If you’re renting your home, you will be living under some form of tenancy agreement. But what is an assured tenancy? And how does it work? In our simple guide, we outline how this type of tenancy gives you a greater degree of long-term stability in your living situation.
What is an assured tenancy agreement?
An assured tenancy agreement is a legal guarantee, usually offered by housing associations, to qualifying tenants. Under normal circumstances, it allows you to live in your property for the rest of your life. This is why it’s described as ‘assured’.
What is the difference between an assured tenancy and a secure tenancy?
Assured tenancies have acted in a very similar way to the ‘old style’ secure tenancies since they were introduced as part of the Housing Act 1988. The difference is that the older secure tenancies provided more extensive statutory rights than the newer assured tenancy type. However, assured tenancies still offer the same benefits of security and stability, along with the same principles as secure tenancies.
How does an assured tenancy work?
An assured tenancy works in the same way as any other tenancy agreement. Assured tenancies are rarely offered by private landlords; usually they are provided by housing associations or councils. If you agree to an assured tenancy, you cannot be evicted from the property except by a court order or if you agree to end the tenancy voluntarily.
Note that you might be offered a ‘starter tenancy’ agreement before having the option of an assured tenancy. This is a 12-month agreement that housing associations use as a sort of trial period before committing to the offer of a permanent tenancy.
What rights does an assured tenant have?
There are several statutory rights attached to an assured tenancy. The most important rights included in an assured tenancy are:
- The right to buy your home.
- Limited succession rights – the ability to pass on the agreement to family relations when you die.
- Getting essential repairs to your home done by the housing association.
Is an assured tenancy for life?
Under normal circumstances, an assured tenancy agreement lasts for the lifetime of the tenant. If you abide by the conditions of your tenancy, you should be able to live in your property all your life.
Can assured tenants be evicted?
If you are an assured tenant, you can be evicted, but only for a narrow range of reasons. The landlord or housing association will have to demonstrate to a court their grounds for evicting you. There are a number of legal grounds for eviction, including:
- Significant arrears (late payment) of rent – 8 weeks or more
- Committing a crime or antisocial offence
- Breach of tenancy agreement clauses
Shelter UK has more details on the different types of legal grounds for eviction, and how the process works.
Can an assured tenancy be ended voluntarily?
If you are living under an assured tenancy, you can end it yourself voluntarily. Legally, this is a ‘surrender’ of the tenancy, if you agree with the landlord for the tenancy to end. Again, Shelter has more details on how the process works, including information on giving Notice to Quit (NTQ).
Can rent be increased on an assured tenancy?
If you are living under an assured tenancy, your rent can be increased. The landlord or housing association that owns the property must give you at least four weeks’ notice of any planned rent increases.
How can I check if I have assured tenancy?
If you are unsure whether you are living under an assured tenancy agreement, you can use a simple tenancy checker. If you’re still unsure, you can get in contact with your landlord or housing association to confirm what type of tenancy you have in place.
Do assured tenants have the right to buy?
As an assured tenant of a housing association, you don’t have a statutory right to buy your home. You may, however, be able to buy your home from a housing association or local authority at a small discount under a scheme called ‘Right to Acquire’. To be eligible for the scheme you must have occupied the home for at least three years, along with several other criteria. You can check the eligibility requirements on the Government’s Right to Acquire webpage.
Can you inherit an assured tenancy?
A housing association assured tenancy can be inherited once only. Your eligibility depends on your relationship with the tenancy holder and the terms of the tenancy agreement. If the tenant dies, you may be able to inherit the assured tenancy if you’re the spouse, civil partner or cohabitee of the tenancy holder, as long as you lived with them at the address. Relatives and family members may also be eligible to inherit the tenancy, depending on the tenancy agreement. Inheriting an assured tenancy is called ‘succession’.
What is an assured shorthold tenancy?
An assured shorthold tenancy is different to an assured tenancy, so it’s important to know the distinction between the two. An assured shorthold tenancy is the main type of private tenancy offered by landlords in the UK, and it doesn’t afford you the same rights as an assured tenancy. Assured shorthold tenancies tend to have a fixed contract length of 6 or 12 months, or be offered on a rolling weekly or monthly basis. The main feature of an assured shorthold tenancy is that the landlord can evict you without a reason, as long as they follow the legal eviction process.
Are assured tenancies a good idea?
Assured tenancies provide a lot of benefits if you want a greater measure of stability over your living situation. Your biggest benefit is that you cannot be evicted unless you break your tenancy agreement. If you are unlikely to want to move homes in the future, this kind of agreement offers an added layer of long-term security.
If you want to know more about different types of tenancies, help to buy, or any other details on legal contracts around renting/buying your home, check out our dedicated guides section.
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