Q&As

Does a tenant have any claim against their landlord if, without the tenant’s knowledge, the tenant’s lease was created by an unlawful subletting by the landlord?

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Published on LexisPSL on 04/05/2021

The following Property Disputes Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Does a tenant have any claim against their landlord if, without the tenant’s knowledge, the tenant’s lease was created by an unlawful subletting by the landlord?

Does a tenant have any claim against their landlord if, without the tenant’s knowledge, the tenant’s lease was created by an unlawful subletting by the landlord?

The answer to this question will depend on the exact situation that presents itself. The first point to note is that, in general terms, the relationship of landlord and tenant is a contractual one. Therefore for a tenant to make a claim against their landlord (or landlord’s estate) they would need to show that they had suffered a loss of some sort.

The main difficulty with such a claim is that at common law a tenant is entitled to call for and inspect their landlord’s own lease (Hill v Harris). Therefore, a tenant is normally assumed to have constructive notice of the terms of the landlord’s lease.

This makes it difficult for a tenant to assert that the unlawful subletting occurred without their knowledge.

If the landlord has encouraged the loss of the tenant’s use of the property, then they

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