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Different Types of Housing Tenancy in the UK

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 3 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
Housing Tenancy Tenancy Issues Tenants

There are several different types of housing tenancies. The protection from eviction enjoyed by tenants varies according to the type of tenancy.

Assured Shorthold Tenancies – Housing Act 1996

The majority of private housing tenancies created since 28 February 1997 are assured shorthold tenancies. This sort of tenancy has a fixed term, usually of 6 or 12 months.

A landlord is entitled to end the tenancy after the fixed term ends - regardless of whether there are any rent arrears. However, the landlord will need to obtain a court order before taking possession. Assured shorthold tenancies provide protection to both the landlord - who need not be stuck with a troublesome tenant - and the tenant - who cannot be evicted without a court order.

A tenancy created between 15 January 1989 and 28 February 1997 will only be an assured shorthold tenancy if the landlord served a notice on the tenant telling them that it was a shorthold tenancy.

Statutory Period Tenancies – Housing Act 1988

An assured shorthold tenancy does not automatically come to an end once the fixed term expires. If the landlord and tenant do not enter into a new tenancy agreement the tenant may remain in the property under what is known as a statutory periodic tenancy.

The tenant’s rights of occupation will be very similar to those under an assured shorthold tenancy. Slightly different provisions may apply if the landlord seeks a possession order.

Assured Tenancies - Housing Act 1988

Assured tenancies apply where a property was let to an individual as their home after 15 January 1989 but before 28 February 1997. Under such tenancies a landlord could not seek possession of the property unless he could prove that there were rent arrears or some other ground for possession.

The provisions and protections contained in the Housing Act 1988 do not apply to all types of tenancies. Tenants, or landlords, who fall into any of the categories listed below should take care to familiarise themselves with the relevant tenancy issues.

Housing Tenancies Created Before 1989

The rules relating to rent increases and eviction will be governed by the Rent Acts. Tenants cannot be evicted without a court order. Even where there are rent arrears the landlord has no absolute right to repossess the property.

Mixed Use Properties

Where a property has both a residential and a business use it will not be an assured shorthold tenancy.

Students’ Housing

If student accommodation is let by an educational establishment, the landlord may be able to evict a tenant after giving a month’s notice in writing and obtaining a court order.

If a private individual lets to students it will almost certainly be under an assured shorthold tenancy.

Lodgers - Landlords Sharing Housing with their Tenants

Where the landlord and tenant live in the same property the tenancy will not be an assured shorthold even if the landlord has converted the property into self-contained flats. The landlord will have to give the tenant reasonable notice if he wants him to leave.

A tenant has a greater level of protection from eviction if he has exclusive use of part of the property: the landlord will usually need a court order before evicting the tenant. Where accommodation is shared the landlord may be able to take possession as soon as the notice period has expired.

Local Authority Landlords

The property is likely to be occupied under a secure or assured tenancy, with the tenant having more rights and greater security than a private tenant. To qualify for this kind of accommodation people will have to apply to be on the local council’s housing allocation list.

Housing Associations use a variety of different tenancy agreements depending on the individual circumstances.

Crown Tenancies

Where the landlord is the Crown or a government department, a Crown tenancy is created. Tenants have little security of tenure and can be evicted if the landlord gives a month’s written notice and obtains a court order.

Housing for the Homeless

Tenants of housing provided for the homeless, and of some types of hostels and bed and breakfast accommodation, have very few rights of occupation.

Housing Provided by an Employer

If accommodation has been provided as a term of employment the right to occupy the premises is likely to lapse if the employment is terminated. Depending on the individual circumstances the employer/landlord may have to obtain a court order before the employee/tenant can be evicted.

Tenancies at a High Rent

The Housing Act 1988 will not apply if the total annual rent payable is more than £25,000. The landlord can usually seek a possession order after giving the tenant a month’s written notice to leave the property.

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