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Tag Archives: Eviction

Licenses – when do you need a court order for possession?

Evicting without a court orderThere is a lot of confusion about licenses and tenancies and when you need a court order for possession and when you don’t.

So lets take a look at this.

The Protection from Eviction Act 1977

The relevant statute here is the Protection from Eviction Act.  This is the act which says that you must get a court order for possession before evicting ANY residential occupier.

Apart from those set out in section 3A.

So, I hear you asking – what does section 3A say?

Section 3A sets out a list of ‘excluded occupiers’ to whom the requirement to get a court order does not apply.  Read on …

Excluded occupiers

Here are the items set out in s3A, rendered into ordinary speech.

1. Lodgers.

This is when a tenant or licensee (so it can be a tenant too) shares living accommodation with their landlord AND the landlord was living at the property ‘as his only or principal home premises’ both before and at the end of the occupation agreement.

Note that the living accommodation must be ‘proper’ living accommodation, such as a bathroom or living room.  Cupboards, staircases and corridors don’t count.

It may also be an excluded tenancy or license if the occupier shares with a member of the landlords family rather than the landlord himself.

Note that I discuss the procedure for evicting lodgers in my Lodger Landlord website.

2. Trespassers

If you allow a trespasser to stay ‘as a temporary expedient‘.  (And of course if they are just trespassers and you have not agreed anything with them at all – but then they won’t have a license or tenancy).

So if you say to a squatter you find sheltering from the storm in your outhouse “All right, you can stay there for tonight, but be off in the morning” you won’t have to get a court order to remove them if they then refuse to go “because you said I could stay here”.

3. Holiday accommodation

What the statute actually says is if your agreement ‘confers on the tenant or licensee the right to occupy the premises for a holiday only‘.  I’m not sure what the situation is if the occupier said he was on holiday but actually wasn’t.

Presumably the landlord will need to evict him quick if he finds out otherwise if he is allowed to stay he may acquire a proper tenancy and the right to evict without a court order will be lost.

4. Free accommodation

Or to quote the statute, if the license or tenancy is ‘granted otherwise than for money or money’s worth‘.

So if they don’t pay you any money but provide you with something else – free widgets or do some sort of work for you, it won’t apply.  Because that will be ‘money’s worth’.

5. Other things

These are

  • tenancies and licenses ‘granted in order to provide accommodation under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999‘, and
  • Various types of hostel provided by organisations authorised under the act.

And thats it

If the accommodation does not fit into any of those categories, you need to get a court order for possession.

If you want to check it out for yourself, the section is here.

Note – if the occupier in YOUR property does not fit into any of these categories, then you may need to get some advice.  The Landlord Law services may be able to help.

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

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