This page is targeted at housing professionals. Our main site is at www.shelter.org.uk

Payments after tenancy ends

This content applies to England

Payments made by the former tenant after a tenancy has ended but while s/he is still in residence

Who is affected?

The information on this page will apply where the former tenant or another occupier remains in the property as a trespasser, for example, where a:

  • basic protected tenancy ends. A periodic tenancy will end when a valid notice to quit takes effect, a fixed term tenancy will end when the fixed term expires. For information on tenants with basic protection see the page Who has basic protection?.
  • tenant of a borrower/mortgagor remains in occupation after a mortgage lender has obtained a possession order and the tenancy is not binding on the lender. For information on whether a tenant of a borrower has a binding tenancy see the page Tenancies binding on the lender
  • joint tenant remains in occupation after the expiry of a valid notice to quit served by another joint tenant.[1]

Note that a tenancy that is protected by the Rent Act 1977, Housing Act 1985, Housing Act 1988 and Housing Act 1996 continues with the same security of tenure after the date a possession order takes effect, regardless of whether the possession order is outright, suspended or postponed.[2] The tenancy will end only when the order is enforced (ie the tenant is evicted) or the tenant leaves of her/his own accord after the possession order is made. The tenant does not become a trespasser and rent is payable until the tenancy ends.[3]

Mesne profits

When a former tenant remains in occupation after a tenancy has been terminated, a landlord can claim money from her/him for continued use of the premises. These payments are known as mesne profits. The amount of mesne profits payable is usually equivalent to the rent that the former tenant was paying.[4] Mesne profits do not count as 'rent' and as such a landlord is not creating a new tenancy by accepting such payments.

Damages for use and occupation

There may also be situations where a person who is not a former tenant is occupying a property with the express or implied agreement of the owner, but where no rent has been agreed. The owner of the property can recover damages for use and occupation. This could apply where the occupier was a former licensee or trespasser. In practice, the terms mesne profits and damages for use and occupation are often used interchangeably.

Double rent

In the event that a tenant remains in occupation as a trespasser after the valid notice to quit s/he served takes effect, the landlord can claim ‘double rent’ (in the form of mesne profits or damages for use and occupation) for the period the former tenant remains in occupation.[5] This will apply where a joint tenant has unilaterally ended the joint tenancy by serving a valid notice to quit and the other tenant stays in the property.

The landlord can only claim double rent if s/he does not give the former tenant permission to remain and treats the former tenant as a trespasser.[6]

Housing benefit and universal credit

An occupier can claim housing benefit to help pay mesne profits or use and occupation charges as they are counted as rent for housing benefit purposes.[7] They do not count as rent for universal credit. See the page Payment condition under 'Conditions for the housing cost element' in the universal credit section.

[1] Hammersmith and Fulham LBC v Monk (1992) 24 HLR 207, HL; Greenwich LBC v McGrady (1982) 6 HLR 36, CA.

[2] s.299 and Sch.11 Housing and Regeneration Act 2008, brought into force by Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 (Commencement No.5) Order SI 2009/1261; Housing (Replacement of Terminated Tenancies) (Successor Landlords) (England) Order 2009 SI 2009/1262; Housing (Replacement of Terminated Tenancies) (Successor Landlords) (Wales) Order 2009 SI 2009/1260 (W.112).

[3] Knowsley Housing Trust v White [2008] UKHL 70.

[4] Swordheath Properties Ltd v Tabet [1979] 1 WLR 285, CA.

[5] s.18 Distress for Rent Act 1737.

[6] Ashworth (Holdings) Ltd v Ballard (Kent) Ltd [1999] EWCA Civ 1207.

[7] reg 12 Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 SI 2006/213; reg 12 Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for pension credit) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/214.

Back to top