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What is a protected shorthold?

This content applies to England

The protected shorthold tenancy, the conditions for protected shorthold tenancies, notices of protected shorthold tenancies, and rent levels.


A protected shorthold tenancy is a regulated (protected) tenancy to which further conditions have been attached. A protected tenancy is the tenancy of a dwelling-house, let as a separate dwelling, and to which none of the specified exceptions apply. For a full definition, see the section on Regulated (protected) tenancies.

Additional conditions

There are additional conditions which must be met for a protected shorthold tenancy: 

  • it must be a fixed-term tenancy of not less than one year and no more than five years
  • there must be no provision for the landlord to bring the tenancy to an end before the expiry date, other than by forfeiture for non-payment of rent or another breach of the tenancy conditions
  • before granting the tenancy, the landlord must have given the tenant a notice in the correct form, stating that the tenancy is to be a protected shorthold tenancy
  • for protected shorthold tenancies within Greater London and granted between 28 November 1980 and 3 May 1987, a registered fair rent had to be in force. This was also the case for tenancies outside Greater London granted between 28 November 1980 and 30 November 1981. Any tenancy granted after these dates did not have to have a fair rent
  • a protected shorthold tenancy could not be granted if the tenant was an existing protected or statutory tenant of the same dwelling house.[1]

Notice of protected shorthold tenancy

To create a protected shorthold tenancy, the landlord must have provided the tenant with a notice, in the prescribed form, prior to the grant of the tenancy. During possession proceedings, however, a court may dispense with the need for the prior notice, if it considers it just and equitable to do so.[2]

Rent levels

A protected shorthold tenant has the right to apply for a fair rent to be registered on the property.

[1] s.52 Housing Act 1980, repealed by s.140 and Sch 18 Housing Act 1988 with effect from 1 December 2008, with savings in s.34 Housing Act 1988.

[2] s.55(2) Housing Act 1980.

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