- A secure occupation contract is a renting agreement with a community landlord
- A secure contract is usually a periodic contract, which means it runs from one rental period to the next.
- Secure contract-holders have strong rights against being evicted
If you moved into your home before 1 December 2022 the information below does not apply to you. Please visit our converted contracts advice section.
This page explains your rights if you have a secure occupation contract with a community landlord. It covers the rights you have to live in your home without being disturbed and to get repairs done. It also explains how you can end your contract and when your landlord can evict you.
Do I have a secure contract?
A secure contract is the main type of renting agreement given by community landlords. However, there are some situations where you might have a different type of occupation contract with a community landlord. For example, if:
- your contract started less than a year ago, you have an introductory standard contract.
- you live in temporary or emergency accommodation because of a homelessness application
- you had a secure contract but the court has made an order changing it to a prohibited conduct standard contract because of antisocial behaviour.
- you work for the council or a housing association and your home comes with your job
- you live in supported accommodation
What information should I be given at the start of my contract?
Your landlord must give you a written contract within 14 days of your contract starting. The contract will explain your rights and responsibilities and must also contain certain information. If your landlord doesn’t give you the written contract or the information in it is wrong, find out what you can do here.
You should also be given:
- a contact address for your landlord
- a copy of the annual gas safety check dated within the last year
- an electrical installation condition report dated within the last 5 years
- an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) dated within the last 10 years
Can I be evicted?
Your landlord can only evict you by following the correct procedure and getting a court order. They have to give you written notice, and prove a legal reason why you should be evicted before they can get a court order. The most common reasons for eviction include:
- not paying the rent
- engaging in antisocial behaviour (your landlord could also apply to the court to give you a prohibited conduct standard contract in this case)
Find out more information by reading our advice about eviction of secure contract-holders.
What are the rules on rent and rent increases?
Read your contract to see what it says about how the rent should be paid. You must pay the rent that you agreed with your landlord. If you don’t pay your rent your landlord can take court action to evict you.
Your landlord will give you rent statements from time to time, showing how much rent was due and how much rent was paid.
If your landlord wants to increase your rent they have to give you 2 months’ written notice on a RHW12 form. They can only increase your rent once a year.
Your rent should always be your top financial priority as you could lose your home if you get into rent arrears. If you have a low income, you may be able to claim housing benefit or Universal Credit housing costs to help with the rent.
Can my landlord change the contract?
If you have a secure contract your landlord can make changes to:
Your landlord can change a supplementary or additional term by giving you at least 1 months’ notice in writing. Before giving this notice, your landlord should write to you informing you that they intend to change a term of your contract. They should tell you how the change is likely to affect you and give you the opportunity to give your views.
Your landlord should give you a ‘written statement of variation’ within 14 days of the term changing. They may choose to give you the full written occupation contract again, including the changed term. If your landlord does not provide either of these, find out what you can do here.
Who is responsible for repairs?
- problems with the roof, guttering, windows, doors and brickwork
- plumbing, gas and electricity.
Your landlord should give you information about what repairs you are responsible for, which usually includes internal decoration and putting right any damage you cause.
If your home needs repairs, report the problem to your landlord straight away. They should have a 24-hour service for emergencies and proper procedures for carrying out any work involved.
Find out more about repairs if you have a community landlord here.
Your right to live in your home without interference
You have the right to live in your home without interference from the landlord or anyone acting on their behalf. If your landlord tries to do this s/he may be guilty of harassment, which is against the law. To find out more about what you can do if your landlord is harassing you, read our advice about harassment and illegal eviction.
Can I take in lodgers?
As a secure contract-holder, you have the right to take in a lodger. This is a fundamental term and can only be taken out of your contract or changed if you agree and it improves your position. Check your contract if you are unsure.
If you are thinking about renting out a room in your home it is a good idea to speak to your landlord first. There are some important things to think about before taking in a lodger. It might affect your income if you are claiming housing benefit or universal credit housing costs. You will need to know what kind of agreement to make with anyone you rent a room to.
You probably won’t be able to sublet all or part of your home to a sub-holder unless you get your landlord’s permission. Find out about the difference between a lodger and a sub-holder here.
Can I transfer my contract to someone else?
Your contract should give you the right to transfer your contract to someone else, but only if they would have the right to take over the contract if you died. This is a fundamental term of secure contracts but can only be done with the landlord’s consent.
Can someone else take over my contract when I die?
As a secure contract-holder, your contract can only be passed on to a person that is qualified to succeed you. The legal process for passing your contract on when you die is called ‘succession’.Read more about succession here.
Can I move to another community landlord home?
It may be possible to get a transfer to another property owned by a community landlord. Most councils have a waiting list for tenants who want a transfer and can give you information about the rules.
You are more likely to be offered a transfer if your home isn’t suitable for you. Even if this is the case, you may have to wait a long time for somewhere suitable.
You could ask your current landlord if they could transfer you to another one of their properties. Their policies might allow for this, or they could advise you to apply to the council’s community landlord waiting list.
Find out more about waiting list transfers here.
Can I swap my home with another secure contract-holder?
You can swap your home with another secure contract–holder in Wales as long as they have a community landlord. THis is often referred to as ‘mutual exchange’ or a ‘homeswap’, and is a fundamental term of your secure contract. This means that this term can only be taken out of your contract or changed if you agree and doing so improves your position.
You will need your landlord’s consent to swap your home in this way, but your landlord can only refuse to give consent if there is a good reason. The law states what your landlord can take into account.
The swap must be arranged properly and the contract-holder or tenant you are swapping with will also need consent from their landlord. If you go ahead and swap without both landlord’s permission, you could both lose your homes.
Find out more about transferring with another secure contract-holder here.
You may be able to swap your home with a secure or assured tenant from elsewhere in the U.K. Get help if you are unsure.
How can I end a secure contract?
If you want to end your secure contract and leave your home you should give the landlord the correct notice in writing. The minimum length of notice you should give your landlord is 4 weeks. Find out more about ending an occupation contract here.
What if I have a complaint?
If you feel that your community landlord isn’t treating you fairly or has failed to fulfil its responsibilities, you can complain using their official complaints procedure. If you’re not happy with the response, you can complain further to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.