What is a fixed-term tenancy? | Who is offered a fixed term tenancy? | Your rights and responsibilities as a fixed-term tenant | Responsibilities and obligations | Sorting out problems | Moving out before your tenancy ends | End of fixed-term tenancy reviews | Appeals
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.
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.
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.
As fixed-term tenant you have a number of important rights which are all set out in your tenancy agreement.
You will be expected to meet the responsibilities and obligations set out in your tenancy, which include but are not limited to:
- Paying your rent and other charges
- Occupy your home as your only and principal home
- Reporting repairs which are our responsibility and carrying out repairs which are your responsibility
- Letting us know when your circumstances change for instance your family size or your income
- Giving us, our agents and contractors access when required for repairs or safety checks, including in emergencies
- Engaging with us in managing your tenancy
- Requesting help when you need it and letting us know if you are experiencing any problems
- Ensuring you, your household and visitors do not cause a nuisance or annoyance to others in the neighbourhood.
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.
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.
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.
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.