A guide to types of tenancies

by The Gateshead Housing Company & filed under Help in your home - your Tenancy Agreement.

Introductory tenancy

Before any new tenants of the company can become permanent they must first have a 12-month period as an introductory tenant.

During this time we will make sure you act responsibly and follow the conditions of the Tenancy Agreement.

If there are no problems during the 12 months an introductory tenant automatically becomes a secure tenant.

Existing tenants who transfer or mutual exchanges between secure tenants will retain their secure tenancy.

Difference between introductory tenants and secure tenants

As an introductory tenant you cannot:

  • Apply for the right to buy your home. However, the period of introductory tenancy may count for future discount purposes
  • Vote for a change to a new landlord
  • Sublet part of your home
  • Exchange your home with another tenant
  • Carry out improvements to your home
  • Claim compensation for improvement
  • Take in lodgers.

Rights of introductory tenants

  • Right to succession
  • Right to repair
  • Right to be consulted on housing-management issues
  • Right to be told about introductory tenancies and our duties to repair
  • Right to be consulted on housing matters and kept up to date about any changes that affect introductory tenancies
  • Right to, in certain circumstances, move to another Gateshead-Council-owned property, if there is a good management reason for doing so. In these cases the new tenancy would also be an introductory tenancy. But the previous tenancy would count towards the 12-month period.

Responsibilities of an introductory tenant

  • Pay the weekly rent
  • Keep the property clean and decorated
  • Respect your neighbours and not cause a nuisance
  • Make sure that anyone living at, or visiting the property, does not cause a nuisance
  • Not cause overcrowding
  • Keep the garden in a neat and tidy condition
  • Allow access to your home for inspections and repairs
  • Give us four weeks’ notice to end the introductory tenancy.

If an introductory tenant breaks the Tenancy Agreement

If you break the Tenancy Agreement, a housing officer will visit you to discuss the matter and try to sort out any difficulties.

If these issues are not resolved, we may issue a notice of termination.

This will tell the tenant that we will be asking the County Court for an immediate possession order.

The introductory tenant will have the right to ask us to review our decision to end the tenancy. We will include a form to ask for a review with the notice of termination.

Extending an introductory tenancy

An introductory tenancy can be extended for a further six months if the tenant has caused antisocial behaviour.

To do this we will give you a legal notice, eight weeks before your tenancy is due to become secure.

You can ask for our decision to be reviewed and we will give you details on how to do this.

Secure tenancy

A secure tenancy is granted to existing tenants who have completed an introductory tenancy, or tenants who are transferring from another social housing provider.

You may also be given a secure tenancy if you are entitled to succeed or assign the tenancy.

Rights of secure tenants

Right to Succession
If you are the only tenant when you die there are certain rules about who the tenancy can be passed on to.

The legal process is called Succession and can only happen once. Your tenancy may be passed on to your husband, wife or civil partner, if they lived with you in the property at the time of your death.

If you do not have a spouse or partner, your relative may be able to take over the tenancy, providing they lived with you for the past twelve months.

Right to Repair
The Right to Repair is a scheme for tenants that makes sure certain small urgent repairs, which might affect your health, safety or security, are done quickly and easily.

Your housing office can give you more details about qualifying repairs, how long it has to carry them out, and how the compensation scheme works.

Right to Assignment
An Assignment allows secure tenants to give their tenancy to someone else. Tenants can assign their tenancy to any person who would be eligible to take on the tenancy by succession. This includes couples who aren’t married or registered as civil partners.

Right to Buy
You may have the right to buy your home if you have held a secure tenancy for five years and the property is your only home.

Right to take in lodgers or sublet your home
You have the right to take in a lodger and may be able to sublet part of your home. Written permission must be granted from us and we may refuse your request in certain circumstances.

Right to improve your home
You have the right to make improvements to your home, but you must get written permission from us first. Even if we give our written permission, you may still need planning permission and must meet building regulations. We may withdraw our permission if a nuisance is caused.

Right to transfer or exchange your home
You can request to transfer to another property managed by us or another housing association. You may also swap homes by mutual exchange with another tenant, possibly from other areas outside of Gateshead.

You must have written permission from us before you exchange.

Right to be involved in the management of your home
The Gateshead Housing Company and Gateshead Council have to consult with you about decisions that affect you.

We will take your views into account when we make decisions about how your home is managed.

This will include decisions about whether your building or estate, or all Gateshead Council properties in your area, should be sold to a housing association.

If a secure tenant breaks the Tenancy Agreement

You can stay in your home as long as you wish, providing we have not demoted your tenancy or started legal proceedings to evict you.

Demoted tenancy

If we demote your tenancy this will limit your rights and provide less protection from eviction.

We would have to apply to court to demote your tenancy. We could do this if you:

  • Behave antisocially
  • Cause a nuisance
  • Threaten others
  • Use your home for illegal purposes.

A demotion of tenancy usually lasts for one year, unless we start legal proceedings against you.

If you do not breach your tenancy within the 12-month demoted period you should automatically become a secure tenant again after this period.

Eviction

To evict you we must obtain a court order.

The most common reasons for eviction are:

  • Not paying your rent
  • Causing antisocial behaviour
  • Using the property for illegal activities
  • Moving out of the property without telling us.

Tenants of Keelman Homes or The Gateshead Housing Company

Tenants will be offered an assured shorthold tenancy or assured tenancy if they accept a home owned by Keelman Homes or The Gateshead Housing Company.

Assured shorthold tenancies

They will be offered for a minimum of six months and become an assured tenancy after 12 months, providing there has been no breach of tenancy.

There are no grounds or requirement of reasonableness required to end a tenancy and can be ended by notice and possession order.

Assured tenancies

These tenancies have security of tenure and are similar to secure tenancies.

They must be ended by notice and possession order and a court must find it reasonable to make the order. Some tenants have the Right to acquire (similar to Right to Buy) the property.

Want to know more?

Ask at your nearest housing office for more information.