- If you share accommodation with your landlord you are probably an ‘excluded occupier’
- Excluded occupiers do not have strong rights against eviction
This section explains the rights you have if you have a private landlord and you are an excluded occupier. It also explains how you can end your renting agreement and how your landlord can evict you.
Checking your status
You are likely to be an excluded occupier if:
- Your landlord lives at the property and you share any of the accommodation (such as a kitchen, bathroom or living room) 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.
- you live in a hostel or refuge
If you are not sure of your status, get help.
However, if any of the above apply to you but you received notice from your landlord that you have a standard contract you might have stronger rights. If you have not received this kind of notice, then you are probably a ‘licensee ‘or ‘common law tenant’. It is best to have a renting agreement in writing but even if your agreement is verbal it can still be legally binding.
Your renting agreement might be for a set period such as six months (this is known as a fixed term agreement). Or it might roll on a week to week or month to month basis (this is known as a periodic agreement).
The rights of excluded occupiers
If you are an excluded occupier you have very few rights, and it is easy 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 and your landlord agree the rent. 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.
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 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 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 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.
You can find out more about repairs here.
Passing on your tenancy
You have no rights to sublet or pass on your tenancy other than those set out in your 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 or license can be ended
Your tenancy or license will continue until it is ended by you or your landlord.
This can happen by:
A ‘surrender’ means that you and your landlord both agree to end the agreement. If a surrender is agreed it’s always best to put it in writing, including any conditions, so everyone knows where they stand. If you have a joint tenancy or license then all the occupiers and the landlord must agree to the surrender. Get your landlord’s agreement in writing if possible to avoid problems later.
You give notice to end the agreement
If you have a periodic agreement you have to give whatever notice is specified in your agreement, or ‘reasonable notice’, which is usually the same as one rental period (i.e. one week, if you pay the rent weekly).
The notice should end on the first or last day of the rental period, unless your tenancy agreement says otherwise. For example, if you pay rent monthly and the agreement started on the 5th of the month, you can give the landlord notice which ends on the 4th or the 5th. Once the notice ends you no longer have any right to live in your home.
If you have a fixed term agreement you will only be able to give notice during the fixed term if your agreement allows. The length of notice you have to give depends on what your agreement says. It is also possible to leave on the day your fixed term ends without giving any notice.
Your landlord evicts 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. Your landlord does not have to get a court order, but it is a criminal offence for your landlord to use or threaten violence while evicting you.
For more information, see our advice about eviction of excluded occupiers .