Fixed-term tenancies explained
Learn more about fixed-term tenancies, including your rights and how to request a repair or end a tenancy.
For our family-sized homes we offer many of our tenants fixed-term tenancies that last for an agreed number of years. If you’re a new social housing tenant, you’ll usually be offered a six-year fixed-term tenancy, with a probationary period of up to 18 months.
Sometimes we offer shorter fixed-term tenancies, for example when a property is due for regeneration. These tenancies are for not less than two years.
Your fixed-term tenancy agreement explains your legal rights and responsibilities as a tenant. You should read these carefully so you’re aware of them all.
You’ll receive a copy of the agreement when you sign up for your tenancy. As it’s a legal document, be sure to keep it safe in case you need it in the future. For example, if you need to claim welfare benefits for help with paying rent.
If you have any questions about your tenancy, or would like to request a new copy of your tenancy agreement, contact us.
Your probationary period
Your tenancy will be reviewed after 12 months and your probationary period will only need to continue to 18 months if you’ve breached any of your tenancy’s terms and conditions. After your probationary period, your tenancy will continue for the remainder of the six years, with your rent being reviewed each year.
If there have been problems during your probationary period (such as rent arrears, irregular payments, or antisocial behaviour), you may be issued with a notice ending your tenancy. If you disagree with this decision, you have the right to appeal.
Rights and responsibilities
Although the property is owned by us, it’s your home and you have the right to live in it without interruption from us, as long as you keep to the terms of your tenancy agreement. We don’t have spare keys to your home and won’t enter the property without permission – unless it’s an emergency such as a gas leak or major water leak.
We’ll send you an appointment letter if we need access to your home, for example to service your gas boiler or carry out electrical safety checks. You’re required to let us in if we’ve given you notice.
After your probationary year, your tenancy agreement may give you additional rights. However, you’ll need to get confirmation in writing from us that any changes are suitable, safe, and right for you. You should check your specific tenancy agreement, but you may be able to:
- move to another property through House Exchange, our home swapping service
- take in a lodger if you have enough space
- keep pets
- make home improvements.
There are also things you agree to as part of your tenancy agreement, such as:
- paying your rent and service charges on time
- treating your neighbours with consideration and respect
- keeping your home clean and maintained, and reporting any repairs to us immediately
- keeping any trees and hedges in your garden trimmed so they don’t block windows, doors or footpaths.
We’re responsible for the structure of your property, communal areas, and any fixtures and fittings we supplied. For example, we’ll look after:
- bathroom fixtures such as sinks, baths, and toilets
- communal areas such as entrances or lifts
- roofs, gutters, and drains
- keeping your home secure and weatherproof
- fences or garden walls that border public footpaths or highways.
Defects in a new-build home
We’re also responsible for repairing any defects or “snags” if you're a social housing tenant living in a new-build home, such as doors that stick or don’t close properly.
What you're responsible for...
You’re responsible for interior decoration, looking after your garden, and maintaining any goods you bring into your home. This means you have to look after things such as:
- kitchen appliances like fridges and freezers
- door handles and locks
- blocked sinks
- anything damaged by you, your family, or your guests
- fences or garden walls that don’t border public footpaths or highways.
If necessary, you can choose someone else to make decisions for you when it comes to your home and tenancy. This is called a nominated representative and they can be a joint tenant living in the same home, or someone else such as a family member.
Please use our simple online form to add someone as a nominated representative.
The end of your tenancy period
At the end of your fixed-term tenancy, you’ll usually be offered another tenancy, unless your circumstances have changed significantly. This will be decided at least six months before your agreement is due to end.
When agreeing a new tenancy, we’ll make sure your home is still suitable for you and your family. For example, you may have more children, or your children may have grown up and left home. We’ll also look at changes to your income and whether you have specific needs, such as home aids and adaptations.
If there have been problems with your tenancy (such as rent arrears or antisocial behaviour), you may be issued with a notice ending your tenancy. If you disagree with this decision, you have the right to appeal.
Decants: moving in to temporary accommodation
Sometimes because of a serious event or repair we need to move tenants into temporary accommodation while we fix the homes. This is normally because of something like a fire, flood, or major unplanned repair. This move is often referred to as a “decant”.
Sometimes the move is for a short period and sometimes it's for longer, it all depends on the work needed.
If you do have to move out however, it’s because your home is unsafe and we’ll need to make sure that everything is safe again before you can move back in.
Moving out in these situations can be difficult, but we’ll minimise your disruption and keep you regularly updated throughout.