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Check Your Occupation Type – Private

Answer 2:

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.


Sham licenses

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. 

If after reading our article, you are still confused about whether you have a tenancy or not, you can use our telephone advice service or one of the organisations in our further advice services page.


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.  

Would you like to speak to a solicitor about this?

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