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Check what kind of contract or tenancy you have

Mae’r cyngor hwn yn berthnasol i Cymru

If you rent from a private landlord, your rights depend on the type of rental agreement you have. This includes things like your right to get repairs done, stay in your home and get your deposit back.

If you rent from the council or a housing association, your rights are different - check your rights if you rent from the council or a housing association.

‘Occupation contracts’ and tenancies are both types of rental agreement.

If you know what type of rental agreement you have, check your rights and your landlord’s responsibilities.

Check what type of rental agreement you have

The type of rental agreement you have usually depends on when it started. 

If you don’t know when your rental agreement started, check any written documents you have about the home you’re renting.

You’ll probably have either:

  • a ‘written statement’ - this sets out the rights and responsibilities of you and your landlord, and will say when your agreement started
  • a tenancy agreement

If you can’t find the date written down, your agreement started when you agreed it with your landlord. This could be earlier than the day you agreed to move in.

Even if you have a written statement or agreement that says you have a certain type of rental agreement, you should still check what type of agreement you have. It might be different to what your written statement or agreement says - this means you might have more rights.

If your tenancy started before 1 December 2022, it was probably replaced with an occupation contract. This means your rights might have changed too.

Your rental agreement started on or after 1 December 2022

You’ll probably have a ‘standard occupation contract’ - check your written statement to see what type it is.

You’ll probably have a standard contract if all the following apply:

  • you pay rent to a private landlord
  • you don’t live in the same building as your landlord
  • you have agreed to rent your home for a specific period of time - for example, 6 months or month by month

Check your rights if you have a standard contract.

If your written statement says you have a ‘secure occupation contract’, your rights are different - talk to an adviser to check your rights.

In some situations you won’t have a contract - for example if:

  • your home is a business premises
  • you have a protected tenancy
  • you live in ‘direct access’ accommodation - for example if you’re staying in night shelters
  • your accommodation is connected to being in the armed forces
  • your accommodation is connected to your bail or probation

If you don’t have a contract, you can ask your landlord to give you a contract if one of the following applies:

  • you live with your landlord
  • your home is a holiday let
  • you live in a hospital or care home

If you live in homelessness or supported accommodation

Your landlord can only give you a contract if they meet certain conditions.

You’ll live in supported accommodation if for example you need help with housing because of a drug, alcohol or gambling problem.

If your landlord decides to give you a contract, they have to send you a notice confirming this.

If you’re a student

You’ll probably have a standard contract if you’re a student and you either:

If you live in the same building as your landlord

You’ll probably have a standard contract if either:

  • you and your landlord have separate flats in a purpose-built block of flats
  • your landlord has another home where they live most of the time

Check your rights if you have a standard contract.

You’ll probably be an excluded occupier if both of these apply:

  • you share living space like a kitchen or living room with your landlord
  • your landlord was living in the property before you moved in

Check your rights if you’re an excluded occupier.

If your landlord gave you a notice saying you have a standard contract, you’re no longer an excluded occupier. Check your rights if you have a standard contract.

If your landlord moves out and doesn’t plan to return, you’ll probably get a standard contract.

If you live in the same building with your landlord and you’re not sure if you have a contract, talk to an adviser.

If you pay no rent

You’re probably an excluded occupier if both of these apply:

  • you don’t have to pay rent
  • your landlord didn’t give you a notice saying you have a contract

Check your rights if you’re an excluded occupier.

If you agree to provide services like cleaning or childcare to your landlord instead of paying rent, you might have a contract. Check your rights if you have a contract.

If you took over the contract from someone else

You’ll probably have the same type of contract as the person you took it over from - you’ll need to check what type of contract they had. You can do this by looking at their written statement or finding out when it started.

This might have happened if:

  • you inherited a contract from someone who died - this is known as ‘succeeding’ to the contract
  • someone transferred you their contract

If you know what type of contract you’ve taken over, you can check what rights it gives you.

If you took over your contract from someone but you’re not sure what type it is, talk to an adviser.

If your landlord gave you a new contract

If your landlord gave you a new contract immediately after the previous one ended, you’ll usually still have the same type of contract. It doesn’t matter if you move to a different property that your landlord owns.

If you had a joint contract or joint landlords and you renewed your contract, you’ll still have the same type of contract if both the following apply:

  • at least one of the landlords is the same as before
  • at least one of the contract holders is the same as before - this means it doesn’t matter if the other contract holder hasn’t renewed with you

If there was a gap between the end of your last contract and the start of your new one, you won’t automatically have the same type of contract.

You’ll need to check what rules applied when you agreed your new contract. If you’re not sure how to do this, talk to an adviser.

If your landlord provides services for you

If your landlord needs to go into your room to provide services like cleaning or laundry, you’ll probably be an occupier with basic protection. Check your rights if you’re an occupier with basic protection.

If you’re still not sure what type of contract you have

You can talk to an adviser.

Your rental agreement started on or after 28 February 1997 but before 1 December 2022

You probably have a ‘standard occupation contract’.

When your rental agreement started, it was probably either:

  • an assured shorthold tenancy
  • an assured tenancy

Assured shorthold tenancies and assured tenancies have now been changed to standard contracts.

Check if you had an assured shorthold tenancy

You used to have an assured shorthold tenancy if you:

  • paid rent to a private landlord
  • didn't live in the same building as your landlord
  • had at least 1 room of your own that you didn't share with anyone else other than your partner, or a family member like your child
  • agreed to rent your home for a specific period of time - for example, 6 months or month by month

If you had a fixed-term assured shorthold tenancy, you now have a fixed-term standard contract. Fixed-term contracts have an end date.

If you had a periodic assured shorthold tenancy, you now have a periodic standard contract. Periodic contracts continue on a rolling basis, for example from month to month.

Check your rights if you have a standard contract.

Check if you had an assured tenancy

You used to have an assured tenancy if your landlord gave you a notice saying you don’t have an assured shorthold tenancy.

If you had an assured tenancy, you now have a standard contract.

Check your rights if you have a standard contract.

If you’re a student

You’ll probably have a standard contract if you either:

If you live in the same building as your landlord

You probably used to have an assured shorthold tenancy. You now have a standard contract.

You had an assured shorthold tenancy if either:

  • you and your landlord had separate flats in a purpose-built block of flats
  • your landlord had another home where they live most of the time

Check your rights if you have a standard contract.

You’ll probably be an excluded occupier if your landlord didn’t give you a notice saying you have a contract and both of these apply:

  • you share living space like a kitchen or living room with your landlord
  • your landlord was living in the property before you moved in

Check your rights if you’re an excluded occupier.

If you pay no rent

You’re probably an excluded occupier if both of these apply:

  • you don’t have to pay rent
  • your landlord didn’t give you a notice saying you have a contract

Check your rights if you’re an excluded occupier.

If your landlord gave you a notice saying you have a contract, you’re no longer an excluded occupier. Check your rights if you have a contract.

If you agreed to provide services like cleaning or childcare to your landlord instead of paying rent, you might have a contract. 

Check your rights if you have a contract.

If you took over the tenancy from someone else

You’ll probably have a contract - what type it is depends on what tenancy you took over.

You’ll need to check what type of tenancy the person you took it over from had. You can do this by looking at their tenancy agreement or finding out when it started.

You took over the tenancy from someone else if either:

  • you inherited a tenancy from someone who died - this is known as ‘succeeding’ to the tenancy
  • someone gave you the tenancy - this is known as having a tenancy ‘assigned’ to you

If you know what type of tenancy you took over, check what rights you have with your new rental agreement.

If you took over your tenancy from someone but you’re not sure what type it was, talk to an adviser.

If your landlord provides services for you

If your landlord needs to go into your room to provide services like cleaning or laundry, you’ll probably be an occupier with basic protection. Check your rights if you’re an occupier with basic protection.

If your landlord gave you a notice saying you have a contract, you’re no longer an occupier with basic protection. Check your rights if you have a contract.

If you’re still not sure what type of rental agreement you have

You can talk to an adviser.

Your rental agreement started on or after 15 January 1989 but before 28 February 1997

You probably have a ‘standard occupation contract’.

When your rental agreement started, it was probably either:

  • an assured shorthold tenancy
  • an assured tenancy

Assured shorthold tenancies and assured tenancies have now been changed to standard contracts.

Check if you had an assured shorthold tenancy

You probably had an assured shorthold tenancy if your landlord gave you a ‘section 20’ notice and you:

  • paid rent to a private landlord
  • didn't live in the same building as your landlord
  • had at least one room of your own that you didn't share with anyone else other than your partner, or a family member like your child
  • have agreed to rent your home for a specific period of time - for example, 6 months or month by month

If you had a fixed-term assured shorthold tenancy, you now have a fixed-term standard contract. Fixed-term contracts have an end date.

If you had a periodic assured shorthold tenancy, you now have a periodic standard contract. Periodic contracts continue on a rolling basis, for example from month to month.

Check your rights if you have a standard contract.

Check if you had an assured tenancy

You had an assured tenancy if:

  • your landlord didn’t give you a section 20 notice or it didn’t include the right information
  • your tenancy originally had a fixed term of less than 6 months
  • your tenancy had a break clause that let your landlord end it before 6 months

If you had an assured tenancy, you now have a standard contract.

Check your rights if you have a standard contract.

If your landlord provides services for you

If your landlord needs to go into your room to provide services like cleaning or laundry, you’ll probably be an occupier with basic protection. Check your rights if you’re an occupier with basic protection.

If your landlord gave you a notice saying you have a contract, you’re no longer an occupier with basic protection. Check your rights if you have a contract.

If you live in the same building as your landlord

You probably used to have an assured shorthold tenancy or assured tenancy. You now have a standard contract.

You probably had an assured shorthold tenancy if your landlord gave you a ‘section 20’ notice and either:

  • you and your landlord had separate flats in a purpose-built block of flats
  • your landlord had another home where they live most of the time

If your landlord didn’t give you a section 20 notice, you probably had an assured tenancy.

You’ll probably be an excluded occupier if both of these apply:

  • you share living space like a kitchen or living room with your landlord

  • your landlord was living in the property before you moved in

Check your rights if you’re an excluded occupier.

If your landlord gave you a notice saying you have a contract, you’re no longer an excluded occupier. Check your rights if you have a contract.

If you pay no rent

You’re probably an excluded occupier if both of these apply:

Check your rights if you’re an excluded occupier.

If you agreed to provide services like cleaning or childcare to your landlord instead of paying rent, you might be an occupier with basic protection. Check your rights if you’re an occupier with basic protection.

If your landlord gave you a notice saying you have a contract, you’re no longer an occupier with basic protection. Check your rights if you have a contract.

If you took over your tenancy from someone else

You’ll probably have a contract - what type it is depends on what tenancy you took over.

You’ll need to check what type of tenancy the person you took it from had.

You took over the tenancy from someone else if either:

  • you inherited a tenancy from someone who died - this is known as ‘succeeding’ to the tenancy
  • someone gave you the tenancy - this is known as having a tenancy ‘assigned’ to you

If you know what type of tenancy you took over, check what rights you have with your new rental agreement.

If you’re still not sure what type of tenancy it was, talk to an adviser.

If you’re still not sure what type of tenancy you have

You can talk to an adviser.

Your rental agreement started before 15 January 1989

You’ll probably be a protected tenant. This is sometimes known as a ‘regulated’ or ‘Rent Act’ tenant.

Protected tenants have more rights than other types of tenant - for example, it’s harder to make you leave your home and your rent will usually be lower.

You’ll probably be a protected tenant if you:

  • pay rent to a private landlord
  • don’t live in the same building as your landlord
  • have at least one room of your own that you don’t share with anyone else other than your partner, or a family member like your child
  • you’ve agreed to rent your home for a specific period of time - for example, 6 months or month by month

Check your rights if you’re a protected tenant.

You’ll usually lose your protected tenancy if you move out of your home.

If you think you have a protected tenancy and want to make sure you don’t lose it, talk to an adviser.

If your rent includes food or other services

If your rent includes food or other services like cleaning or laundry, you won’t normally be a protected tenant. You’ll have a restricted contract instead - this means you have fewer rights.

If you think you have a restricted contract, talk to an adviser.

If your landlord provides services for you

If your landlord needs to go into your room to provide services like cleaning or laundry, you’ll probably be an occupier with basic protection. Check your rights if you’re an occupier with basic protection.

If you live in the same building as your landlord

You’ll probably be a protected tenant if one of the following applies:

  • you and your landlord only share things like the bathroom, toilet, stairways and hallways
  • you and your landlord have separate flats in a purpose-built block
  • your landlord has another home where they live most of the time

Check your rights if you’re a protected tenant.

You’ll probably have a restricted contract if any of the following apply:

  • you and your landlord live in separate flats in a converted house
  • you share living space like a kitchen or a living room with your landlord

If you think you have a restricted contract or if your landlord used to live with you and has since moved out, talk to an adviser.

If you pay no rent or low rent

If you don’t have to pay rent, you’ll be an excluded occupier. Check your rights if you’re an excluded occupier.

If your landlord gave you a notice saying you have an occupation contract, you’re no longer an excluded occupier. Check your rights if you have a contract.

If you agree to provide services like cleaning or childcare to your landlord instead of paying rent, you might be an occupier with basic protection.

You might also be an occupier with basic protection if you pay low rent. The rules about how low your rent needs to be are complicated - talk to an adviser.

Check your rights if you’re an occupier with basic protection.

If your landlord gave you a notice saying you have a contract, you’re no longer an occupier with basic protection. Check your rights if you have a contract.

If you took over a rental agreement from someone else

You’ll probably have the same type of rental agreement as the person who you took it over from - you’ll need to check what type of tenancy they had.

This might have happened if:

  • you inherited a tenancy from someone who died - this is known as ‘succeeding’ to the tenancy
  • someone gave you the tenancy - this is known as having a tenancy ‘assigned’ to you

If you know what type of agreement you’ve taken over, check what rights you have with your new rental agreement.

If you took over your agreement from someone but you’re not sure what type of agreement it was, talk to an adviser.

Check your rights if you have a problem with your landlord or your home

When you know what type of private rental agreement you have, you can check your rights and your landlord’s responsibilities.

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