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Category: UK Property Law
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Experience:  30 years commercial law
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We are a charity organisation and about to take on a self-contained

Resolved Question:

We are a charity organisation and about to take on a self-contained flat froma HA on a supported housing property. We want to use the flat as an extension of our refuge. In the refuge we use licence agreements and would like to use a licence agreement for the flat too instead of an AST. Are we allowed to do this?
Submitted: 1 year ago via Tenancy Agreement Service.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  senior partner replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. Are you proposing to charge rent? Will the occupants have exclusive occupancy? Will anyone from the charity be resident?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi, Nobody from the charity will be resident and the tenant will have exclusive occupancy of the flat. We have checked with other charities and they are using licence agreements but have used the space under the stairs/ a locked cuboard in the property and that is now classed as office space. Would it make a difference in the agreement if we held keys aswel as the HA and the tenant agreed we could enter the property at anytime? would this avoid the exclusive occupancy?

Expert:  senior partner replied 1 year ago.
The distinction is important. If you give exclusive occupancy and charge rent then it will be an AST. You can only effectively make it a licence is you avoid the tenancy requirement and having the tenant share with the landlord is one way of doing that. Just having keys is not enough. You have to actually be in occupation. i guess you could try the office route but I am not convinced by that.

If you do not charge rent then it is fine.

The risk is really only about how long the occupancy lasts because unless you share facilities you will have to take court proceedings to get a reluctant occupant out whether it is a licence or an AST
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Would a visit daily to conduct necessary paper work be classed as occupancy on our behalf?

Expert:  senior partner replied 1 year ago.
No not really I am afraid. Any landlord has a right of entry on reasonable notice. You have to be in possession and the occupant must not have exclusive possession of the premises. You should arrange perhaps to share the kitchen with the tenant

How long is normal licence for? the only other relevant exemption is for holiday lets but it is not really that.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

6 months the licence agreements in refuge are for. It is a 2 bed flat. If we said in the licence agreement that the flat would/could be shared between 2 people and apart from your room you would be expected to share kitchen/bathroom/lounge if neccesary?

Expert:  senior partner replied 1 year ago.
If you specify it is shared that would probably do it but if in fact there was no sharing you would still need to get a court order to evict - it is not worth risking breaking the law on this issue.

senior partner, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 13248
Experience: 30 years commercial law
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