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What is this tenant’s legal status?

housesHere is a question to the blog clinic from Sandra (not her real name) who is a tenant

I am very confused about the type of tenancy I have!!

I moved into my flat in September 1992.Since then the property has changed hands and I have a new landlord.

From what I have been told by my previous landlord is that because he didn’t follow the legal procedures requiered by law,I have become a Protected Tenant .

When he was selling his flat to my new landlord I seeked legal advice and was told that my status as Protected tenant won’t be affected.

I don’t know if my new landlord knows of my status. He has been issuing me with yearly shorthold tenancies, which I have signed, until 31st Aug 2012,when he hasn’t renewed my tenancy agreement and informs me that I am a Statutory Periodic Tenant.

Where do I stand??

I will be very grateful to shed some light on my worrying situation.

There is no need to worry.  If, as your original landlord told you, you are an assured tenant (ie not an assured shorthold tenant) then this won’t have been affected by signing the tenancy agreements given to you by your new landlord.

All this will have done is change the terms and conditions of your tenancy  (eg the rent) – it won’t have changed its nature (ie changed it from an assured to an assured shorthold tenancy)

In fact you do not have to sign new tenancy agreements if you don’t want to.  As an assured tenant you have strong rights of security of tenure and your landlord cannot evict you becuase you refused to sign.  Indeed it will generally be in your best interests NOT to sign.

What you will have now (as your landlord told you)  is a periodic tenancy.  All assured and assured shorthold tenancies will run on automatically after the end of any fixed term on a statutory ‘periodic tenancy’.  This is fine and nothing to worry about, many tenancies run on for many years under periodic tenancies and it is all perfectly legal.

Compared to many other tenants today you are in a very good position.

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5 Responses to What is this tenant’s legal status?

  1. tessa

    The comment was (and the really serious issue for the Landlord and best position for the tenant) is that he was told he was a PROTECTED TENANT.

    He is not a secure, regulated or protcted tenant he is surely simply at best (for him) a full Assured tenant, as you say.

    But not protected just slightly more secure.

  2. If an assured tenant signs a new assured shorthold tenancy, will this not replace their previous tenancy and therefore provide less protection due to s21 notices etc?

  3. @Industry Observer – people are very lax in their terminology. Yes, protected tenant specifically means a protected Rent Act tenant. But an assured tenants protection is very similar (apart from ground 8), so I can understand why a non lawyer would say that.

    @Paul You can’t change an assured tenancy to an AST just by getting a tenant to sign a piece of paper / tenancy agreement with ‘This is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy’ written at the top. This is specifically covered in the Housing Act 1988.

  4. Tessa

    You are right in correcting Paul but there are more differences and weaknesses in an AT compared to a Protected tenancy starting with Landlord inability to increase the rent whenever he wants and by how much he wants subject to market rent levels (in an AT).

    Correct me if I am wrong but a Protected tenant also has far greater succession rights than a completely new, post 1988 Assured tenant, who apart from joint tenants as successors has none.

    You are right about terminology, and it matters to be correct. Look at what is happening now with TDP issues where all the schemes talk about is protecting the deposit i.e. the money

    when what has always mattered equally as much, and is now really being emphasised as such, is the serving of complete and correct Prescribed Information with attached leaflets/T&Cs etc.



About the post author:

Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is a lawyer and specialises in creating products and services which help landlords and letting agents learn and understand landlord & tenant law. For example, she runs the Landlord Law website (now in its 14th year) and is a director of Easy Law Training Ltd and Your Law Store. Tessa also sits on the Property Redress Scheme Council. When not working she enjoys reading, cooking and messing around on the computer. You can also find her on Google

The Landlord Law Blog from Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is an English lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law.

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Legal services are provided via Tessa's online service Landlord Law. Some advice services are provided by Tessa, other legal services are provided by specialist housing firm Anthony Gold.


The purpose of this blog is to provide information, comment and discussion. Although Tessa, or guest bloggers, may from time to time, give helpful comments to readers' questions, these can only be based on the information given by the reader in his or her comment, which may not contain all material facts. Any comments or suggestions provided by Tessa or any guest bloggers should not therefore be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice from a qualified lawyer regarding any actual legal issue or dispute.

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