Q&As

If a tenant is in occupation of a flat but has not signed a tenancy agreement, how does this affect the landlord’s ability to terminate the tenancy and obtain possession?

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Produced in partnership with Mark O’Grady of Lamb Chambers
Published on LexisPSL on 27/07/2018

The following Property Disputes Q&A produced in partnership with Mark O’Grady of Lamb Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • If a tenant is in occupation of a flat but has not signed a tenancy agreement, how does this affect the landlord’s ability to terminate the tenancy and obtain possession?

If a tenant is in occupation of a flat but has not signed a tenancy agreement, how does this affect the landlord’s ability to terminate the tenancy and obtain possession?

A lease for three years or less, provided that it is at a market rent, may be created orally. A lease for more than three years can only be made by deed. In law, a tenancy agreement is simply another term for a lease. It is assumed that the sort of period that is being referred to in this Q&A is for the grant of a typical tenancy period (eg 12 months), which is for three years or less.

In order for a tenancy to exist, the terms must be ascertainable, for example by reference to a conversation with the landlord or agent; by an exchange of emails; or by reference to a written agreement signed either only by the landlord, or by neither party (eg in draft form). There is no issue that such an agreement can be made orally.

On the part of the tenant, there must be an obligation to pay rent. On the landlord’s part, they must give possession of the property to the tenant. The scenario described suggests that the terms of the tenancy agreement have been agreed, and that the only ‘snag’ is that the

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