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Leaseholder rights to stay after end of lease

This content applies to England & Wales

Leaseholders' rights to remain in occupation of a property after the lease has ended.

Where the lease ends because of forfeiture or expiry of the fixed term, the freeholder has an immediate right to possession under common law. However, because of statutory protection, leaseholders can remain in occupation after termination of the lease unless there is a court order for possession.

Leases commencing before 1 April 1990

Leases which began before 1 April 1990 and ended or were terminated before 15 January 1999 are protected by Part 1 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, provided that the qualifying condition is satisfied.[1] This means that at the end of the lease the leaseholder will usually become a Rent Act statutory tenant. The section on Regulated (protected) tenancies contains detailed information on Rent Act tenancies.

The rent and terms of the tenancy will be decided by agreement or through applications to the Rent Assessment Committee for a determination. The provisions are complicated and because of the provisions allowing leaseholders to buy the freehold and extend their leases (see the sections Extend lease or buy freehold: leaseholders of houses and Extend lease or buy freehold: leaseholders of flats for more information) they are unlikely to occur frequently. They are therefore not covered in this section.

Leases commencing on or after 1 April 1990

Part 1 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 does not apply to leases created on or after 1 April 1990. Protection is afforded by the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 provided that the qualifying condition is satisfied.[2] This protection will also apply to leases that commenced before 1 April 1990 if terminated after 15 January 1999.

The procedure is essentially the same as that under the old regime except that instead of becoming a Rent Act statutory tenant the leaseholder will become a Housing Act assured tenant (see the section on Assured tenancies for details). As stated above, the provisions are not covered in detail in this section because it is rare for a long lease not to be extended, or the freehold purchased, before the lease expires.

[1] s.2(1) Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.

[2] s.186 and Sch.10, para 1 Local Government and Housing Act 1989.

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