This information gives a brief outline of the different types of tenancy available and the rights you have if you are renting from a private landlord. It does not cover secure Council or Housing Association tenancies.
If you have any questions about this information please visit a Housing Options officer at the Customer Services Centre.
Not all occupiers have the same legal rights. Generally, you have a tenancy if:
In this case, the landlord must give you proper notice if they want you to move out. If you do not leave, the landlord must then get a possession order from the County Court before you can be evicted.
A landlord cannot simply demand you leave or lock you out if you don't - these actions may be seen as Harassment and Illegal Eviction.
If you are not a tenant then you will generally be a Licensee.
Some licensees do not have even the basic legal protection that a tenant has. They are called excluded licences.
You are classed as an excluded licensee when:
If you are an excluded licensee and your landlord wants you to leave it is not necessary for him or her to get a Court Order. However, you are entitled to 'reasonable' notice.
With an Assured Tenancy:
If you receive a notice seeking possession, please see a Housing Options officer as soon as possible. Council officers can represent you at any subsequent Court hearing.
This is the most common type of tenancy. With an Assured Shorthold Tenancy:
The landlord must give written notice that you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy before you move in and sign a formal agreement. If the landlord fails to do this then you will have an Assured Tenancy.
You will NOT be either an Assured or Assured Shorthold Tenant if:
In these cases you will have very limited rights. Please ask a Housing Options officer for further information.
If your tenancy started before the 15th January 1989 and your landlord does not live in the same building, you have much greater legal protection.
In this case:
If you do share the same building as your landlord you may have a restricted contract which gives you fewer rights. However, your landlord still requires a Court Order to evict you.
If you have a tenancy that started before 15th January 1989 and you move to different accommodation or sign a new tenancy agreement, you may lose all your legal rights. Please discuss this with a Housing Options officer.
Generally, these tenancies are less secure than tenancies that started earlier. In addition, landlords are entitled to charge a 'market rent'.
For any new tenancy granted on or after the 28th February 1997 there are important changes to the previous tenancy rules that have been in force since the 15th January 1989.
The main changes are:
If you are a tenant and receive notice from your landlord asking you to leave your home, or your landlord harasses you or threatens you with eviction, please contact a Housing Options Officer as soon as possible.