Occupiers with basic protection
This section explains the rights you have if you have a private landlord and you are an occupier with basic protection. 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 occupier with basic protection if:
- you live in the same building as your landlord but you do not share living accommodation with your landlord or
- you live in a student hall of residence or
- you pay a very low rent or a very high rent.
It can be difficult to work out if you are an occupier with basic protection. Get advice if you are not sure of your status.
Your tenancy might be for a 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 occupiers with basic protection
If you are an occupier with basic protection you have very few tenancy rights. It is important to remember how easy it is for your landlord to evict you. Because of this, it may be difficult for you to get repairs done or challenge rent increases.
You pay the rent that you agreed with your landlord. If you don’t pay your rent your landlord can evict you (see below). If you pay rent weekly your landlord has to provide a rent book.
Your 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 do not 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. This includes:
- 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 your landlord to carry out the work.
Passing your tenancy on to someone else
You have no rights to sublet or pass on your accommodation unless this is specifically set out in your tenancy agreement. If you attempt to pass your accommodation 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 one months’ notice in writing (or longer if you pay your rent less often). The notice should end on the day that your rent is due. 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.
Protection from eviction
To evict you your landlord need only serve a valid notice then get a possession order from the courts.
Our page on eviction of occupiers with basic protection explains more.
If your landlord tries to evict you without getting a court order it may be a criminal offence. Your local council should help if you have been illegally evicted or harassed by your landlord.