A contractual residential tenancy in which the tenant has the right to a fair rent and security of tenure. Protected tenancies have been replaced by assured tenancies under the Housing Act 1988, but protected tenancies already in existence continue to have the same protection as before. To qualify as a protected tenancy, the premises must be let as a separate dwelling that is within certain rateable value limits and must have been created before the Housing Act 1988 came into force (15 January 1989). There are some exceptions, including lettings to students, holiday lettings, local authority housing, and lettings in which the rent includes payment for board or attendance. If a landlord wishes to terminate a protected tenancy he must first terminate the contractual tenancy in the usual way (see notice to quit). A statutory tenancy then comes into existence and the landlord can obtain possession only by a court order. To do this he must have suitable grounds, such as nonpayment of rent, provision of suitable alternative accommodation for the tenant, or if the landlord needs the property for himself or one of his family to live in.
There were formerly two kinds of protected tenancy: controlled and regulated. All controlled tenancies have now been converted into regulated tenancies. (See converted tenancy.) Furnished tenancies have the same protection as unfurnished tenancies, but they are more likely to fall within one of the exceptions to protection. See also assured shorthold tenancy; secure tenancy; restricted contract.