Sub-occupation contracts

What is a sub- occupation contract? 

  • A sub-occupation contract is a renting agreement made with a landlord who is also a contract-holder with another landlord
  • The sub-occupation contract will relate to all or part of the property
  • If you have a sub-occupation contract you are a  ‘sub-holder’. Your landlord is the ‘contract-holder’ and their landlord is the  ‘head landlord’. 

Am I a sub-contract holder? 

If you are renting a whole property from someone who has renting agreement with a head landlord, then you may are probably a sub-holder. If you are renting only a room in your landlord’s home then you may be a lodger. It will depend on what was agreed. If you are unsure, get help.

What do I need to know before I enter into a sub-occupation contract? 

Before you can enter in to a sub-occupation contract, the contract holder will probably need to get consent from their landlord.  

If the contract-holder’s landlord consents but only on certain conditions, the contract-holder must notify you of those conditions before you enter into the contract. The sub-occupation contract must set out these conditions.  

What if the conditions aren’t complied with ?  

If the conditions of the head landlord’s consent are not complied with, then the head landlord may choose to treat the sub-occupation contract as a periodic standard contract. The head landlord must notify both you and the contract-holder within 2 months.

You may be able to end the sub-occupation contract if your landlord has not complied with the conditions. It can be difficult to work out what your rights are as a sub-holder, so get help if you aren’t sure.

What rights do I have as a sub-occupation contract holder? 

You will have the same rights as other contract-holders. 

You have the right to: 

  • be given a written contract. This should include any conditions that were  required by the head landlord. If these are not in your contract or incorrect you can apply to court to correct your contract. 
  • Claim housing benefit to cover the rent 
  • Occupy the rooms that you have exclusive use of, without interference from other people (including the contract-holder and the head landlord)  
  • Get repairs done 

I am a contract-holder and want to take in a sub-holder, what should I know? 

If you are in receipt of housing benefit and are subletting part of your home, the first £20 of your weekly income from the sub-occupier is ignored. 

Any income you receive from your sub-holder might affect your other benefits.  It is therefore best to get advice before you agree to sub-let. 

If you live on your own, subletting a room in your home means you will lose the 25 percent single person discount on your council tax. There may be some exceptions, say if the sub-occupier is a full-time student.

To find out about amny other things to consider if you are thinking about sub-letting part of your home, please read our advice here.

What happens if your landlord’s contract with the head landlord ends? 

You can continue to live in the accommodation as long as the immediate landlord has the right to stay there (i.e. as long as her/his contract continues, or as long as s/he owns the property). 

However, if her/his contract ends, or the property is being repossessed by a mortgage lender, then your rights depend on: 

  • what type of contract the contract-holder has 
  • what their agreement says about subletting or taking in lodgers  
  • whether the head landlord agreed to you living there. 

If the sub-occupation contract is in force immediately before the head contract ends, then the sub-occupation contract may continue as an occupation contract and the contract-holders rights and responsibilities as a landlord are transferred to the head landlord.  

If the head landlord accepts rent directly from you, then you may well have more rights. By accepting rent the head landlord may be admitting that you have a right to live in the accommodation. This is a complicated area of law so get help if you are in this situation. 

Will I lose my home if there is a possession claim against the contract holder? 

If the head landlord takes possession proceedings against the contract holder (who is your landlord) then the head landlord must give you notice of this action. 

If the head landlord follows the correct procedure, then they can also apply to the court for a possession order against you.  

If you are in this situation, get help immediately.

What procedure should the head landlord follow for possession? 

You must have been served with a notice by the head landlord. You must also be provided with a notice stating that the head landlord intends to apply for an extended possession order and that you as a sub-holder have the right to be party to the proceedings against the contract holder. 

The court will only grant an extended possession order if it grants a possession order against the contract holder. 

If you receive a notice and are unsure of your rights, get help immediately. 

Did you find this helpful?

Rydym yn ymddiheuro na fedrwn ddarparu’r wybodaeth yma yn Gymraeg, ond os hoffech siarad ag ymgynghorydd yn Gymraeg yna cysylltwch ar 08000 495 495.
We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

This page was last updated on: May 11, 2023

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.