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Regulated tenancies

Regulated tenants have strong rights.

You probably have a regulated tenancy if:

  • you pay rent to a private landlord and

  • your tenancy started before 15 January 1989

Sometimes your tenancy can stay regulated if you sign a new tenancy agreement for a different property, as long as it is with the same landlord.

Regulated tenancies are sometimes called protected tenancies or Rent Act tenancies.

You do not have a regulated tenancy if you've always lived in the same building as your landlord, unless it's a purpose built block of flats.

Use our tenancy checker to check your tenancy type.

Fair rents

Regulated tenants pay a fair rent. It is lower than a market rent.

Your landlord cannot ask you to pay more than the fair rent.

Help to pay the rent

You might get:

  • 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.

This includes:

  • boiler and central heating

  • gas, electricity and sanitation installations

  • the structure of you home, for example windows and walls

Your landlord must arrange a gas safety check once a year if there is a gas supply in your home.

You should report problems straight away and let your landlord in for repairs and safety checks.

Eviction of regulated tenants

Your landlord needs a court order to evict you from a regulated tenancy

They must prove a legal reason for eviction, such as rent arrears. The court must decide if it's reasonable to evict you.  

If you no longer live in the property, your landlord must prove this in court.

Illegal eviction

Evicting tenants without a court order is illegal.

Get help from the council if you're illegally evicted or harassed by your landlord.

You could get legal help from a solicitor to get back into your home or get compensation. 

If your landlord sells your home or dies

The new owner automatically becomes your landlord.

This is sometimes called being a ‘sitting tenant.’

Your rights stay the same even if you sign a new tenancy agreement with the new landlord.

This includes your right to a fair rent.

Who can inherit your regulated tenancy

Only some people can inherit a regulated tenancy.

What happens to your regulated tenancy depends on: 

  • if it's a joint tenancy

  • who lives there with you

  • how long they've lived with you

  • if you inherited the tenancy from someone else 

Inheriting a tenancy is called succession.

If you have a joint tenancy

A joint tenancy passes to the other joint tenant if one person dies.

If the other joint tenant does not live there, the tenancy ends.

If you have a sole tenancy and live with a partner

Your regulated tenancy can usually pass to a partner who you live with.

You do not have to be married or civil partners.

If you have a sole tenancy and do not live with a partner

Another family member can sometimes inherit your tenancy if they live with you:

  • immediately before you die

  • for at least 2 years before you die

Your family member will inherit an assured tenancy. The landlord could increase the rent.

Passing on a tenancy that you inherited

If you inherit a regulated tenancy from your partner, you could pass the tenancy on to another family member if they:

  • are also related to your partner who died

  • live with you for at least 2 years immediately before your death

They will become an assured tenant.

Example: passing on a tenancy twice

Your husband was the original regulated tenant. You had a son together.

Your husband died in 2005 and you inherited the tenancy.

Your adult son moved in with you 5 years ago.

He can inherit your tenancy if he still lives there when you die.

Your son's tenancy will be assured, not regulated.

If you want to end your regulated tenancy

Most regulated tenants do not want to end their tenancies because they have stronger rights than other private renters.

Your landlord might pressure you into ending your tenancy, so that 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:

  • agreement with your landlord

  • a valid notice

Once you give your landlord a valid notice you cannot withdraw it. Do not give up your home unless you're sure you will have somewhere suitable to live.

Last updated: 7 December 2023

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