Occupiers with basic protection
- ‘Occupiers with basic protection’ have fewer rights against eviction than standard or secure contract-holders
- Your landlord needs to serve a valid notice and get a court order to evict you
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
It can be difficult to work out if you are an occupier with basic protection. You could be an occupier with basic protection if:
- You live in temporary accommodation and have been given a common law tenancy
- You live in supported accommodation and have been given a common law tenancy
- You live in a care institution and have been given a common law tenancy
This is not a complete list of situations where you could be an occupier with basic protection. Get help if you are unsure.
If any of the above apply to you but you received notice from your landlord that you have a standard occupation contract you might have stronger rights. If you have received this kind of notice you should be given a written statement of your occupation contract. If you have not received this kind of notice, then you are probably an occupier with basic protection or an excluded occupier. 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).
It can be difficult to work out if you are an occupier with basic protection, so get help if you are unsure.
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.
Your rent should always be your top financial priority as you could lose your home if you get into rent arrears. If you are claiming benefits or have a low income, you may be able to claim housing benefit or Universal Credit housing costs to help with the rent.
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.
Find out more about repairs here.
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 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.
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, but must not be less that 4 weeks’ notice. 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 1 months’ notice which ends on the 4th or the 5th. Check with an adviser if you are unsure. 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 by giving you the notice is specified in your agreement, but this must not be less that 4 weeks’ notice. The notice should be in writing and in the form of a ‘notice to quit’.
Protection from eviction
To evict you your landlord needs to then get a possession order from the courts. They do not need to provide a reason for the eviction to the courts.
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.