AT WFHA, our tenants have three types of tenancy:
- permanent secure tenancies that started before 15 January 1989
- permanent assured tenancies from that date onwards, and
- temporary assured shorthold tenancies.
We also give all new tenants an assured shorthold tenancy for their first six months, before issuing an assured tenancy if all has gone well.
We occasionally also issue licence agreements.
We explain what these agreements mean below.
Secure tenancies were the norm before 15 January 1989.
As a secure tenant, your tenancy has no end date. We only have the right to end your tenancy early for a small number of reasons. However, we can also end it early if you fail to pay your rent or break the other rules in your tenancy agreement. In all of these cases, we would first have to go to court for permission to take back your home.
The main difference between secure and assured tenancies is that we set your rent differently. For secure tenancies, we have to apply to the Rent Officer to register a new fair rent every two years. You have the right to appeal the Rent Officer’s decision.
We can’t change any other condition of your tenancy without your written agreement – unless the Government changes the law.
Since 1989, we have issued assured tenancies.
As an assured tenant, your tenancy has no end date. We only have the right to end your tenancy early for a small number of reasons. However, we can also end it early if you fail to pay your rent or break the other rules in your tenancy agreement. In all of these cases, we would first have to go to court for permission to take back your home.
For assured tenancies, we set your rent following Government guidance.
We can’t change any other conditions of your tenancy without your written agreement – unless the Government changes the law.
Our assured shorthold tenancies don’t give you a permanent right to live in your home. They usually start out as six-month, fixed-term agreements. However, providing you keep to the agreement, you will normally be able to live there for a longer period.
We issue these tenancies when the aim of the scheme is to provide a temporary home, while you gain the confidence and skills to move on to more independent living in the future.
As a licensee, you have the right to occupy the property, but you are not a tenant, so we have more say over whether you stay or go.
We also have more flexibility when it comes to managing your accommodation. For example, if you live in a single room, we have the right to move you to another.
Key rights and responsibilities
Check some of your key rights and responsibilities below.
These are set out in full in your tenancy or licence agreement.
A joint tenancy is where more than one person signs the tenancy agreement.
As a joint tenant, you share responsibility for the tenancy. But you are all individually responsible for paying the rent and meeting the other terms and conditions.
Paying your rent or licence charge on time and in full is your most important responsibility. Your rent or licence charge is due a week in advance.
Your home is for you, or for you and your family. Your agreement states how many people can move in to the property at the start of the agreement. We will ask for everyone’s name.
If you are a secure or assured tenant living in our ordinary housing, you may be able to sub-let part of your home or take in a lodger, but you may not exceed the ‘permitted number’ of people. See our section on sub-letting below.
We will not usually give permission for a lodger if you live in sheltered housing.
Your home is for residential use only. You must not run a business there.
Before keeping any kind of pet, except a guide dog, you must ask for our permission in writing. Please be aware that we don’t allow tenants to keep dangerous dogs in communal schemes.
We can also take back our permission if you are not a responsible pet owner. For example, you must not let your dog foul communal areas or gardens.
It is illegal to move out and sub-let the whole of your home. If you do this, you are committing social housing fraud. We will take back your tenancy and you could be fined or even sent to prison.
If you have a secure or assured tenancy, you have the right to take in a lodger or sub-let part of your home. But you must get our written permission first and you must not overcrowd your home.
Be aware that when you charge a lodger rent, this can affect your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. You should check this out first.
If you have an assured shorthold tenancy or a licence agreement, you don’t have the right to move anyone else in to your home.
If you have a secure or assured tenancy agreement, you can make improvements to your home, providing you get our written permission first. You must keep to all planning and other regulations.
As a secure or assured tenant you have the right to make certain urgent repairs if we fail to meet a set timescale. This is a complicated piece of law, so you would need to call the office first, to find out more.
If a secure or assured tenant dies, in certain circumstances their home can pass to someone else.
You can succeed to a tenancy if you were the tenant’s spouse, civil partner or a live-in partner, providing you were living there when the tenant died.
For secure tenancies, you can also succeed to the tenancy if you were a member of the tenant’s family and had been living there for at least the past year.
WFHA’s assured tenancy agreements give a similar right to family members who have lived with the tenant for at least 12 months.
However, there are no automatic succession rights in any of these cases if the original tenancy was a joint tenancy – instead, the remaining tenant takes on the tenancy.
Also, there are no succession rights if the original tenant was a successor already. This is because a tenancy can only be inherited once.
In addition, different rules apply to sheltered housing and homes that would end up under-occupied.