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Someone Other Than My Tenant Is Occupying My Property - What Are My Options?

on Tuesday, 28 January 2020.

Are you letting out your property and discovered that someone other than your tenant is occupying it? Then this is what you should consider.

Check Your Tenancy Agreement

A landlord will usually let out a residential property under a tenancy agreement. Sometimes the tenant will vacate the property, leaving behind someone else who is not named on the tenancy agreement.

The first thing to do is check what the tenancy agreement says. Most will limit the tenant's ability to assign or sublet the tenancy by requiring the landlord's consent to do so. If you did not consent to this occupation, then the occupation is unlawful.

If the occupier is the tenant's spouse or civil partner, they may be deemed to occupy on behalf of the absent tenant. However, if the occupier is just another family member or friend, you should consider the following options.

  • End the tenancy and take back possession
    You will need to serve a Section 8 notice and/or a Section 21 notice under the Housing Act 1988, depending on the circumstances.
    If the occupier does not leave the property by the date specified in the notice, you may then need to commence possession proceedings at court.
  • Accept the current occupier as a tenant
    Instead, you may wish to accept the current occupier by agreeing that the tenant assigned or sublet the tenancy to the occupier. It is important to think about returning any deposit you have taken from the previous tenant.
    It might even be easier to enter into a new tenancy agreement with the current occupier.

For specialist advice on your rights as a landlord, please contact Madeleine Wakeley in our Commercial Property team on 01923 919 315, or complete the form below.

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