What is an assured tenancy?
The Housing Act 1988 (the “HA 1988”) introduced assured tenancies. Assured, and assured shorthold, tenancies are currently the standard tenancies in the private rented sector. An assured tenancy that is granted on or after 28 February 1997 shall be an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (“AST”) except where the landlord has served a notice on the tenant declaring that it is not going to be an AST. An AST granted on or after this date can either be periodic or for a fixed period.
An assured tenancy is granted where;
- a house is let as a separate dwelling,
- the tenant, or each of the joint tenants, is an individual
- the tenant or at least one of the joint tenants occupies the dwelling as their only or principal home
- the tenancy is not one that could not be an assured tenancy (see Schedule 1 of the HA 1988).
Schedule 1 includes tenancies granted by certain landlords, for example local authorities (except Welsh fully mutual housing associations) and a tenancy entered into before 15 January 1989 or pursuant to a contract made before this date.
In general, assured tenants have security of tenure, certain rights of succession and certain rights to assign their tenancies.
Assured tenancies are principally granted by registered social landlords (RSLs) (registered under Part 1 of the Housing Act 1996 (see section C1A)).
The tenancy will be a protected tenancy where it is entered into pursuant to a contract made before 15 January 1989 or if it is granted to a person (alone or jointly) who, immediately before the tenancy was granted, was a protected or statutory tenant and is granted by the person who at the time was the landlord (or one of the joint landlords) under the protected or statutory tenancy (see Section 34 of the HA 1988).
How can a landlord bring an assured tenancy to an end?
Fixed term assured tenancy
Except where a landlord can demonstrate grounds for possession in schedule 2 of the HA 1988, a tenant has the right to stay in the property at the end of the fixed term assured tenancy.
The landlord can only bring a fixed term assured tenancy to an end during the term by:
- obtaining and executing a possession order from the court on certain specified grounds (see Section 7(6) of, and Schedule 2 to, the HA 1988;
- obtaining a demotion order (see Section 6A of the HA 1988);
- in the case of a fixed term tenancy which contains power for the landlord to determine the tenancy in certain circumstances (for example a break clause), the exercise of that power.
On the termination of a fixed term tenancy in this way, the tenancy becomes a statutory periodic tenancy and a court order is still required to recover possession (see section 5(2) of the HA 1988).
Periodic assured tenancy
In relation to a periodic assured tenancy, a notice to quit served by the landlord is of no effect.
The grounds on which a landlord of a periodic assured tenancy can apply to the court to obtain an order for possession are set out in Schedule 2 to HA 1988 (see Section 5(1)(a) of the HA 1988).
Part 1 of Schedule 2 lists the grounds on which the Court must order possession if it is satisfied that the ground has been established, subject to any available defence of the tenant based on their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights. Part 2 of Schedule 2 lists the grounds under which the Court may order possession if it considers it reasonable to do so.
Section 7 of the HA 1988 deals with orders for possession. There are also notice requirements and procedures that need to be followed by a landlord in seeking possession, see sections 8 and 8A of HA 1988. However, note the impact of the Coronavirus Act 2020 the Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (No. 2) (Wales) Regulations 2021, SI 2021/708 which came into force on 30 June 2021.
What effect will the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 have on assured tenancies
The law in relation to tenancies is due to change once the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 is brought fully into force. See: Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016.