Tenancy rights checker

What type of tenancy do you have?

The type of agreement you have with your landlord affects your legal rights.

Answer a few simple questions for a guide to your legal status.

Who do you pay your rent to?

What type of housing do you live in?

When did you move into your current home?

What type of housing is it?

You are probably a lodger

You're a lodger if you rent a room in your landlord's home and share the kitchen, bathroom or other living space with them.

Lodgers are classed as excluded occupiers and have very limited legal rights.

You have more rights if your landlord lives in the same building as you but you don’t share any living space.

You'll probably be an:

Your legal status when renting from family or friends

You're usually an excluded occupier if you live with family or friends even if you pay rent. You have very limited legal rights.

You're probably an assured shorthold tenant (AST) if you rent from a friend or family member who lives somewhere else.

You probably have an assured shorthold tenancy (AST)

An assured shorthold tenancy (AST) is the most common type of tenancy if you rent from a private landlord or through a letting agency.

You usually have an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) if:

  • your original tenancy started on or after 28 February 1997
  • you don't share any rooms with your landlord and they live elsewhere 

You won't have an AST if you're a lodger who shares a kitchen, bathroom or living room with your landlord.

You won't have an AST and will probably be an occupier with basic protection if any of the following apply: 

  • your rent is more than £100,000 a year
  • your rent is less than £1000 a year in London or £250 a year outside London
  • your landlord has lived in a separate flat in the same building since your tenancy began and the building is not a purpose-built block of flats

You could have an assured tenancy

Assured tenancies with private landlords are not very common. They are lifetime tenancies.

A tenancy with a private landlord is usually an assured tenancy if:

  • your original tenancy started between 15 January 1989 and 27 February 1997
  • your landlord didn't give you an agreement or notice that it was an AST
  • you don't share any rooms with your landlord and they live elsewhere

You probably have an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) if your:

  • original tenancy had a fixed term of at least 6 months
  • landlord gave you notice before it began saying that the tenancy was an AST
    • You won't have an assured tenancy if you're a lodger who shares a kitchen, bathroom or living room with your landlord.

      You won't have an assured tenancy and will probably be an occupier with basic protection if any of the following apply: 

      • your rent is more than £100,000 a year
      • your rent is less than £1000 a year in London or £250 a year outside London
      • your landlord has lived in a separate flat in the same building since your tenancy began and the building is not a purpose-built block of flats

    You probably have a regulated tenancy

    Before 15 January 1989, regulated tenancies were the main type of private tenancy. They are lifetime tenancies. They are sometimes called Rent Act tenancies or protected tenancies.

    You probably have a regulated tenancy if your tenancy started before this date, even if it was later renewed.

    You continue to be a regulated tenant if you move to a different property owned by the same landlord as long as your original tenancy started before 15 January 1989.

    You won't be a regulated tenant if you're a lodger who shares a kitchen, bathroom or living room with your landlord.

    You won't be a regulated tenant and will probably be an occupier with basic protection if your landlord has lived in a separate flat in the same building since your tenancy began and the building is not a purpose-built block of flats.

    You probably have a council tenancy

    Council tenants sign a tenancy agreement that says who your landlord is and what type of tenancy you have.

    If you pay your rent to the council, it's likely you have one of these tenancy types:

    You usually have a housing association assured tenancy if you were originally a council tenant but the property was transferred to a housing association after you moved in.

    You can sometimes inherit a council tenancy if the original tenant was your partner or a family member.

    You have more limited rights if the council place you in emergency or temporary accommodation after you apply as homeless.

    You probably have a housing association tenancy

    Housing association tenants usually sign a tenancy agreement. This states who your landlord is and what type of tenancy you have.

    If you pay rent to a housing association, it's likely you have one of these tenancy types:

    If you're involved in antisocial behaviour, an assured or secure housing association tenancy can be demoted by the court to an assured shorthold tenancy (AST).

    You can sometimes inherit a housing association tenancy if the original tenant was your partner or family member.

    Your legal status in temporary housing

    You're probably an excluded occupier if you've applied for council help when homeless and are staying in:

    • emergency accommodation while the council looks into your situation
    • temporary housing if the council decides you're intentionally homeless

    You usually have more rights if the council decides that you qualify for longer-term housing. You're probably an assured shorthold tenant if you pay rent to a private landlord or housing association while you wait for an offer of longer-term housing.

    Your legal status in a B&B, refuge or hostel

    You don't have long-term housing rights if you are staying in a B&B, women's refuge or hostel.

    You're an excluded occupier if either:

    • the council places you in emergency housing when you apply as homeless
    • you're staying in a hostel or refuge owned by a council or housing association
    You could have more rights and be an occupier with basic protection if you live in a privately-owned B&B as your home.

    Your legal status in supported housing

    Your agreement should set out what type of tenancy or occupancy you have.

    Supported housing schemes vary widely and can include:

    • hostels or refuges 
    • sheltered housing for older people 
    • self-contained accommodation with visits from support workers  

    Your rights usually depend on who your landlord is and the type of support you receive.

    Find out more about rights in supported housing

    Your legal status in student accommodation

    You probably have an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) if you live in private rented housing or privately-owned halls of residence.

    You have fewer rights if you live in halls of residence owned by a university or college. You're classed as an occupier with basic protection.

    Your housing rights as a farm worker

    You could be an agricultural occupier if you live in tied accommodation provided by your employer because you're a farm worker.

    Agricultural occupiers have strong housing rights.

    You qualify as an agricultural occupier if all of the following apply. You must:

    • live in self-contained accommodation provided or owned by your employer
    • have worked in agriculture full-time for 91 weeks of the last 2 years
    • be employed in growing crops, breeding livestock, dairy-farming or forestry

    Your rights as an agricultural occupier depend on when your tenancy began.

    You may have an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) rather than an agricultural occupancy if either:

    • you don't qualify as an agricultural occupier  
    • your tenancy began on or after 15 January 1989 and your landlord served you notice that it would be an AST before the tenancy started

    Assured shorthold tenants have less rights than agricultural occupiers.

    Your housing rights in services family accommodation

    You are likely to be living in services family accommodation if you are in the armed forces and are married or have a civil partner.

    Find out more about services family accommodation on GOV.UK.

    Your housing rights in live-in or tied accommodation

    You live in tied accommodation if your right to live in your home is tied to your job.

    You're classed as a service occupier if it's essential to live in the accommodation to do your job or if your employment contract says you need to live there to do your job better.

    Examples of service occupiers include:

    • on-site wardens or caretakers
    • live-in nannies, carers or housekeepers
    • hotel or pub workers who live on the premises
    • members of the clergy living in church-owned property

    If your employer is your landlord but you don't have to live in your home to do your job you're classed as a service tenant and have stronger rights

    Find out more about your rights in accommodation that comes with the job.

    Living rent free

    You're probably an excluded occupier if you live in a property rent free.  

    This could include situations where your accommodation is provided by relatives.

    You have very limited legal rights and can be evicted without a court order.

    If the property is owned by your employer and you get lower wages because it’s rent free, your employer will usually need a court order to evict you unless you share living areas with them.

    We can't guarantee that the results of this assessment will always be 100% accurate.

    If you're unsure about any details, or if your circumstances are not covered, find out ways to get help with your situation


    Last updated 16 Jul 2018 | © Shelter

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