Housing Association Contracts
Housing association contracts can differ from other landlord and tenant contracts mainly due to the type of tenancies that are offered. Housing associations will have standard contracts for their tenants but different tenant rights may apply depending on the type of tenancy offered.
The Housing Association ProcessThe first step in gaining a housing association tenancy will be to apply to the association. As there is usually a waiting list for housing association properties they will usually allocate the properties by a points system. The more points that the prospective tenant has the quicker they will move up the waiting list. Points are given for a variety of reasons such as overcrowding in present accommodation or homelessness.
Housing Association ContractsThe usual process with housing association tenancies is that once the application is filled and processed, and if a property is to become available soon, a representative will visit the prospective tenant. The housing representative will check that the facts listed on the application are correct and may make it known whether or not there will be a long wait for a property.
The representative may ask the tenant to fill in a housing association contract if they think a property will be available soon. By doing this the representative can then show the prospective tenant various properties as they become available. However, different housing associations may have different rules, and some will not fill in any contract details until a property has been viewed and accepted.
Terms and ConditionsHousing association contracts are usually standard forms that are applicable to all tenants. There will be differences in the tenancy types and the rental prices, and there may be differences in the right to buy the property. Standard details in housing association contracts will include:
- The name and address of the housing association and the tenants name.
- The address of the property that has been offered and accepted.
- Rental price and frequency of payments.
- Type of tenancy.
- Rights and obligations of both the housing association and the tenant.
- Details of any right to buy scheme.
- Details of eviction rights and notice to quit the property information.
Tenant's RightsHousing associations do have different forms of tenancies from the more standard landlord and tenant contracts. The rights of the tenant may differ depending on the type of contract. All tenants that sign a housing association contract should be permitted to read the contract and the tenant's handbook. The tenant's handbook will go into greater detail on the requirements, expectations, and rights regarding the type of tenancy that is being offered.
Types of TenancyIn most cases there will be three main forms of tenancy, and the housing association contract will detail which tenancy is being offered. A secure tenancy will be one where the tenant has lived in a housing association property for over a year. Secure tenants have a great number of rights and it is very difficult for a secure tenant to be evicted from a property. In all cases a secure tenant can usually only be evicted once a court order has been granted.
Unsecured and Introductory TenantsUnsecured tenants have fewer rights than secure tenants. For example they will not be able to pass their property onto anyone else and they will be unable to buy the property they are living in. An introductory tenant is one that has lived in the housing association property for less than a year.
Introductory tenants will have fewer rights than secured or unsecured tenants. The housing association can evict an introductory tenant without any proof of possession. However, a court must grant a housing association possession order for the eviction to happen. An introductory tenant will become a secure tenant after a year has passed and no eviction processes have been started.
Different housing associations may have their own tenancy agreements but this does not mean that the tenant does not have statutory rights that are set down by law. A prospective tenant should always read the terms and conditions of any housing association contract before signing. If any of the terms and conditions are unclear or ambiguous then they should be clarified before any contract is concluded.