Q&As

A company is a tenant under a common law tenancy. Is it possible for that tenant to sublet by way of an assured shorthold tenancy or grant a service tenancy or occupancy?

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Published on LexisPSL on 16/11/2017

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  • A company is a tenant under a common law tenancy. Is it possible for that tenant to sublet by way of an assured shorthold tenancy or grant a service tenancy or occupancy?

This question raises the circumstances in which a tenancy will enjoy the protection of the Housing Act 1988 (HA 1988). A tenancy with such protection will be an ‘assured tenancy’.

HA 1988, s 1 helpfully sets out when a tenancy will be an assured tenancy. It is helpful to break the definition into its constituent parts. First, there must be a tenancy, rather than a licence. The grant of exclusive occupation is key—Street v Mountford. Second, there must be a dwellinghouse let as a separate dwelling. In most cases, there will be an identifiable flat or house so that the position is clear. The House of Lords considered the meaning of dwellinghouse in Uratemp Ventures Limited v Collins, concluding that a room in a hotel which lacked its own cooking facilities and shared bathroom facilities with others could constitute a dwellinghouse for the purposes of HA 1988. As the ordinary dictionary definition of the word conveyed the idea of a place where someone lived, it followed that a bed-sitting room could be a dwellinghouse. It was a question of fact in each case.

Third, the tenant, or in the case of joint tenants each of them, must be an individual. This excludes the possibility of a company being an assured tenant

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