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Fixed-term tenancy

What is a fixed-term tenancy?Who is offered a fixed term tenancy?Your rights and responsibilities as a fixed-term tenantResponsibilities and obligationsSorting out problemsMoving out before your tenancy endsEnd of fixed-term tenancy reviewsAppeals

Your fixed-term tenancy agreement is very important as it sets out your legal rights and responsibilities as the tenant and ours as the landlord.

Your fixed-term tenancy agreement is a legal document and you should keep it in a safe place.

What is a fixed-term tenancy?

If you’ve successfully completed your starter tenancy with us, you may receive a fixed-term tenancy. This is also known as an assured short-hold tenancy and is intended to last for a fixed period of time. We normally issue five year fixed-term tenancies, but may issue two year fixed-term tenancies in some circumstances. Fixed-term tenancies are different from the ‘lifetime’ tenancies, which have no set end date.

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Who is offered a fixed term tenancy?

In most circumstances all new tenants will be offered a five-year fixed-term tenancy following the satisfactory completion of a one year starter tenancy.

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Your rights and responsibilities as a fixed-term tenant 

As fixed-term tenant you have a number of important rights which are all set out in your tenancy agreement.

  • Mutual exchange

    You may have the right to swap your home with another Hyde tenant or with a tenant of another housing association or council. It can be a good option if you want to move but do not want to spend time on a waiting list.

    If you want to go ahead with a swap, you must contact us for our permission. If you wish to swap with another housing association or council tenant, they must also get written permission from their landlord.

  • Joint tenancy

    We will normally agree a joint tenancy when we issue a new fixed-term tenancy for:

    • Married or civil partners
    • Other established couples, including same sex couples, who can prove they have been living together for at least nine months.

    If you and your partner have a joint starter tenancy with us you can have a joint fixed-term tenancy as well.

    Both tenants must sign the fixed-term tenancy agreement at the tenancy sign up as we will not allow joint fixed-term tenancies to be created during the fixed-term period.

    If your starter tenancy wasn’t a joint tenancy, you can create a joint fixed-term tenancy at the fixed-term tenancy sign-up if you are married or in a civil partnership or if you have been living in the property with your partner for at least nine months. 

    If you want to end your joint fixed-term tenancy, both joint tenants will need to agree this in writing, including who will keep the tenancy in their sole name.

    If there are no tenancy breaches or rent arrears, we will normally agree to this.

  • Lodgers

    You have the right to take in a lodger. A lodger is a person who lives in part of the home. They would usually share some rooms with you (eg the kitchen, living room and bathroom) for an agreed payment of a weekly or monthly charge.

    You need our permission if you’re thinking of taking on a lodger. We will not refuse permission unreasonably. We can provide guidance about the important things to think about first. Remember, it is illegal to sub-let the whole of your home and could result in you losing your tenancy.

  • Passing on your tenancy

    It may be possible for someone to take over your tenancy when you die. This is called succession. If there is a joint tenancy, the remaining tenant will inherit the tenancy. If there is no joint tenancy, the tenancy passes to your spouse, civil partner or co-habiting partner (including same sex partner) who was living with you at the time of death.

    In some circumstances where there is no partner, we may permit a family member or vulnerable household member to succeed.

    You also have the right to transfer your tenancy to someone who would be entitled to succeed. This is called an assignment. You must get our written permission to do this and you must be prepared to give up your right to be re-housed by us.

    When someone takes on your tenancy by succession or assignment, they will take it on for the remainder of time left on it. After this, we will check that they still need the property before we decide whether to offer them a new fixed-term tenancy or not.

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Responsibilities and obligations

You will be expected to meet the responsibilities and obligations set out in your tenancy, which include but are not limited to:

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Sorting out problems

It is really important that you let us know if you are having problems with your tenancy as soon as possible so we can try to help you sort out the problem or get the right help. Sometimes this may involve making referrals to other organisations that are better able to help and support you.

If you have broken the terms of your tenancy agreement, we will contact you to discuss the problem and what you must do to put things right. But if there is a serious breach of your tenancy, we may take immediate legal action to end your tenancy.

We may take action to end the tenancy by applying for a possession order under the Housing Act 1988 (as amended). Some of the reasons why we would take possession action include, but are not limited to:  

  • serious antisocial behaviour, criminal activity or harassment
  • non-payment of rent or other charges
  • fraudulently obtaining the home
  • abandoning or subletting the home
  • causing or allowing damage to the home
  • failure to allow access for important safety checks.
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Moving out before your tenancy ends

If you want to leave the property before your fixed-term tenancy ends, you must let us know in writing. If you have a joint tenancy then you both must agree and sign the letter informing us that you wish to leave.

In most cases, we will agree to you leaving if you give four weeks’ notice, have a clear rent account and leave the property (and garden) in a good condition. If you are thinking about moving out before your tenancy ends, you need to get in touch with us.

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End of fixed-term tenancy reviews

We will contact you to arrange a meeting around nine months before your fixed-term tenancy is due to end. We will look at your current circumstances to see if you still need your home and review your tenancy history with us. We will consider:

  • Whether you are under-occupying the property (ie it is bigger than what you need)
  • Adaptations to property that are no longer required
  • Change of circumstances so that the property is no longer suitable for you
  • Household income is sufficient to pay a higher rent for their existing property, rent privately or purchase a property
  • If the new Affordable Rent charge remains affordable following an affordability assessment (ART properties only).

We will also consider whether you have breached your tenancy agreement, if rent arrears have built up or if there have been complaints of antisocial behaviour or nuisance.

If you meet our requirements for a new tenancy, we will offer you a new fixed-term tenancy. You will need to sign a new tenancy agreement.

If you are not offered a fixed-term tenancy, we will give you at least six months' notice and explain the reasons. We will also offer you support and advice to find alternative housing.

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Appeals

You have the right to appeal our decision if we decide not to grant you a new tenancy. You can also appeal against the type of tenancy we offered and the length of any fixed-term tenancy.

You must lodge your appeal in writing within 28 days of being informed of the decision. The appeal will be heard by a Review Panel which will consist of staff who have not been involved in the decision making. The Review Panel will consider the following.

  • If the Notice has been served correctly.
  • Whether the action (to serve the notice and end the tenancy) is appropriate.
  • If the decision to terminate the tenancy has been taken fairly

You will be informed of the outcome in writing and you will have no further right of appeal.

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