You usually have a regulated tenancy if your private tenancy began before 15 January 1989.
What is a regulated tenancy?
You probably have a regulated tenancy if you pay rent to a private landlord and your tenancy started before 15 January 1989.
You could be a regulated tenant if you later signed a new tenancy agreement after that date with the same landlord, even if it's at a different address.
You won't be a regulated tenant if you've always lived in the same building as your landlord unless it's a purpose built block of flats.
Regulated tenancies are sometimes called protected tenancies or Rent Act tenancies.
Regulated tenants have strong tenancy rights.
Regulated tenants pay a fair rent which is lower than a market rent.
A fair rent is set by a rent officer at the Valuation Office Agency. This is the maximum rent your landlord can charge you under the tenancy.
Help to pay the rent
If you need help to pay your rent, you can usually claim:
- housing benefit - if you (and your partner if you live together) are both pension age
- universal credit - if you (or your partner if you live together) are working age
Your landlord is responsible for most repairs in your home. They must keep the structure and exterior of your home in good repair.
Your landlord must also keep any gas, electricity, heating, water and sanitation equipment in good repair.
They must arrange yearly gas safety checks if there's a gas supply.
You should report problems promptly and allow access to your home for repairs and safety inspections.
Eviction of regulated tenants
You can only be evicted from a regulated tenancy if your landlord gets a court order.
Your landlord must prove a legal reason for eviction, such as rent arrears. The court must consider if it's reasonable to evict you.
If you no longer live in the property, they must prove this in court.
Eviction of a regulated tenant without a court order is illegal.
Get help from the council if you're illegally evicted or harassed by your landlord.
You may also be able to get legal help from a solicitor to get back into your home or claim compensation.
Passing on the tenancy if you die
What happens to your tenancy depends on:
- if it's a joint tenancy
- who lives there with you
- how long they've lived there
- whether you inherited the tenancy from someone else
Inheriting a tenancy from someone you live with is known as succession.
In many cases, the tenancy can only be passed on once when the original regulated tenant dies but there are exceptions to this rule.
The type of tenancy will change if it passes to a family member who is not your partner. It will become an assured tenancy.
The tenancy will continue as a regulated tenancy for the other joint tenant as long as they are living there when you die.
This doesn't count as a succession. The legal term is 'survivorship'.
If the other joint tenant doesn't live there, the tenancy will end.
Sole tenancies if you live with a partner
Your tenancy can usually pass to a partner who is living in your home immediately before you die.
Where this happens, the tenancy will continue as a regulated tenancy.
The exception to this is where you inherited the tenancy from someone else. In this situation, the tenancy will end if you die, unless a second succession is allowed.
Sole tenancies if you don't live with a partner
Your tenancy can sometimes pass to another family member if you don't have a partner.
Your family member must have lived with you at the property for at least 2 years immediately before you die.
If more than one family member meets this condition, they can decide between them who succeeds to the tenancy. A court can decide if they can't agree.
When a second succession is allowed
Your tenancy can sometimes pass to another family member if you:
- were the partner of the original tenant
- succeeded to a regulated tenancy when they died
This can only happen if your family member:
- lived with you for at least 2 years immediately before your death
- was also a family member of the original tenant
A second succession will always be to an assured tenancy.
Example: Your husband was the original regulated tenant. He died in 1996 and you succeeded to the tenancy. Your adult son has lived with you for the last 5 years. Your son will succeed to an assured tenancy if he continues to live there.
Ending your tenancy
Most regulated tenants don't want to end their tenancies because they have stronger rights than other private renters.
Some landlords will try and negotiate an end to the regulated tenancy. They may offer you a cash incentive to leave so they can rent the property out at a higher rent.
Get legal advice if your landlord offers you money or asks you to give up your tenancy. It can be very difficult to find suitable, affordable and permanent housing.
Giving notice to end your tenancy
You can end your tenancy by giving your landlord a valid notice to quit.
This must be in writing and end on the first or last day of a tenancy period.
You must give at least:
- 4 weeks' notice if you pay rent weekly
- 1 month's notice if you pay rent monthly
Once you give your landlord a valid notice you can't withdraw it. Don't give up your home unless you're sure you will have somewhere suitable to live.
Last updated 28 Nov 2019 | © Shelter
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