The Housing Act 1996 abolished the rule for all new tenancies commencing on or after 27 February 1997 to be of a minimum 6 month duration, by inserting a new section into the Housing Act 1988 (s19a). This meant that landlords could grant a periodic tenancy from the outset.

During the first 6 months of a tenancy, if the tenant feels the rent is too high, they have the right to apply to a Rent Assessment Committee to apply for a rent assessment.
This an independent committee and can change the rent if they consider it unfair by lowering it, raising it, or making no change by agreeing with it.

Note: Before 28th February 1997, applying for a rent assessment used to be allowed at any time throughout the tenancy.

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