Regulated tenancies

You may be a regulated tenant if your private tenancy began before 15 January 1989.

What is a regulated tenancy?

A regulated tenancy is a long-term tenancy with a private landlord.

You are likely to be a regulated tenant if you pay rent to a private landlord and your tenancy started before 15 January 1989. You may still be a regulated tenant even if you later signed a new tenancy agreement after that date with the same landlord.

You won't be a regulated tenant if you've lived in the same property as your landlord since your tenancy started.

A regulated tenancy might be for a fixed term such as a year or it could be a periodic tenancy and roll from week-to-week or month-to-month.

Fair rents

Regulated tenants are entitled to a fair rent. A fair rent is the maximum rent your landlord can charge.

Fair rents are set by a rent officer at the Valuation Office Agency.

If a fair rent isn't already registered, you or your landlord can apply to the rent service to get one registered.

Your landlord can take court action to evict you if you do not pay your rent.

Rent increases

Fair rents can usually be increased once every two years. They can usually only be increased by a certain amount.

The rent increase could be higher if your landlord has made substantial improvements to your home.

You may be able to challenge a proposed rent increase using the tribunal for rent disputes.

Housing benefit

If you have a low income or if you claim benefits, you may be able to claim housing benefit to help pay your rent.


Your landlord has to keep the structure and exterior of your home in good repair. This includes the roof, guttering, walls, windows and doors.

Your landlord must also keep any gas, electricity, heating, water and sanitation equipment in good repair.

Your landlord must have a current gas safety certificate for any gas appliances they provide. Furniture provided should be fire resistant.

You are responsible for looking after the property and for carrying out minor repairs such as changing a fuse.

Find out more about repairs.

Lodgers and subtenants

You have the right to rent out a room to a lodger. 

Check what your tenancy agreement says. In some situations you may need your landlord's permission to rent out a room.

If you sublet the whole of your property and move out, you are no longer classed as a regulated tenant. This makes it easy for your landlord to evict you and your subtenant.

Ending your tenancy

A regulated tenancy can be ended at any time if both you and your landlord agree. This is known as surrendering a tenancy.

If you want to end the tenancy this way, get your landlord's agreement in writing.

You can end a tenancy by giving your landlord correct notice. For fixed-term tenancies, you can only give notice during the fixed-term if your tenancy agreement says this is allowed.

The length of notice you have to give depends on what your tenancy agreement says.

For a periodic tenancy or if the fixed term of your tenancy has expired, you must give either:

  • at least four weeks' notice in writing
  • a minimum of one month's notice if you pay your rent monthly

The notice should normally end on the day that your rent is due, unless your tenancy agreement says otherwise.

Once the notice period ends, your tenancy ends and you no longer have any right to live in the property.

Eviction of regulated tenants

Regulated tenants have strong tenancy rights.

You can only be evicted from a regulated tenancy if your landlord gets a court order. Your landlord must prove there is a legal reason to evict you.

In most cases the court must also decide whether it is reasonable for you to be evicted.

It is easier to evict you if you no longer live in the property.

Find out more about the eviction of regulated tenants.

Illegal eviction

It's illegal eviction if your landlord tries to evict you without getting a court order.

Your local council can help if you're illegally evicted or harassed by your landlord. A court can order your landlord to let you back into your home.

Get advice now if you are facing illegal eviction or harassment.

Call Shelter's free housing advice helpline on 0808 800 4444.

Succession rights after the death of a regulated tenant

The inheritance of a tenancy is known as succession. Only one person is allowed to succeed to a regulated tenancy. Joint succession is not allowed.

Sometimes there is more than one person living with a tenant who could succeed to the tenancy if the tenant dies. In this case, the husband, wife, cohabitee or civil partner always takes priority and inherits the tenancy.

A regulated tenancy can be passed to a husband, wife, civil partner or cohabitee living with the tenant when the tenant dies. The tenancy remains a regulated tenancy if it is is inherited by the husband, wife, civil partner or cohabitee and no one else has previously inherited the tenancy.

The tenancy can also be passed to another member of the tenant's family who was living with the tenant for at least the two years before the death of the tenant. It becomes an assured tenancy if it passes to another member of the tenant's family or is a second succession.

A regulated tenancy can only be passed on twice in very specific circumstances.

Get advice about regulated tenancies

Call Shelter's free helpline on 0808 800 4444 or use Shelter's directory to find a local advice centre.

Find out more from about regulated tenancies.


Last updated:

  • Print this page
  • Email this page