Check Your Occupation Type – Private
You will not have a tenancy but a residential license. This means that you will not have the same rights as tenants do.
For more information on the differences between tenancies and licenses (and also an explanation of ‘exclusive occupation’ and the case of Street v. Mountford) – see the article here.
Landlords, often in HMOs and in ‘rent to rent’ situations (ie where someone rents a property specifically to sublet it out, sometimes without the property owners knowledge or permission), will often tell occupiers that they have a license when in fact, in law they have a tenancy. These ‘sham licenses’ are unlawful and there have been successful prosecutions based on this.
Sometimes this is a deliberate deception by the landlord. However, sometimes it is down to the landlord’s ignorance of the law.
Usually, the deciding factor is whether you have ‘exclusive occupation’. For example, even if your tenancy agreement says that your landlord is entitled to enter your rented property, eg to provide cleaning services, if in fact this never happens, then in most cases, you will have a tenancy.
This was settled in the landmark House of Lords decision in Street v. Mountford in 1985.
Lodgers have fewer rights that most licensees as they are living in their landlords own home. For example, the landlord does not need to get a court order for possession, so long as they are not acting in breach of the terms of the lodger’s contract.
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