenants by 1% each year until April 2020.

You may also have to pay service charges for the maintenance of communal areas.

You may be eligible for housing benefit or universal credit to help you pay the rent if you claim benefits or have a low income.

Responsibility for repairs

The housing association is responsible for most repairs to your home. These include any problems with the roof, guttering, windows, doors and brickwork. They also have to make sure that the plumbing, gas and electricity are working safely.

Report repairs problems to the housing association immediately.

The housing association should give you information about any repairs you are responsible for. This normally includes internal decoration and paying for any damage you cause.

If the housing association plans to do major work, it should consult you before the work begins. You may have to be rehoused while the work is done.


Most assured tenants can take in a lodger. Check your tenancy agreement to see if you need to get the housing association's permission first.

The association can't refuse without a good reason, such as if your home would become overcrowded.

If you claim benefits, the amount you get may be reduced.

Subletting your home

It is a criminal offence for housing association tenants to rent out the whole of their home to someone else.

You are also likely to be evicted, even if your tenant has left and you have moved back in.

Get advice if you need to spend time living elsewhere but plan to return.

What happens to your tenancy if you die

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

If you are the sole tenant, there are rules about who the tenancy can pass to.

This process is called succession and can happen only once, unless your tenancy agreement says otherwise.

Passing on your tenancy in your lifetime

Passing your tenancy to someone else during your lifetime is called assignment.

Most assured tenants can only assign their tenancy if the housing association agrees to it.

Moving home

If you want to move, you may be able to:

  • get a transfer to another council or housing association tenancy
  • exchange homes with another housing association or council tenant – even if they are in another part of the country

Buying your home

Only certain housing association tenants have the right to buy their home.

If you don't have the right to buy, you may have the right to acquire.

Find out more on the Government Right to Buy website


Use your housing association's official complaints procedure if you feel that it isn't treating you fairly or hasn't met its responsibilities.

At the end of the complaints procedure, you can take your complaint to the Housing Ombudsman Service if you're unhappy with the housing association's response.

Still need help?

Get advice if you need more help with an assured tenancy from a housing association.

Use Shelter's directory to find an advice service near you

Last updated 24 Aug 2017 | © Shelter

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