Leaseholder rights to stay after end of lease

Statutory protection may allow leaseholders to remain in occupation after termination of the lease and depend on the date the lease started and ended.

This content applies to England & Wales

Right to possession under common law

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 usually becomes a Rent Act statutory tenant.

The rent and terms of the tenancy are 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 they are unlikely to occur frequently.

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 also applies 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. 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.

Last updated: 11 February 2021

Footnotes

  • [1]

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

  • [2]

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