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Resident landlords

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If you are the owner of a property and are renting a part of your home to a tenant, then the legal situation is quite different to that which governs assured and assured shorthold tenancies.

If the tenant does not have exclusive use of the property, it usually means that they will have what is call a 'license to occupy' the property. You should still sign a legally binding agreement with the tenant, but this will not be a standard tenancy agreement.

The document should be a licence that specifies you (the landlord) have the legal right to unrestricted access to the occupant's room. It may turn out that you never go in there, but you will retain the right to for such activities such as cleaning or decoration.

Licenses to occupy also usually replace other types of tenancy where flats in converted houses are concerned. The internal arrangements of the building may mean that you do not share any portion of the accommodation with the tenant, but the tenancy will still be legally seen as a license and not an assured or assured shorthold tenancy. For instance you may convert your house into two separate flats, and live in one of them yourself. Even if the two residences are entirely separate, the situation will normally be covered by a license to occupy.

Clearly, this does not normally apply to purpose built blocks of flats, where assured or assured shorthold tenancies will apply even if you are resident in the building. Unless of course you are letting out a room of the flat in which you live…

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