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Rent Act Tenancies

5.11 Rent Act Tenancies

Some types of tenancy do not fall within the statutory code set up by the
Housing Act 1988 and different rules for possession apply in these cases.
These are mainly tenancies which are protected under the Rent Act 1977
and contractual tenancies (for example residential lettings to companies or where the annual rent exceeds £25,000). These can be complex and a
landlord should obtain specialist legal help.

Rent Act tenants are very difficult to evict, as they have long term security
of tenure. Generally they can only be evicted if they are in arrears of rent
or if suitable alternative accommodation is provided for them.

If a Rent Act Tenant is in Arrears of Rent

It is possible to bring proceedings for possession on the basis of non-
payment of rent. If bringing these proceedings there is no need to serve
any form of notice on the tenant first (although it is advisable to warn
the tenant that possession proceedings are imminent if they do not pay).
However, the judge has unlimited powers to suspend or stay the order as
they think fit.

If a Rent Act Tenant is not in Arrears of Rent

The only other eviction ground which has any chance of success is that
suitable alternative accommodation is available to the tenant. Note that
the accommodation must be on a protected tenancy (which it will be if
the suggested accommodation is to be provided by the same landlord)
or equivalent (if provided by another landlord). Offering a tenancy on an
assured shorthold basis will not be sufficient.

There is a lot of case law on the question of “suitable alternative
accommodation” and a landlord considering using this ground is advised to
seek legal advice, certainly before buying any replacement property.