The government has brought in emergency laws designed to protect private tenants during the Coronavirus pandemic. For more information see our advice pages on the eviction of private tenants.
Regulated tenants have stronger rights against eviction than most other private tenants. You are likely to be a regulated tenant if:
Some types of tenancy cannot be regulated tenancies. These include:
If you fall into any of these categories and you are not sure of your rights get advice.
A regulated tenancy is a tenancy that gives you a legal right to live in your accommodation for a period of time. Your tenancy might be for a set period such as a year (this is known as a fixed term tenancy). Or it might roll on a week-to-week or month-to-month basis (this is known as a periodic tenancy).
No. Regulated tenancies have two stages. Some of your rights depend on what stage your tenancy is at. The first stage is the contractual stage. Your tenancy is in the contractual stage if:
There may be a few fixed term regulated tenancies still around in the contractual stage but this is unlikely. This is because no new regulated tenancies have started since 1989.
The contractual stage ends if:
Once the contractual stage comes to an end your tenancy enters the statutory stage.
Yes. Every private landlord of a regulated tenancy in Wales should be registered with Rent Smart Wales. In addition, landlords who self-manage those properties, or agents who have been appointed by the landlord, must have a licence.
You can check if your landlord and/or agent is registered or licensed by searching the public register. If they are not registered and/or licensed they might be committing a criminal offence and could face penalties. See our pages on landlord registration and licensing for more information.
The law gives you rights to:
Each of these rights are explained below…
Your right to live in your accommodation undisturbed
You have the right to live in your accommodation without being disturbed. You have control over your home so that your landlord and other people cannot freely enter whenever they want to. Your landlord cannot limit or otherwise interfere with your right to live in your home. If your landlord tries to do this it may be harassment, which is against the law.
If you are not living in the accommodation at the end of the contractual stage of your tenancy your landlord may be able to evict you very easily.
During the statutory stage of your tenancy you have to be living in the accommodation to keep your rights. You are allowed to spend time living elsewhere as long as you can show that you are planning to return (for example by leaving furniture or belongings at the property).
Rent and rent increases
You have to pay the rent that you agreed with your landlord. If you do not pay your rent the landlord can take court action to evict you. If you pay rent weekly your landlord must provide a rent book.
Regulated tenants are entitled to fair rents. A fair rent is an amount of rent that a rent officer or rent assessment committee sets as the maximum that your landlord can charge.
If you don’t already have a fair rent registered you or your landlord can apply to Rent Officers Wales to get one registered. If there is a fair rent registered on the property your landlord is only allowed to charge that amount.
Fair rents can normally be increased once every two years. They can usually only be increased by a certain amount which can be calculated using a formula. If your landlord has made substantial improvements to your home, the rent increase can be higher.
Getting repairs done
The law says your landlord has to keep the structure and exterior of the property in good repair.
Your landlord must also keep the equipment for the supply of gas, electricity, heating, water and sanitation in good repair. Your landlord may have extra responsibilities to repair depending on what your tenancy agreement says.
You are responsible for looking after the property. This might include unblocking a sink or changing a fuse when necessary. You may also have other responsibilities depending on what your tenancy agreement says.
Your landlord must have a valid gas safety certificate for any gas appliances in the property. Any furniture provided should be fire resistant.
If your accommodation needs repairs inform your landlord or agent. If the repairs are your landlord’s responsibility and are not done there may be ways you can force your landlord to carry out the work.
Passing your tenancy to someone else
If you pass your tenancy to someone else you will no longer have a legal right to live in your home. You can only pass on your regulated tenancy to someone else in specific circumstances.
If you attempt to pass your tenancy to someone else under any other circumstances the landlord may be able to end your tenancy.
Death of a regulated tenant
If a regulated tenant dies the tenancy can be passed on under specific circumstances. This is known as succession. The tenancy can be passed to:
a spouse or partner who lived in the property at the time of the tenant’s death
another member of the tenant’s family who lived in the property with the tenant for at least two years prior to the tenant’s death
If the tenancy passes to the spouse or partner, and there has not been a previous succession, the tenancy remains a regulated tenancy. If it passes to another member of the tenant’s family, or is a second succession, it becomes an assured tenancy. The tenancy can only be passed on twice in very specific circumstances. The second successor must fulfil certain requirements.
Lodgers and subtenants
It is normally fine to get other people to live with you as subtenants or lodgers as long as you continue to live in your accommodation. If you move out you will no longer have a regulated tenancy. If your tenancy ends it is likely that anyone living in the property as a subtenant or lodger will no longer have any rights to live there.
Ending your tenancy
Your tenancy will continue until it is ended by you or your landlord.
This can happen by:
It is possible for a tenancy to be surrendered at any time. Get your landlord’s agreement in writing if possible to avoid problems later.
If you have a periodic tenancy you have to give one months’ notice in writing (or longer if you pay your rent less often). The notice should end on the day that your rent is due. Once the notice ends your tenancy ends and you no longer have any right to live in your home.
If you have a fixed term tenancy you will only be able to give notice during the fixed term if your tenancy agreement says it is allowed. The length of notice you have to give depends on what your tenancy agreement says. It is also possible to leave on the day your tenancy ends without giving any notice.
The most important question in any tenancy is how difficult it would be for your landlord to evict you. For example if your landlord is able to evict you very easily it might be harder for you to force them to do repairs or challenge rent increases. However, regulated tenants have very strong rights.
You cannot be evicted before your landlord has gone to court and the court has agreed to your landlord regaining possession of the property. The court’s permission is on a written notice known as a possession order. Your landlord can only do this if your tenancy is at the statutory stage and if a reason (or ‘ground’) can be proven. The grounds that your landlord can use are divided into two types, mandatory and discretionary.
If your landlord can prove a mandatory ground for possession the court has to evict you. It is not possible for any of these grounds to be used unless your landlord has already given you notice that the ground may be used. Before your tenancy started your landlord must have told you in writing you may be evicted for one of these reasons:
If your landlord is using a discretionary ground for possession the court has to consider whether it is reasonable for possession to be granted to your landlord before an order can be made. The courts have a lot of discretion to decide what is reasonable in a particular case. Your circumstances can be taken into account. Even if the court agrees with your landlord’s claim it can decide to:
delay the eviction to give you time to find somewhere else to live
stop the eviction if there are exceptional circumstances
allow you to pay off arrears by instalments
Discretionary grounds include whether:
After a court order takes effect your landlord cannot evict you himself, but must ask the bailiffs to evict you.
If your landlord tries to evict you without getting a court order it may be a criminal offence. Your local council should help if you have been illegally evicted or harassed by your landlord. You may also be able to obtain a court order requiring the landlord to allow you back into the property.