Q&As

Where an adult family member is sharing occupation of property as an informal licensee (without exclusive possession or payment of rent), how can possession be obtained? Can the locks be changed after serving notice to quit? If proceedings are preferred, would trespasser proceedings be appropriate?

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Published on LexisPSL on 15/04/2020

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

  • Where an adult family member is sharing occupation of property as an informal licensee (without exclusive possession or payment of rent), how can possession be obtained? Can the locks be changed after serving notice to quit? If proceedings are preferred, would trespasser proceedings be appropriate?

Where an adult family member is sharing occupation of property as an informal licensee (without exclusive possession or payment of rent), how can possession be obtained? Can the locks be changed after serving notice to quit? If proceedings are preferred, would trespasser proceedings be appropriate?

It is not uncommon that a family member will move into a property owned (or let) by another, on an informal basis. That incoming family member may make contributions to the property whether towards rent, bills or otherwise. In most such circumstances, there will be no formal arrangement or documentation.

As is clear from Street v Mountford, a tenancy may arise where there is exclusive possession for a term. Therefore, if, for example, the property included a self-contained annex or flat, and the family member had exclusive possession of those separate premises, there would be a good argument to suggest that a tenancy (or, as appropriate, a sub-tenancy) had been created. However, where there is no exclusive possession, as will ordinarily be the case where a family member has moved into a room, it is unlikely that a tenancy will have arisen.

It is more likely that the occupation by the family member is by way of licence. It should be noted

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