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Service occupiers: security of tenure

This content applies to England

Security of tenure for service occupiers.

A service occupancy lasts as long as the employee is required to stay in occupation, and when the employment is terminated, the employee must leave the premises. The employer is not required by section 5 of the Protection From Eviction Act 1977 to serve a notice,[1] but section 3 of that Act does apply, so that if the employee fails to leave, the employer can only evict with the benefit of a court order - unless the service occupier is also an excluded occupier (see the section on Who is an excluded occupier).

Where there is a written agreement relating to the property, this may contain terms about leaving the premises and/or a requirement for a notice to quit. In any event, whether an employee can be required to move out during the period of her/his employment, and whether there is any right to remain after the contract is terminated, mainly depends on the employment contract and on employment law.

The High Court, in a case concerning the eviction of a school caretaker following the termination of his contract of employment, held that his exclusion from security of tenure as a service occupier of a local authority did not constitute unlawful discrimination under article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.[2]

[1] Norris v Checksfield (1991) 23 HLR 425, CA.

[2] Hertfordshire CC v Davies [2017] EWHC 1488 (QB).

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