Occupiers with basic protection

Find out if your tenancy type means you're an occupier with basic protection and how this affects your rights

What does 'basic protection' mean?

Basic protection means basic protection from eviction

Your landlord can't evict you unless they get a court order. But they don't need to give the court a reason why they want the property back.

If you have a rolling or periodic agreement, they will also have to give you a legal notice called a 'notice to quit'.

If you have a fixed term agreement, they can apply to court without notice if you stay there after the fixed term ends.

Occupiers with basic protection have fewer rights than most other tenants.

The longer notice periods during coronavirus do not apply to occupiers with basic protection but your landlord still needs to apply to court to evict you.

Evictions by court bailiffs are on hold until after 31 May 2021.

Who is an occupier with basic protection?

The legal term covers a few different types of tenancy or occupancy agreement.

The most common situations where you could be an occupier with basic protection are:

  • you're a property guardian

  • you're a student in halls of residence

  • your employer provides the accommodation

  • your landlord lives in the same building but in a separate flat

Some people living in hostels or hotels under a contractual licence agreement will also have basic protection from eviction.

Property guardians

You have the right to a court order before you can be evicted.

You may be able to argue that you have an assured shorthold tenancy in some cases. For example, if you live alone in the property or have a room with a lock on your door and no one else comes in.

Students in halls of residence

You have basic protection if you live in university owned halls of residence.

If you live in halls of residence owned by a private company, you could have an assured shorthold tenancy if you have a lock on the room and no one is allowed to come into your room.

If services such as cleaning of the room are provided, then you may only have basic protection.

Your employer provides the accommodation

You will usually have basic protection from eviction if you have to live in the accommodation as a requirement of your job unless you live there rent free or your employer also lives there.

Find out more about accommodation that comes with your job.

Your landlord lives in the same building

You will have basic protection from eviction if it's a house or building that has been converted into separate flats and your landlord live in a different flat in the building.

You're likely to have an assured shorthold tenancy if it's a purpose built block of flats.

But you have fewer rights if you're a lodger who shares living space with your landlord. For example, a kitchen, bathroom or living room.

Hallways, landings, stairs and storage areas don't count as shared living space.

Your renting agreement

If you rent from a private landlord who lives in the building, you will usually have a tenancy unless the agreement allows for access by the landlord for services, such as cleaning.

If you have a tenancy, your landlord can't come into your home without permission and is responsible for most repairs. You could have additional rights or responsibilities written into your agreement.

Property guardians, students in halls of residence and people who have to live in tied accommodation connected to their job are more likely to have licence agreements.

Your main rights and responsibilities should be written in your agreement.

How your landlord can end the agreement

Your written agreement could be either a:

  • rolling or periodic agreement

  • fixed term agreement

If you don’t have a written agreement you will usually have a rolling or periodic agreement.

Rolling or periodic agreements

These don't have a set end date. Your landlord must give you a legal 'notice to quit'.

A landlord's notice to quit must give at least:

  • 1 month's notice if your rent is due monthly

  • 4 weeks' notice if your rent is due weekly

It must end on the first or last day of the tenancy period.

It must contain certain information about the landlord getting a possession order before eviction and the tenant getting advice about their rights.

Your landlord must apply to court if you don't leave after the notice period.

Fixed term agreements

Your landlord can only give you notice to leave during your fixed term if there's a break clause in your agreement.

Check the wording of any break clause to see if it allows you to give notice too, or if it can only be used where you break your agreement.

Break clauses in fixed term agreements must be fairly worded for both landlord and tenants or they can't be used.

Your tenancy or licence will end at the end of the fixed term unless you and the landlord extend or renew the agreement.

Your landlord can't evict you without a court order even if there's a break clause in the agreement or your fixed term has ended.

How you can end your agreement

You can end a rolling or periodic agreement by giving your landlord a legal notice in writing.

This notice is also called a 'notice to quit'.

Like the landlord, your notice must give at least:

  • 1 month's notice if your rent is due monthly

  • 4 weeks' notice if you rent is due weekly

You’ll need to give a longer notice if that’s what your agreement says.

It must also end on the first or last day of a period of your agreement.

A tenant's notice to quit will end the tenancy for all joint tenants so discuss it first with anyone you live with.

Here's an example of what to write if your rent is due monthly.

NOTICE TO QUIT

To: landlord or agent's name and address

From: your name and address

I am giving 1 month's notice to end my tenancy as required by law.

I will be leaving property address on tenancy end date, or on the day when a complete period of my tenancy ends next after 4 weeks from the day this notice is served.

Signed: your signature

If you have a fixed term agreement

You can only end a fixed term agreement early if either:

  • there's a break clause in the agreement

  • your landlord agrees to end the tenancy early

You can usually move out at the end of a fixed term agreement without giving formal notice.

You should still let your landlord know you're leaving so you can sort out returning the keys and getting any deposit back.

Paying a deposit and getting it back

Your landlord can ask you to pay a deposit but they don't need to protect it in a deposit protection scheme unless your agreement says they must.

At the end of your tenancy your landlord can deduct money from your deposit if you owe rent or if you’ve damaged the property.

You can make a money claim through court if your landlord keeps any of your deposit unreasonably.


Last updated: 18 March 2021

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