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National Homeless Advice Service

Tenures, rights and responsibilities in the private rented sector

When advising young people with private tenancies, it is vital to know exactly what kind of tenancy they have.

Most private tenants have an assured shorthold tenancy but it is possible to have a different type of occupation status.

Young people should be made aware not just of their rights as tenants, but also of their responsibilities.

To find out what type of occupier a young person is, use the Shelter Housing Advice - tenancy rights checker.

Assured shorthold tenancies

An assured shorthold tenancy can be for a set period such as six months (this is known as a fixed-term tenancy), or for a week-to-week or month-to-month basis (this is known as a periodic tenancy).

For information about the rights of assured shorthold tenants, see Shelter Housing Advice - Assured shorthold tenancies

A landlord has to give correct notice and follow the proper procedure if they want to evict an assured shorthold tenant. This includes getting a court order if the tenant does not leave after being given notice.

A young person who is an assured shorthold tenant should seek advice immediately if they are threatened with eviction. It is especially important to get advice if the young person wants to apply to the council as homeless, because leaving without waiting for a court order to be enforced by the court bailiffs could result in the young person being found ‘intentionally homeless’.

Shelter Housing Advice - Eviction of assured shorthold tenants

Gov.uk - Top tips for assured shorthold tenancies

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If a young person shares parts of the accommodation, such as the kitchen, bathroom or living room, with the landlord, they will usually be a lodger, not an assured shorthold tenant. Lodgers are ‘excluded occupiers’. This means the landlord only has to give them ‘reasonable notice’ before evicting them. The landlord does not have to get a court order if the lodger refuses to leave.

For more information see Shelter Housing Advice - Lodgers

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Student accommodation

Students living in accommodation provided by an educational institution such as a university or college are likely to be occupiers with basic protection.

Shelter Housing Advice - Students in halls of residence

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Tenants’ responsibilities

Young tenants’ responsibilities are as follows:

  • not leaving their home for a lengthy period (for example because of a hospital stay or time spent in custody) without informing the landlord
  • paying rent on time - arrears can lead to eviction
  • paying bills
  • general upkeep of the home (but not larger repairs and maintenance- the landlord is responsible for these)
  • not acting in an anti-social manner - this can lead to eviction
  • giving the landlord the correct notice to properly end a tenancy- failure to do this could mean the young person owes extra money
  • allowing the landlord access when necessary, for example for repairs and maintenance. However, landlords are not allowed unreasonable access

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