Sharing possession and sharing occupation
Sharing possession and sharing occupation

The following Property Disputes practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Sharing possession and sharing occupation
  • Possession
  • Occupation

'Possession' and 'occupation' are not interchangeable expressions. A covenant in a lease that forbids parting with possession is not broken by a tenant who, in law, retains possession, even though the tenant allows another to use and occupy the premises.


Possession includes the right to receive rents and income from a property. There is no parting with possession by a tenant unless the person allowed into occupation by the tenant has the right to exclude all others, including the tenant, from the premises. Thus, in Reiner v Triplark, a tenant parted with possession by assigning the lease, even though the assignment had not been registered at HM Land Registry and so the legal title remained vested in the tenant. The assignee had taken control of the premises and had the right to exclude all others from the premises.

In the case of a prohibition on sharing possession, possession is interpreted in the same strict way and does not include, and therefore does not prevent, sharing occupation. A covenant against sharing possession prevents the conversion of a tenancy to a single lessee into a joint tenancy. It is not the same as a covenant against sharing occupation which has a wider mea

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