Assured tenancy 

Most of our tenants are assured tenants. Assured tenancies are those created after 15 January 1989. They can be fixed term (for instance, for six months) or periodic (so it might roll on, week-to-week, month-to-month and so on).

Either way, you can stay in your home for the duration of the tenancy unless there is a breach of a term of the tenancy agreement. 

We can only end your tenancy with the permission of the courts. We can apply for possession of your home for a number of reasons such as serious and persistent rent arrears or serious nuisance or annoyance to your neighbours. To get a court order we will follow the rules laid down in the Housing Act 1988 (as amended by the Housing Act 1996). 

If the property is not your main home, it will stop being an assured tenancy, different rules will apply and you could be at risk of losing it. 

Tenants who live in: 
  • shared accommodation with support, or 
  • accommodation where the purpose is to develop independent living skills (with a view to moving on to more independent living) 
will have an additional clause in their tenancy agreement about their support. This allows us to take steps to end the tenancy if: 
  • the tenant’s behaviour means that the support is not appropriate for their needs, or 
  • the tenant refuses to engage with their support, or 
  • the tenant’s behaviour endangers others. 
In these circumstances, we will consult fully with the tenant, their advocate, support staff and other professionals involved in their support. 

Assured short-hold tenancy 

This type of tenancy is only issued: 
  • Where the accommodation is designated as ‘move on’ and provided for a limited amount of time while the tenant develops independent living skills.
  • In properties where support is provided, and it is unclear if that support is appropriate for the tenant to successfully sustain their tenancy, or 
  • Where the tenant has a history of rent arrears or anti-social behaviour. 
An assured short-hold tenancy can also be ‘move on’ accommodation, in which case the fixed term will be in whatever period has been agreed to allow sufficient time for independent living skills to be learnt and successfully applied. 

During the fixed term period the tenancy can be terminated at our discretion: 
  • If there is a justifiable reason 
  • Provided the correct procedure is followed, and 
  • Where the tenant is given two months’ notice. 

Joint tenancy 

A joint tenancy can be offered to two adults who both live in the same property. This can be a couple or two independent people who have chosen to live together.

Joint tenants have equal rights to their home and equal responsibilities for it. Each tenant is equally responsible for meeting all the tenancy obligations and resolving any issues that may arise. For example, if one person is unable to pay the rent or moves out, the other joint tenant will be required to pay all the rent.

What happens when a relationship ends? 
When a couple decide that they can no longer live together, a decision has to be made about the property that they share. If joint tenants can agree about which one of you will stay in property, you need to let your housing officer know. If you cannot agree, the tenancy would normally be given to the person who has custody of any children of the relationship, but we will listen to both sides before making our decision. In this situation we would strongly recommend that you seek independent legal advice. 

What happens when someone dies? 
When a tenant dies an assured tenancy normally passes to either the joint tenant, spouse or cohabiting partner. Family members cannot succeed to an assured tenancy unless the tenancy agreement specifically allows this. If the agreement does permit this, the family member must have been living at this property as their main or principal home for a minimum of 12 months. They would be known as the ‘successor’, and this process is called ‘succession’. 

Succession can only happen: 
  • Once in a tenancy, so if it is granted it cannot then be passed onto anyone else in the same way again. For instance, if a tenancy has already passed from one joint tenant to another, it cannot then be passed to another family member living in the same home.
  • If the claim is made within months of the death of the tenant. 
  • If the tenancy is passing to someone over 18 years, and 
  • is passing to someone we consider capable of maintaining the tenancy In some circumstances succession does not mean that the successor would be able to stay in that particular property.
For example: 
  • Where special adaptations have been made that are not needed by the successor 
  • Where the property had been provided for a tenant who needed to access support linked to the tenancy and the successor does not require that support. 
In such cases, we would work with the successor tenant to find suitable alternative accommodation - either from within our own stock or through another housing provider.

How we can end your tenancy 

If you break one or more of the terms of your tenancy agreement, we can apply to the court to end the tenancy. If you are an assured tenant, you will be issued with a ‘notice of seeking possession’. This could happen for a number of reasons (these are listed in the Housing Act 1988, amended by the Housing Act 1996). For example, where rent has not been paid. 

We will usually give you a minimum of two weeks’ notice that we are about to start legal proceedings. But in cases of nuisance or anti-social behaviour, court action may be started immediately after your ‘notice of seeking possession’. 

If you are an assured shorthold tenant, you will be issued with a section 21 notice which must give you two months notice to leave. At the end of the two months, we can apply to the court to end the tenancy. 

If we do give you notice, this will be in writing. From a legal point of view, it will be regarded as ‘served’ if handed to you personally, left at your home or posted to you by first class post. 

Please let us know if you would like any correspondence from us in alternative formats, such as large print, audio, other languages and so on. 

Lodgers 

Your tenancy agreement says you are not allowed to sub-let the whole of your home. But you may have a lodger or sub-let part of it with the Trust’s permission. You must tell us the lodger’s name, age and sex because it is our legal duty to make sure the property is not overcrowded. 

General information for tenancies 

If the property is not your main home, you will stop being an assured or an assured shorthold tenant. Different rules would then apply and you could be at risk of losing it. 

Access requirements 

We will not interfere with your right to peacefully occupy your home, except when we need to gain access to: 
  • Inspect the condition of the property
  • Carry out repairs or other essential work to your home or the property next to yours
  • Do the annual gas safety or other safety checks required as part of our legal obligations, or 
  • Where we have evidence to suggest you are carrying out a business from your home or are carrying out an illegal activity, such as drug dealing. 

Condition of the property 

You are expected to keep the living space in your home clean and habitable. Any garden or outbuildings should be in an acceptable condition. This means that we ask you not to unnecessarily store quantities of items in a way that could be a possible fire hazard or which make it difficult for us to do any maintenance or annual inspections. Car parks or outbuildings should not be used to store anything that may encourage vermin. When your tenancy ends, you are expected to return the property to us in a clean and tidy condition. 

Right to buy 

As a charity and specialist provider, we are not required to offer tenants the opportunity to buy their homes. This is because the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) regulations say that you cannot buy your home if it is specifically provided for disabled people. If you are interested in purchasing a property there are a range of low-cost home ownership schemes that are managed by local authorities and other housing organisations which may be of interest to you. Please complete our Contact Us form to obtain further advice about who to contact in your area. 

Pets 

We are normally quite happy for you to keep pets. But please ask permission before you get your pet, as there are some circumstances when it cannot be allowed. Please complete the Contact Us form requesting permission to your housing officer giving full details of the type of pet you wish to have. Please note that we do not allow cats or dogs in shared homes and do not allow dogs in flats. An exception to this is if you require an assistance dog, but again a flat may still not offer the best environment for the well being of the dog and we would look at whether alternative accommodation would be a better option. Permission for a pet may be withdrawn if you allow it to cause a nuisance or annoyance to others.