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The assured tenancy was the replacement for the protected tenancy introduced by the housing act (1988). Don't be fooled by the name: the 'protected' in 'protected tenancy' and the 'assured' in 'assured tenancy' do not refer to the same person. The main purpose of a protected tenancy under the rent act (1977) was to protect the tenant; the assured tenancy assured the landlord of his ability to recover the property, and to charge a market rent. After 1989, the assured tenancy was to be assumed whenever a dwelling house was let to a private individual as his home.
Although the assured tenancy offered less protection to the tenant than the protected tenancy, it did offer some. In general, the landlord could not evict the tenant so long as he continued to pay rent, even when the original term expired. When this new legislation did not result in the desired recovery of the rental housing market, the housing act (1996) tipped the balance very much further in the favour of the landlord, and created the assured shorthold tenancy, which in some particulars is little more than a licence.