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Assured tenancies

Private tenants with an assured tenancy have long-term tenancy rights. Most assured tenants moved into their home between 1989 and 1997.

Are you an assured tenant?

You are likely to be an assured tenant if all these apply:

  • you pay rent to a private landlord
  • your landlord does not live in the same building as you
  • you moved in between 15 January 1989 and 27 February 1997 and your landlord did not give you a notice saying that you have an assured shorthold tenancy

You can also be an assured tenant if you moved in after 27 February 1997. This can happen if:

  • your landlord gave you a written notice before your tenancy started saying that you have an assured tenancy
  • you previously had an assured tenancy in the same accommodation with the same landlord.

Tenancies that can't be assured

Some types of tenancy can't be assured tenancies, for example:

  • business tenancies
  • tenancies where the rent is more than £100,000 per year
  • tenancies of agricultural land or holdings
  • student halls of residence
  • holiday lets

Use Shelter's tenancy checker to check what type of tenancy you have.

Most private tenants have an assured shorthold tenancy.

How long your tenancy lasts

Your tenancy might:

  • roll on a week-to-week or month-to-month basis - this is called a periodic tenancy
  • be for a set period such as 12 or 18 months - this is known as a fixed-term tenancy.

When a fixed term tenancy expires, it continues as a periodic tenancy unless you sign up for a new fixed term.

Your tenancy will continue until you or your landlord end it. This can happen by:

  • you and your landlord agreeing to end the tenancy (known as surrender)
  • you serving a valid notice to quit
  • your landlord lawfully evicts you by following the correct procedure

Notice to end an assured tenancy

If you have a fixed-term tenancy, you can only give notice during the fixed-term if your tenancy agreement says it is allowed.

If you have a periodic tenancy, you have to give written notice to your landlord of at least:

  • 28 days if you pay rent weekly
  • one month if you pay rent monthly

Your tenancy agreement may say you must give more notice.

The notice must end on the first or last day of the period of a tenancy, unless your tenancy agreement says something different. 

The first day of a period of your tenancy is the anniversary date each week or month of when your tenancy began. This is often the same date that your rent is due, but not always. Check with a housing adviser if you're not sure about the dates.

Your right to live in the property ends once the correct notice period you give your landlord expires.

It may be possible to leave on the day a fixed term agreement expires without giving any notice. But it's always best to let your landlord know what you plan to do to avoid disputes.

Find out more about ending a fixed-term tenancy and ending a periodic (month to month) tenancy.

Surrendering a tenancy

It is possible for a tenancy to be surrendered at any time if your landlord agrees.

Get your landlord to confirm their agreement in writing if possible to avoid any dispute about whether it was given.

Eviction

Your landlord must give you notice on a special form and then get a possession order from the court.

You can only be evicted if your landlord can prove a legal reason to the court. In some cases the court must also decide whether it is reasonable for you to be evicted.

For more information, see  eviction of assured tenants.

Illegal eviction

It is a criminal offence if your landlord tries to evict you without getting a court order.

Contact your local council. They may be able to help if you have been illegally evicted or harassed by your landlord.

You can also apply for a court order requiring the landlord to allow you back into the property.

Landlord harassment

You have the right to live in your accommodation without being unreasonably disturbed by your landlord.

Your landlord is not allowed to enter the property without your permission or interfere with your right to live in your home in other ways.

If your landlord tries to do this, they may be guilty of harassment.

Rent increases

Your landlord can increase the rent if:

  • you agree to the increase
  • there is a rent review clause written into your tenancy agreement (if you had a fixed-term tenancy that has expired your landlord may not be able to use this)
  • your landlord gives you at least one month's written notice of the proposed rent increase on a special form (they can't do this during the fixed term of your tenancy)

If your landlord gives you one month's notice of a proposed rent increase you can challenge this through the tribunal for rent disputes. You must do this before the notice period expires or the new rent will take effect.

Find out more about private tenancy rent increases.

Help to pay the rent

You may be able to claim housing benefit or universal credit to help pay your rent if you are working and have a low income or if you claim benefits.

Responsibility for repairs

The law says your landlord is responsible for most repairs. This includes to:

  • the roof
  • guttering
  • walls
  • external doors and windows

Your landlord must keep also fix problems with gas, electricity, heating, water and sanitation equipment.

Your landlord must have a valid gas safety certificate for any gas appliances in the property.

Any furniture provided should be fire resistant.

Find out more about responsibilities for repairs.

Tell your landlord or letting agent if your accommodation needs repairs.

If your landlord doesn't do repairs, there may be steps you can take to get your landlord to carry out the work.

Your landlord may have extra responsibilities if you live in a house in multiple occupation (HMO).

Tenant's responsibility for repairs

You are responsible for using your home in a responsible way and for certain minor repairs.

This might include:

  • renewing sealant around the bath
  • changing a fuse
  • checking and replacing smoke alarm batteries

Find out more about your responsibility for minor repairs and maintenance.

Inheriting an assured tenancy

If an assured tenant dies, it is possible for a periodic tenancy to be passed on to a spouse, civil partner or partner who was living in the property at the time of the tenant's death. This is known as succession.

Succession is only possible if the tenancy has not previously been passed on this way.

Otherwise, you can only pass on a periodic assured tenancy to someone else if:

  • your tenancy agreement says you can pass on your tenancy
  • your landlord agrees to it

Your landlord may be able to end your tenancy if you attempt to pass your tenancy to someone else under any other circumstances.

Getting other people to live with you

Check your tenancy agreement to see if you are allowed to take in a lodger. If your tenancy agreement says nothing about this you must get your landlord’s permission first.

Your benefits could be reduced if someone else moves into your home. This can happen even if the person is a family member and doesn't pay you any rent.

Find out more about lodgers.

Living away from home

You lose your status as an assured tenant if you no longer live in your accommodation as your only or main home. It is then straightforward for your landlord to end your tenancy.

It is possible to spend a long time away from home and keep your assured tenancy, for example because you are in hospital, in prison or away caring for a relative. You may need to show that you are planning to return, for example by leaving your personal belongings at home.


Last updated 09 May 2017 | © Shelter

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