This section explains the rights you have if you have a private landlord and you are an excluded occupier. It covers the rights you have to live in your home and get repairs done. It also explains how you can end your tenancy and how your landlord can evict you.
Checking your status
You are likely to be an excluded occupier if:
- you share accommodation with your landlord or
- you live in the same building as your landlord and share accommodation with a member of your landlord’s family or
- you are living in your accommodation for a holiday
- you do not pay any rent for your accommodation.
It can be difficult to work out if you are an excluded occupier. Get advice if you are not sure of your status.
Your tenancy might be for set period such as six months (this is known as a fixed term tenancy). Or it might roll on a week to week or month to month basis (this is known as a periodic tenancy).
The rights of excluded occupiers
If you are an excluded occupier you have very few tenancy rights. It is important to remember how easy it is for your landlord to evict you. Because of that it might be difficult for you to get repairs done or resist rent increases.
As an excluded occupier your only right is to stay until your landlord asks you to go or for as long as your written agreement says. Your landlord can evict you by giving you reasonable notice (which can be verbal) and doesn’t need a court order.
You pay the rent that you agreed with your landlord. If you don’t pay your rent your landlord can evict you. If you pay rent weekly your landlord has to provide a rent book.
You and your landlord agree the rent. The landlord cannot increase the rent during the fixed term unless you agree to the increase. If you are a periodic occupier your landlord can increase the rent at any time. You don’t have the right to have the rent level set by a rent officer or rent assessment committee.
The law says your landlord has to keep the structure and exterior of the property in good repair.
- the roof
walls (but this doesn’t include internal decoration)
- windows and doors.
Your landlord must also keep the equipment for the supply of gas, electricity, heating, water and sanitation in good repair. Your landlord may have extra responsibilities to repair depending on what your tenancy agreement says.
You are responsible for looking after the property. This might include unblocking a sink or changing a fuse when necessary. You may also have other responsibilities depending on what your tenancy agreement says.
Your landlord must have a valid gas safety certificate for any gas appliances in the property. Any furniture provided should be fire resistant.
If your accommodation needs repairs inform your landlord or agent. If the repairs are your landlord’s responsibility and are not done there may be ways you can force or encourage your landlord to carry out the work.
Passing on your tenancy
You have no rights to sublet or pass on your tenancy other than any that are set out in your agreement. If you attempt to pass your tenancy to someone else under any other circumstances your landlord can evict you and the person you attempt to pass the tenancy on to.
How your tenancy can be ended
Your tenancy will continue until it is ended by you or your landlord.
This can happen by:
- you and your landlord agreeing to end the tenancy (known as surrender)
- you serving a valid notice
- your landlord taking action to evict you (see below).
It is possible for a tenancy to be surrendered at any time. Get your landlord’s agreement in writing if possible to avoid problems later.
If you have a periodic tenancy you have to give whatever notice is specified in your agreement, or ‘reasonable notice’, which is usually the same as one rental period (ie one week, if you pay the rent weekly). The notice should end on the first or last day of the period of a tenancy, unless your tenancy agreement says otherwise. For example, if your tenancy is monthly and started on the 5th of the month, you can give the landlord notice which expires (ends) on the 4th or the 5th. Check with an adviser if you have any doubts about the dates. Once the notice ends your tenancy ends and you no longer have any right to live in your home.
If you have a fixed term tenancy you will only be able to give notice during the fixed term if your tenancy agreement says it is allowed. The length of notice you have to give depends on what your tenancy agreement says. It is also possible to leave on the day your tenancy ends without giving any notice.
What the landlord has to do to evict you
Your landlord can evict you once you have been given reasonable notice. The notice can be given verbally. You have to leave once the notice expires. However it is a criminal offence for your landlord to use or threaten violence while evicting you.
Our page on eviction of excluded occupiers gives more advice.