Supported accommodation – licences and common law tenancies
- If you receive support as part of living in your home you might live in supported accommodation
- When you first move into supported accommodation, you will probably have a licence or common law tenancy for the first 6 months
- You can usually be evicted quite easily if you have a licence or common law tenancy
This page explains your rights if you have a licence or common law tenancy in supported accommodation. It does not explain your rights and responsibilities if you have a supported standard occupation contract with a community landlord or charity. For information about this, click here.
I live in supported accommodation. Do I have a licence or common law tenancy?
You might have a licence or a common law tenancy in supported accommodation if:
- You moved in less than 6 months ago and your landlord chose not to give you a supported standard contract, or
- You moved in more than 6 months ago and your landlord has given you a notice extending your licence or common law tenancy
You should check the documents your landlord or support provider gave you to see what kind of agreement you have. If your landlord or support provider can enter the accommodation or require you to move to a different room then you probably have a licence. If your agreement gives you the right to control who enters your home then you will probably have a common law tenancy.
What information should my landlord give me?
When you move in to supported accommodation, you will probably be given a written licence or tenancy agreement. You should read the agreement thoroughly so that you are aware of your rights and responsibilities and those of your landlords. There may be rules about visitors or curfews in the accommodation, so be sure to check. If you are unsure about the terms of your agreement get help.
When will I be given a supported standard contract?
When you have been living in supported accommodation for 6 months you will automatically become a supported standard contract-holder, unless your landlord has extended the period of your licence or common law tenancy.
How can my landlord extend my licence or common law tenancy?
Your landlord can only extend your common law tenancy or licence for 3 months by giving you a written ‘notice of extension’ setting out the reasons for the extension. The notice must be given to you at least 4 weeks before the end of the initial 6-month period.
There is no limit on the number of extensions you can be given but you must be given a notice at least 4 weeks before the end of each extended period.
Your landlord must speak to you before giving you the notice to hear your views and discuss any issues. They might take into account your behaviour or that of your visitors in making the decision.
If your landlord or support provider is a registered charity they may have to obtain the council’s consent for their decision not to give you a supported standard contract and to extend your licence or common law tenancy.
Can I challenge the notice of extension?
You can apply to the county court for a ‘judicial review’ of the landlord’s decision to extend your licence or common law tenancy. You have to apply within 14 days of receiving the notice.
If the court finds there is a fault in the way the decision has been made it can either:
- dismiss the notice of extension
- change the period your licence or tenancy is extended
If the court decides to do either of the above, your landlord can serve a new notice of extension within 14 days. If the landlord doesn’t give you a new notice of extension, you will become a supported standard contract-holder.
Challenging decisions in this way can be very difficult so get help if you do this.
Can I be evicted?
Yes. Your landlord may decide to evict you if you breach your agreement or for other reasons. If you have a common law tenancy or a license agreement you can be evicted quite easily.
For more information, see our advice about eviction of licensees or common law tenants from supported accommodation.
If you receive a notice asking you to leave supported accommodation, get help. It may be difficult to find anywhere else to live if you don’t take action quickly.
Can my landlord ask me to leave temporarily?
If you have a licence or common law tenancy, your landlord does not usually have the right to ask you to leave your accommodation temporarily. However, it is worth bearing in mind that you can be evicted very easily if you have a licence, so it is always best to try and work through any problems you are having with your accommodation. Get help if your landlord has asked you to move out for a period.
Can I be moved to another room within the building?
Some licences in supported accommodation might allow your landlord or support provider to move you to another part of the building. This might be used to avoid conflict with other residents, for example.
If you have been given a common law tenancy, your landlord does not have the right to move you from one property to another.
What are the rules on rent and rent increases?
If you have a licence or common law tenancy your landlord can increase the rent at any time. However, if you have a fixed term agreement your landlord cannot increase the rent during the term.
Your rent should always be your top financial priority as you could lose your home if you get into rent arrears. If you are claiming benefits or have a low income, you may be able to claim housing benefit or Universal Credit housing costs to help with the rent. It is a good idea to talk to your landlord if you have any concerns about paying rent.
Can my landlord change the terms of my agreement?
If you have a periodic licence or tenancy (this means that it rolls from one rental period to the next) then your landlord may be able to change the terms of your agreement. They should inform you of any changes they are making.
If your agreement is for a fixed term, then the terms of the agreement can only be changed if you agree to it.
Who is responsible for repairs?
Your landlord is responsible for ensuring that the property is kept in good repair. This includes dealing with:
- 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.
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 here.
Can I take in lodgers or sublet my home?
You don’t normally have the right to take in a lodger or sublet part of your home while you are living in supported accommodation. If you do so without written permission from your landlord, they may decide to evict you.
Can I add someone else on to the agreement?
You probably don’t have the right to add other people on to your renting agreement if you have a licence or common law tenancy in supported accommodation. Check your agreement to make sure.
Can someone else take over my agreement when I die?
If you have a licence or common law tenancy, your agreement can only someone who is also named on the agreement jointly with you will be able to continue with the agreement if you die. This is called ‘survivorship’.
Can I get a transfer or exchange?
Not while you are in supported accommodation. You will have to wait until you get settled accommodation. Even then, it will only be possible to exchange your home if you are given a secure contract with a community landlord.
How can I end my renting agreement?
If you want to end your renting agreement 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.
What if I have a complaint?
If you feel that your landlord isn’t treating you fairly or has failed to fulfil its responsibilities, you should use their official complaints procedure. You usually have to do this before you can take things any further.
If you’re not happy with the response you get, you might be able to complain further to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.