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PRPSH tenancy types

This content applies to England

The factors determining the type of tenancy a PRPSH can grant.

Factors a PRPSH must have regard to

The type of tenancy granted by a Private Registered Providers of Social Housing (PRPSHs) will principally depend on the date the tenancy commenced. However a PRPSH must also have regard to:

  • the tenancy strategy published by the local authority (although local authorities are not required to have a tenancy strategy in place until January 2013)
  • the regulatory standards issued by the regulator of social housing.

PRPSHs will mainly have granted secure or assured/assured shorthold tenancies depending on the date the tenancy commenced.

Tenancies commencing before 15 January 1989

Most private registered provider of social housing (PRPSH) tenancies that started before 15 January 1989 are secure tenancies, with the following exceptions:

  • occupiers of property let by a housing co-operative (a fully mutual housing association registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965) which was registered under the Housing Associations Act 1985 cannot have had a secure tenancy[1] or a regulated tenancy under the 1977 Rent Act.[2] Most of these occupiers are occupiers with basic protection. If a fully mutual housing association changes its status to a non-mutual housing association, then the tenants' status could change,[3]
  • tenancies created by a non-mutual housing association that was not registered with the Housing Corporation are usually regulated tenancies. Security of tenure and rent control for these tenancies are governed by the Rent Act 1977.

Tenancies commencing on or after 15 January 1989

Most PRPSH tenancies that started on or after 15 January 1989 are assured or assured shorthold tenancies. For more information, see the section Assured tenancies and ASTs.

The following lettings granted by PRPSHs on or after 15 January 1989 are not usually assured or assured shorthold tenancies:

  • a letting granted by a fully mutual housing association cannot be an assured or assured shorthold.[4] These occupiers are usually occupiers with basic protection – for more information see the page on Rights of housing co-operative occupiers. However, if a fully mutual housing association changes its status to a non-mutual housing association, then the tenants' status could change.
  • if a PRPSH is providing accommodation so that a local authority can comply with its interim duty to house an applicant pending investigation of her/his homeless application,[5] the occupier of such accommodation is excluded from the protection offered by section 3 of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. If a letting of interim accommodation granted by a PRPSH is a tenancy, it cannot be an assured or assured shorthold tenancy before a period of 12 months has expired since its commencement, unless the tenant is notified that it is to be regarded as such[6]
  • if a PRPSH is providing accommodation so that the local authority can comply with its full duty to provide temporary accommodation to a homeless person,[7] then that person will be granted an assured shorthold tenancy unless s/he is notified that the tenancy is to be regarded as an assured tenancy [8]
  • licensees of a hostel provided by a charitable housing trust or a registered housing association[9] have an excluded tenancy or licence
  • occupiers who are granted a temporary licence or tenancy for premises that they had first entered as a trespasser also have an excluded tenancy or licence.[10]

For further information about occupiers with basic protection and excluded occupiers, see the section Basic protection/excluded occupiers.

Tenancies following stock transfer

Where a local authority has transferred its housing stock to a PRPSH after 15 January 1989, then the new tenancy with the new landlord will not be a secure tenancy, even if it was previously secure. These tenancies will usually be assured tenancies, though tenants will retain the right to buy, and additional rights are usually granted in the tenancy agreement.

Where the transfer to a housing association is made by the Crown Estate Commissioners after 15 January 1989 and certain of its tenants previously enjoyed regulated status, their tenancies with the housing association will be assured tenancies, rather than secure or regulated tenancies.[11]

Starter tenancies

Starter tenancies are periodic assured tenancy or fixed-term assured shorthold tenancies granted by private registered providers of social housing (PRPSHs) to their new tenants for an initial probationary period of one year or 18 months. If the trial is successful, the tenants become entitled to longer security of tenure, usually in the form of an assured tenancy, or a longer fixed-term assured shorthold tenancy.

The PRPSH starter tenancy scheme has been held to be identical in all material respects to the local authority introductory tenancy scheme.[12] However, the starter tenancy scheme was not statutorily created by legislation, so it is always necessary to look at individual tenancy agreements to work out what a tenant can expect to get at the end of the probationary period.

In England, a PRPSH that decides to operate a starter tenancy scheme must give starter tenancies to all new tenants, or all new tenants in a designated area. This can be checked by viewing the PRPSH's tenancy policy and procedure documents. 

Demoted tenancies

Sections 14-15 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 introduced a power for PRPSHs in England to apply to demote a tenancy if the PRPSH believes that the tenant, another resident in the property or a visitor is guilty of antisocial behaviour. Se the Security of tenure section for details.

Family intervention tenancies

The Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 gave PRPSHs the power to create family intervention tenancies with effect from 1 January 2009.[13] Family intervention tenancies were created as a means of working with families that have been involved in antisocial behaviour. See the Security of tenure section for details.

Tenancy strategies

Each local housing authority must have published is tenancy strategy by 15 January 2013. The strategy must set out matters which all registered providers of social housing in its area must consider when framing their own policies on the types of tenancies they grant.[14] For more information see the page Tenancy strategies.

How the larger PRPSHs with properties in many different local authority areas adapt their own policies to comply with differing local tenancy strategies remains to be seen.

Tenancy standard

Under Government Directions, the regulator of social housing must set a 'Tenancy Standard' which all PRPSHs must comply with when considering the type of tenancies to be granted. From 1 April 2012 a PRPSH can only grant a periodic assured tenancy or a fixed-term assured shorthold tenancy.

For information about this and the other standards that must be complied with, see the page Regulatory standards

[1] s.80(2)(a) Housing Act 1985.

[2] s.15(3) Rent Act 1977.

[3] (1) Bhai (2) Cabare v Black Roof Community Housing Association Ltd [2000] EWCA Civ 276.

[4] para 12(1)(h), Sch. 1 Housing Act 1988.

[5] ss.188, 190, 200, 204(4) Housing Act 1996.

[6] s.209 Housing Act 1996.

[7] s.193 Housing Act 1996.

[8] para 16.22 Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities.

[9] s.3A(8) Protection from Eviction Act 1977.

[10] s.3A(6) Protection from Eviction Act 1977.

[11] Crown Estate Commissioners v (1) Governors of the Peabody Trust (2) Poplak [2011] EWCH 1467 (Ch).

[12] Riverside Group Ltd v Thomas [2012] EWHC 169 (QB).

[13] s.297 Housing and Regeneration Act 2008.

[14] s.150 Localism Act 2011.

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