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4 Renting and Letting
4. Housing association tenancies
In recent years, many council homes have been transferred to housing associations. As well as housing associations, other bodies provide 'social housing', such as housing trusts and co-operatives. Those that are registered with the Housing Corporation (in England) or National Assembly for Wales are called 'registered social landlords' (RSLs). As with council or private landlords, there are different types of tenancy.
With other kinds of social housing provider, such as a trust or co-operative, you won't automatically have a secure tenancy.
There are also two special types of tenancy:
If you are unsure what type of tenancy you have, check your tenancy agreement or seek advice.
If you want to end the tenancy
Some fixed tenancies have a 'break clause', which allows you to leave before the fixed term expires. If you have a joint tenancy, and one tenant wants to leave, the legal situation can be complicated, and you should get advice.
If the landlord wants to end the tenancy
Instead of outright possession, the court may grant a suspended order, which is when you are allowed to stay in your home as long as you stick to certain conditions, such as paying off a certain amount of arrears each month or week or not causing a nuisance to neighbours.
More rarely, the court may grant an ‘adjournment on terms’, which is when the court delays the hearing as long as you pay the rent and a regular amount towards the arrears. But this can happen only in certain circumstances, and you would need expert advice to see if this would be possible for you.
If you have an assured or assured shorthold tenancy, your rights as a tenant are broadly the same as for a private tenant of the same type (see private tenancies). However, many housing associations give their tenants extra rights. If you have a secure tenancy, your rights are the same as for a secure council tenant.
For assured and assured shorthold tenancies, there is little legal control over rent levels. Your rights are the same as for the same types of tenancy with a private landlord (see 'Rent increases').
In many areas, housing association rents are lower than market rents and so can be difficult to challenge.
Responsibility for repairs
Most housing association tenants have more rights than private tenants, so you can take action to get repairs done without risking being evicted for doing this.
Buying your rented home
Other tenants may be able to buy through the 'right to acquire' scheme. This is similar to the right to buy, but discounts are usually lower and fewer properties qualify.
The housing association can give you information about the right to buy, the right to acquire and any other home-ownership schemes that may be available.
Complaining about your landlord
This leaflet is published by the Legal Services Commission (LSC). It was written in association with Shelter.
The leaflets are regularly updated but the law may have changed since they were printed so the information in them may be incorrect or out of date.
Leaflet version: November 2016
CLS Legal Info Leaflets
29 I am in arrears with my rent. What are my rights?
(Legal Information Leaflets)