You are likely to be an assured tenant if:
- you pay rent to a private landlord and
- you have control over your home so that your landlord and other people cannot come in whenever they want to and
- your landlord does not live in the same building as you (unless it’s a block of flats) and
- you moved in between 15th January 1989 and 27th February 1997 and your landlord did not give you a notice saying that you have an assured shorthold tenancy
The law gives you the same rights as an assured shorthold tenant (above) and the right to:
- challenge rent increases
- pass your tenancy to someone else in certain circumstances
If you are a fixed term tenant your landlord cannot increase the rent unless you agree to it.
If you are a periodic tenant your landlord can increase the rent if:
- you agree to the increase
- there is a procedure for increasing rent written in your tenancy agreement
- your landlord gives you written notice of the proposed rent increase
- your landlord gives you written notice to change the terms of your tenancy
If your landlord tries to increase the rent when it is not possible to do so and you don't agree to it, you cannot be evicted as long as you continue to pay the rent you did agree to. But if you start paying the increased rent the law assumes that you have agreed to the increase and you will have to continue paying it.
If your landlord gives you a notice to increase the rent and you don't agree to the rent increase you may be able to challenge it. It is sometimes possible to get the rent assessment committee to decide the amount of rent you should be charged.
Passing your tenancy on to someone else
If you pass your tenancy to someone else you will no longer have a legal right to live in your home. You can only pass on your assured tenancy to someone else in specific circumstances. These are:
- if you die (see below)
- if your tenancy agreement says you can pass on your tenancy
- if your landlord agrees to it
If you attempt to pass your tenancy to someone else under any other circumstances your landlord may be able to end your tenancy.
If an assured tenant dies it may be possible for the tenancy to be passed on to a spouse, civil partner or partner. This is known as succession and is only possible if the tenancy has not previously been passed on this way. It can only take place if the spouse, civil partner or partner was living in the property at the time of the tenant's death.
Assured tenants have more security in their home than assured shorthold tenants. The landlord can only evict you if the courts agree to grant possession. Before the court will make a possession order your landlord must have a reason (or 'ground') to evict you and must have followed the correct legal procedure.
Before going to court your landlord has to give you a written notice. The notice must be in a special form, say why your landlord wants to evict you and give the earliest date that court action can start. How much notice your landlord has to give depends on the reason(s) why you are being evicted. It can vary from 14 days to two months.
Your landlord can start court action to evict you at any time until exactly 12 months after the date of the notice. After that your landlord has to serve a new notice in order to be able to get a court order.
The reasons for eviction that landlords can use are set out by law. They are known as 'grounds for possession'. They are split into two groups, mandatory grounds and discretionary grounds.
Examples of mandatory grounds include:
- you are more than eight weeks' (or 2 months if you pay rent monthly) behind with the rent
- your landlord's mortgage lender is repossessing the property
- you were informed in advance that your landlord used to live in the property
- the property is being redeveloped
If your landlord is using a discretionary ground for possession the court can only make a possession order if it is reasonable to do so. Examples of discretionary grounds include:
- you have some rent arrears
- persistent delays in paying your rent
- you have broken your tenancy agreement
- you have caused nuisance or used the property for illegal activities
- you have allowed the condition of the property to deteriorate
You will be given the chance to provide information to the court to help the judge decide whether or not you should be evicted. You can send information to the court and/or go to a hearing. The court will take your circumstances (such as your health and income) into account when it decides whether it is reasonable for a possession order to be made. It may be possible to delay the possession order for up to six weeks if it is causing you exceptional hardship.
If you don't leave by the time a court order takes effect, the court can ask the bailiffs to physically remove you from the property.
If the landlord tries to get you to leave without following the correct procedure he may be guilty of an offence. See the harassment and illegal eviction page for more information.