Housing law is terribly complicated. One of the reason for this is all the different types of tenancy, all of which have slightly different rights. One of the Law Commission’s consultation paper for their renting homes project identified 13 different tenancy types!
So if you want to know precisely what your rights are, you need to know what sort of tenancy or occupation you have. Here are some notes on the most important ones:
Assured shorthold tenancy (AST)
Most lets in the private rented sector will be ASTs. If you have an AST you have no long term security as your landlord can evict you at any time after the fixed term has ended, provided they have served a properly drafted section 21 notice.
This is very similar to an AST except that the landlord does not have the benefit of section 21. Assured tenancies are rare in the private sector but very common in the public sector – for example most tenancies from housing associations are this type
Protected / statutory tenancy
You will only have one of these if you have been living in your rented property since before 15 January 1989. These tenancies are getting rarer but there are still quite a lot around. If you have one of these you are lucky – so long as you pay your rent you cannot be evicted unless the landlord is able to provide somewhere else suitable for you to move to (where you will also have a protected tenancy or similar).
Common law tenancies
Since the change on 1 October 2010 when the high rent limit for ASTs went up to £100,000 there have been considerably less of these. They will now mostly be where the landlord lives in the same building or where the tenant is a limited company. Common law tenants have no long term security of tenure once their fixed term is ended.
This is Council housing – for there to be a secure tenancy the landlord has to be a local authority or similar organisation. We don’t talk much about secure tenanices here on the Landlord Law blog as it is aimed mostly at the private rented sector.
Then finally, you may not have a tenancy at all. For example if you are a lodger, or are required to live in the property because of your work, or if you are renting living accommodation on a boat. Licensees have considerably less rights than tenants.
If you are still unsure what tenancy type you have and would like to know more, note that members of my Landlord Law site can use my Tenancy Trail – this is a question and answer section leading you to a page telling you what your tenancy type is.
Tenants will also find masses more information about their tenants legal rights on my main Landlord Law site.