Private tenants rights

Private tenants


There are several different types of tenancy you can have if you rent from a private landlord. Each type of tenancy gives you very different rights.

The type of tenancy you have mainly depends on:

  • the date you moved in
  • who you live with
  • who your landlord is
  • the type of housing you live in

You may not necessarily have the type of tenancy that your tenancy agreement says you have.

Every private landlord of a ‘domestic tenancy’ in Wales should be registered with the Rent Smart Wales scheme. This includes landlords of assured, assured shorthold and regulated tenancies. In addition, landlords who self-manage those tenancies, or agents who have been appointed by the landlord, must have a licence. For more information see our page on Landlord registration and licensing.



Checking the tenancy type


The vast majority of people who rent from a private landlord have an assured shorthold tenancy, which gives them a legal right to live in their accommodation for a period of time.

You must not assume that you have an assured shorthold tenancy. You should always check what it says on your tenancy agreement and also look at your particular circumstances. Depending on your situation you might instead be:

It’s possible that you have a different type of tenancy than your agreement says.

The information below should help you work out what type of tenancy you have. If you are still not sure, contact a Shelter Cymru adviser.


Your landlord lives on the premises


If you share accommodation (such as a kitchen, bathroom or living room) with your landlord you are likely to be an excluded occupier.

If your landlord lives in the same building as you but you don’t share accommodation you are likely to be an occupier with basic protection. For example this would apply if your landlord has a separate bedsit in the building you live in. This doesn’t apply if the building is a purpose built block of flats.

However, if you moved into your accommodation before 15 January 1989 and have a resident landlord (whether you share accommodation or not) you may have a ‘restricted contract’. Restricted contract tenants are quite rare because if any of the terms of the agreement have changed since 15 January 1989 (such as because of a rent increase) you would have become either an excluded occupier or an occupier with basic protection. If you think you have a restricted contract, get advice!


You live in a hostel or bed and breakfast hotel


If you’re homeless and have been placed in a hostel or bed and breakfast hotel by the council you are likely to be an excluded occupier. Some people who live in certain types of hostel or bed and breakfast hotels will also be excluded occupiers. Get advice from a Shelter Cymru adviser if you are in this situation and not sure of your rights.


Your accommodation is provided as part of your job


If you live in accommodation which is provided as part of your job and you have to live in it in order to do your job you’re likely to be a service occupier and will have very different rights. You will probably have to leave your home if you leave your job. Get advice if you’re in this situation.


You are an agricultural occupier


If you are an agricultural occupier you will have very different rights. Get advice to find out your rights.


You live in student halls of residence


If you are living in accommodation provided by an educational institution such as a university or college you are likely to be an occupier with basic protection.


You’re renting from the Crown


You are likely to be an occupier with basic protection.


You rent from somebody who is a tenant


If you live in accommodation where you rent from somebody who is the tenant, you are a subtenant.


None of the exceptions listed above apply


If you do not fall within any of the exceptions listed above, but you pay rent to a private landlord and live in a flat or house that you do not share with her/him, you are likely to have:

The type of tenancy you have will depend on the date that you moved in:

  • If you moved in on or after 28 February 1997 you will be an assured shorthold tenant, unless your landlord said that your tenancy would be an assured tenancy before you moved in
  • If you moved in between 15 January 1989 and 27 February 1997 (inclusive) you will be an assured shorthold tenancy provided your landlord gave you written notice before you moved stating that the tenancy would be an assured shorthold tenancy. If you did not get the right notice you may be an assured tenant and will have more rights
  • If you moved in before 15 January 1989 you will be a regulated tenant. This applies even if your landlord has changed or if you’ve moved to a different property but kept the same landlord.

If you not sure what type of tenancy you have, get advice from Shelter Cymru adviser.



Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline


Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an adviser
email us

Regulated tenancies

Regulated tenants have stronger rights against eviction than most other private tenants

Occupiers with basic protection

This section explains the rights you have if you have a private landlord and you are an occupier with basic protection

Excluded occupiers

This section explains the rights you have if you have a private landlord and you are an excluded occupier

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

Renting

Renting


If you rent your home, your rights and responsibilities will depend on what sort of landlord your have, what sort of tenancy you have, and if you share your home with a partner or other people. Find out in this section about the different types of tenancy and what your rights and responsibilities are.

This section will also help you work out what to look for in any rental agreement and how to end any agreement.

Shelter Cymru does not give advice to leaseholders. If you are a leaseholder and are unsure of your rights, go to the Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE) website for information and advice.

For urgent advice please call our expert housing advice helpline on 08000 495 495

or, for non-urgent enquiries please use our email advice service. An adviser will aim to reply to emails within five working days.

What to look for in a renting agreement

If you are renting your home, you either have a tenancy or a licence to live in the property. This page explains what to look for in your rental agreement.

Private tenants

Private tenants can have several different types of tenancy. Some of these give you more rights than others.

Council tenants

In Wales, councils provide secure, introductory and demoted tenancies. The type of tenancy the council give you will affect many of your rights.

Housing association tenants

Housing associations in Wales provide secure, assured, assured shorthold (starter) or demoted tenancies. Not all tenants of Housing associations have the same rights.

Assured shorthold tenancies

This section explains the rights you have if you have an assured shorthold tenancy with a private landlord.

Assured tenancies

This section explains the rights you have if you are an assured tenant with a private landlord.

Mobile home tenancies

This page helps you work out what kind of tenancy you may have if you rent a mobile home from a landlord.

Agricultural tenancies

This page briefly explains the housing rights of people who live in homes as part of their job on a farm.

Sharing and subletting

Sharing a home with other people can be great fun, but it’s important to know what your rights are and what to do if there is a problem.

Ending a tenancy or licence

You must end your agreement properly if you want to leave. If you don’t you may still be liable to pay rent.

The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016

Tenancy laws in Wales are changing. The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 introduces lots of changes which will come into force in July 2022. Keep up to date here.

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.