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. Call Shelter Cymru’s expert housing advice helpline on 0345 075 5005 or email our housing advice team. If you prefer, visit advice near you to find a local Shelter Cymru advice surgery where you can talk to someone in person.

Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
0345 075 5005

Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an advisor
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 0345 075 5005.

This page was last updated on: May 29, 2017

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.