Tenant's Toolkit

Lodging and Subletting

Excluded occupier

Excluded occupiers are lodgers, meaning they share some portion of their property with the landlord or a member of their family.You are an excluded occupier if you:

  • Share accommodation with your landlord
  • Live in the same building as your landlord and share accommodation with a member of your landlord’s family
  • Live in a B&B accommodation
  • Do not pay rent
  • Don’t share your living space (e.g. the bedroom you rent)

Excluded occupier tenancy agreements have both a fixed and a periodic term, though many times the fixed term is symbolic. However, if you do have a fixed term, you have a relative protection from eviction and rent increases.

During a periodic tenancy, those rights are negated and the landlord can simply ask you to leave with a sufficient period of time to arrange your move. There is no requirement for them to serve you a written notice or go to court to evict you.

If you paid a deposit, the landlord is not required to protect it and all deposit disputes and deductions are decided between you and your landlord.

Occupier with basic protection

Occupier with basic protections share the same building with their landlords but have a separate accommodation. If you’re an occupier with basic protection, you are not a lodger.You can be an occupier with basic protection if you:

  • Live in the same building with your landlord
  • Have a separate accommodation and don’t share facilities like the kitchen or bathroom with your landlord
  • Live in a student hall or residence
  • Pay a high rent – £100,000 per annum

Tenants who are occupiers with basic protection have more rights than excluded occupiers. The landlord cannot evict you by merely asking. Instead, they need to go through the full eviction procedure, starting with a Section 21 notice with two months of time and then following up with a court order.

Accordingly, tenants can use a one month’s notice to end their periodic tenancy or ask the landlord’s permission to terminate a fixed term tenancy and move out early.

The landlord needs to give you the gas safety certificate for the property, which is only valid for 12 months and then needs to be remade by a Gas Safe Registered engineer. They also need to make sure the fire safety standards for the furniture and furnishings are met, as well as ensure good electrical safety on all outlets and appliances.

Major repairs and renovations are a legal obligation of the landlord and tenants cannot be asked for a contribution to their costs, unless they have caused damage to deteriorate their condition.

Of course, tenants are in charge of daily maintenance and small repairs such as replacing smoke detector batteries or a burned out fuse.

Occupiers with basic protection have no right to pass on their tenancy to a relative or a family member, regardless of the situation.

Subtenants

A subtenant doesn’t rent from the original landlord of the property. Instead, they rent from another tenant.

When somebody rents a property from their landlord, sometimes, they can rent out parts or the entire accommodation to another person, instead of terminating the contract.

The original tenant becomes an immediate landlord to the subtenant and has the same responsibilities as a real landlord would. Your tenancy is valid so long as theirs is, but if they get evicted, most probably you will be too, unless you can agree with the actual property owner.

You can have a wide variety of tenancies and tenancy agreements, depending on the exact situation in which you became a subtenant.

For example, if you live with the original tenant in the property, you’re most likely a lodger with an excluded occupier tenancy.

Otherwise, if you rent the property for half an year, while the original tenant is away, you most likely have an assured shorthold tenancy.

Your rights and responsibilities will depend on the exact tenancy agreement you use, so check that first.

If you’re a subtenant, you should check if the original tenant gained the landlord’s permission to sublet the property. If they haven’t and the original landlord finds out, both you and the original tenant will most likely be evicted. Make sure that doesn’t happen to you and that you know who the real landlord and building owner is.

If you’re a subtenant or want to sublet the property you’re renting, read The Tenant’s Voice’s guide here.