Fixed Term Tenancies

What is a fixed term tenancy?

A fixed term tenancy is offered for a fixed period of time rather than a lifelong tenancy. It is legally known as an assured shorthold fixed term tenancy.

Aragon gives all new tenants a starter tenancy. This usually lasts for 12 months and will convert to a five year fixed term tenancy at the end of the period if you have conducted your tenancy satisfactorily.  Your tenancy agreement explains what rights and responsibilities you have. You should read it carefully before signing it.

During the fixed term period Aragon will not be able to bring the tenancy to an end unless you have breached the terms of the tenancy agreement.

Who is offered a fixed term tenancy?

From April 2013 if you’re a new Aragon tenant you will be offered a fixed term tenancy unless:

  • you currently have an assured or secure tenancy with a housing association or council, which are often called lifetime tenancies. If that is the case you will be offered a new assured tenancy.
  • you are moving into a sheltered/retirement property.
  • you are moving into a property designated for tenants aged 50 years or over.
  • you are moving into a property designated for letting to applicants with a local connection to the village.

Can I appeal against a decision to grant a fixed term tenancy?

Yes. An appeal must be made within 28 days of the date of the offer of tenancy. The Head of Housing & Communities will consider relevant information you have provided and decide if the tenancy has been offered in accordance with Aragon’s policy. If you would like to see a copy of the tenancy policy please contact our customer services team on 0300 123 5544.

You will be notified in writing of the decision within 28 days of the Association receiving your appeal. Before the outcome of your appeal is decided it is likely the property will be ready to let and you will need to accept the offer and start the tenancy. You are unable to delay your tenancy start date until your appeal outcome is known.

What rights and responsibilities does a fixed term tenant have?

Fixed term tenants have similar rights and responsibilities to an assured or secure tenant. The main differences are a fixed term tenant does not have the right to buy, and the right to take on a tenancy following the death of a fixed term tenant is restricted to the tenant’s spouse or civil partner.

Can a fixed term tenant become an assured or secure tenant?

Not with Aragon Housing Association.

What happens at the end of the five year fixed term?

Aragon will review your circumstances at least 12 months before the tenancy is due to end and will conduct a further review seven months before. We will look at:

  • your tenancy record, for example rent payment, antisocial behaviour or other serious breaches of tenancy.
  • if you are under-occupying or overcrowding if the property has been adapted, for example for a disabled person, and no one in your household needs the adaptations.
  • if there has been a substantial improvement in your household’s financial circumstances. A financial assessment will determine whether you can afford to pay an affordable rent, or whether you can afford alternative accommodation such as private renting, shared ownership or outright purchase.
  • if you are not engaging with us in the review process.

When reviewing this we will take into consideration the following:

  • if a move would occur during the year a child in your household is due to sit their GCSEs, A-levels, or an equivalent form of examination.
  • if a move would require a child in your household to change schools (unless it suits them to do so).
  • where someone in your household has specific needs and a move would mean they are unable to access support networks and services which they rely upon.
  • where someone in your household is in work or training and a move would make it difficult for them to travel to it.

How will I know the outcome of the review?

Aragon will write to you six months before your tenancy is due to end. Our decision is likely to be one of the following:

  • you are granted another fixed term tenancy of the property.
  • you need to move to another housing association or council property which is more suited to your housing need. We will offer you advice and support to help you move if this is the case.
  • you need to move to alternative accommodation, for example private rented, shared ownership or outright purchase. We will advise you about who to contact about your housing options.

If you need to move, Aragon will then give you two months’ notice seeking possession, under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.

Can you appeal against a decision that says you cannot stay in the property?

Yes.

An appeal must be made within 28 days of the date of the six month review letter. The Head of Housing & Communities will consider relevant information and evidence provided by you, the tenancy review form and decision to end the tenancy. You will be notified in writing of the decision and the reasons for the decision within 28 days of the association receiving your appeal.

Can I end my tenancy before the end of the fixed term?

Yes.

You can give four weeks’ written notice (expiring on a Monday). You must sign and date it.

Can Aragon end the tenancy before the end of the fixed term?

Yes.

If you break any of the tenancy conditions we can apply to the court for a possession order.

Need more help or information?

We offer many different support services to help new and existing tenants to manage their homes and tenancy successfully for example advice about your tenancy agreement, money management, benefits advice and accessing other services. Because of demand there can sometimes be a wait for these services. If you would like further information about any of these services please contact our Customer Services Team.

If you ever need advice about a tenancy, you can seek independent advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau, law centre or a solicitor.

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