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Mesne profits – what is it?

Mesne profits are paid after a court order is madeMesne profits

Mesne profits is a funny old phrase, and a bit confusing.

First of all, pronunciation.  You say meene (rhyming with clean), not mez nay.

But what are mesne profits?  Well its a way of avoiding the rule that if you accept rent it implies that there is, or creates, a tenancy, and is most commonly used  for payments made after a court order for possession has been made against the tenant.

This payment is often now referred to as an occupation payment or charge.

The other important use, is where something has happened to end a tenancy, for example in a common law tenancy the tenant has had a notice to quit served on him, or has done something which will entitle the landlord to forfeit the tenancy.

The landlord will not want to prejudice his right to recover possession in those circumstances, so the tenant will be told that any payments received will be accepted as mesne profits, and should not be taken as an intention to create a new tenancy.

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3 Responses to Mesne profits – what is it?

  1. Hi Tessa

    We have served a tenant with a S21 notice which expired early April as she was owing some rent. She asked if she could stay and we agreed to allow occupancy on the mesne rent basis as we didn’t want to negate our S21 notice. We sent a letter confirming that providing keys are returned on xyz date, we will not take court action for possession. We also cofirmed in said letter that mesne rent will be due for period xyz amounting to xyz. Is this ok and what happens if she doesn’t pay the rent? Perhaps I should have asked before doing the letter! Thanks for your help? Regards Sandy

  2. Mesne profits is not really relevant to s21 as a section 21 notice does not actually end the tenancy. It just allows the landlord to claim possession in possession proceedings. The tenancy does not end until this is done (or until the tenancy is ended in some other way).

    So you will not prejudice your claim for possession under s21 by accepting rent.

    • Thank you Tessa, that’s a relief. I thought perhaps there was a chance we created confusing and in turn a new tenancy. You’re help is invaluable to the likes of us. Thank you.



About the post author:

Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is a lawyer and specialises in creating products and services which help landlords and letting agents learn and understand landlord & tenant law. For example, she runs the Landlord Law website (now in its 14th year) and is a director of Easy Law Training Ltd and Your Law Store. Tessa also sits on the Property Redress Scheme Council. When not working she enjoys reading, cooking and messing around on the computer. You can also find her on Google

The Landlord Law Blog from Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is an English lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law.

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