Private registered providers of social housing (PRPSH) tenancies

Private registered providers of social housing (PRPSH) mainly grant secure or assured/assured shorthold tenancies depending on the date the tenancy commenced. They can also provide special-needs housing with specific types of tenancy or licence.

This content applies to England

PRPSH tenancy requirements

The type of tenancy granted by a Private Registered Providers of Social Housing (PRPSHs) principally depends on the date the tenancy commenced.

A PRPSH must also have regard to the tenancy strategy published by the local authority and to the regulatory standards issued by the regulator of social housing.

PRPSHs mainly grant 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.

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. However, if a fully mutual housing association changes its status to a non-mutual housing association, then the status of tenants 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 their 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 is granted an assured shorthold tenancy unless they are 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]

Tenancies following stock transfer

Where a local authority has transferred its housing stock to a PRPSH after 15 January 1989, the new tenancy with the new landlord is not a secure tenancy, even if it was previously secure. These tenancies are usually assured tenancies, although tenants 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 are assured tenancies, rather than secure or regulated tenancies.[11]

Starter tenancies

Starter tenancies are periodic assured shorthold tenancies 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] 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.

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.

Tenancy strategies

Each local housing authority had to publish its 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]

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.

PRPSHs special needs housing

In addition to the provision of general needs accommodation, many PRPSHs provide special needs housing.

This heading covers a wide range of accommodation for an equally wide range of people; however, a common feature of such schemes is more intensive management of the accommodation and specialist support for the residents. The support staff are often employed by a separate voluntary organisation, working in close partnership with the PRPSH, which is itself responsible for the development and maintenance of the properties. In other schemes, the PRPSH fulfils both roles.

Schemes and funding

Special-needs schemes include accommodation for people recovering from a mental illness, ex-offenders, people with learning difficulties or physical disabilities, young homeless people, and refugees. Many PRPSHs also manage sheltered housing for elderly people. The accommodation provided ranges from hostels with shared rooms and single rooms in shared flats and houses, to self-contained flats visited frequently by support staff.

Some projects are intended to provide supported accommodation only for a certain period in a tenant's life; once the tenant attains independence, they are often able to move on to another form of accommodation. Other projects are intended to provide permanent housing.

Tenancies and licences

Tenants with special needs may have secure, assured, or assured shorthold tenancies. Other tenants with special needs are subject to different agreements.

If residents are sharing, or if special caring facilities are required, the resident may have a licence. In some cases the licensees have the basic protection of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.

If the relevant accommodation is a hostel (ie if the accommodation is not separate or self-contained, and board or cooking facilities are provided), and that accommodation is owned by a landlord of a specified type, the resident is an excluded licensee. In this situation, the resident is entitled only to contractual notice. The period of notice is either whatever period has been expressly agreed either in writing or orally or, if there is no agreement, reasonable notice. If a licence fee is paid, then the reasonable notice may be equal to the payment period. It may arguably be longer depending on the facts of the case.

The notice can be verbal or written and there is no requirement for a possession order.

Last updated: 12 March 2021


  • [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]

    [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.