Permitted Occupiers: Everything you need to know when renting a property

By Natalie Deakin

permitted occupier

Before signing a tenancy, learn the facts about ‘Permitted Occupiers’

A permitted occupier is generally referred to as ‘a person that is not a tenant but has permission to stay in a rented property’. They have no legal rights to the property nor are they required to pay rent to the landlord. It is expected that the permitted occupier treats the property with care, but the tenant is ultimately responsible for them.

In this article, you can find out everything you need to know about the rules of permitted occupiers, including the rights they have, what a tenancy agreement must include and what happens when the tenant leaves to property.

Who can be a permitted occupier?

Simply put, they can be anyone. Some examples are:

  • A partner of a tenant who stays on a regular basis
  • A child of a tenant who lives at university and returns home during the holidays
  • An older relative of the tenant who must be cared for

Why do landlords include permitted occupier clauses?

Some landlords prefer to include a permitted occupier clause in their tenancy agreement to make a record of the occupier’s presence at the property. As someone who will be living in the property from time to time, it’s to best to have their details and the landlord’s permission clearly set out in writing.

A set clause within the agreement will reiterate the tenant’s responsibility for them and may be helpful to the landlord if any disputes arise that involve the permitted occupier.

Tenancy agreement drafting is included in both our Complete and Essential plans – or can be purchased separately for £149 (inc VAT).

Permitted occupiers and HMOs

A landlord may also want to include a permitted occupier clause to comply with HMO licensing regulations and ensure that the property doesn’t become an HMO without the landlord’s knowledge.

According to the regulations, a property is likely to be an HMO if:

  • There are 3 or more people living the property who form two or more households
  • They share common facilities such as a kitchen and bathroom

Landlords must comply with certain requirements where the property is an HMO, but not all HMOs need to be licensed. A licence is mandatory if:

  • The property is rented to five or more people who form more than one household
  • Tenant share common facilities such as kitchen and bathroom

Landlords may also require a licence for an HMO if the property is located in an area where the local authority has introduced an additional licensing scheme. In these areas, all rented properties will need a licence even if they are not licensable HMOs.

As the HMO regulations apply to ‘people’ living in the property, the number of permitted occupiers living in a property includes children – not just adults.

Why would someone want to be a permitted occupier?

A main reason for a person wanting to be listed as a permitted occupier is so that they have evidence of a permanent address.

For many things in day-to-day life, such as getting a job, financing a car, taking out a phone contract and registering to vote, we are required to show that we have a permanent place of residence in the UK.

If, for instance, a person moves into their partner’s rented property and gets a new job nearby, their employer may ask for a proof of address. Without being listed as a permitted occupier, the person would be unable to evidence that they live at the property as it is their partner who’s the tenant on the agreement – not them.

If you have someone living in your rental property that isn’t listed on the tenancy agreement, it could invalidate your insurance.

How do I add a clause to my tenancy agreement?

If a tenant requests a permitted occupier before the tenancy agreement is drafted and signed, a clause should be added to the agreement (if there isn’t one already) and the person’s name should be listed.

Permitted Occupier clause

Download and insert the clause into your own tenancy agreement.

By clicking ‘Download’ you have agreed to our terms and privacy policy.

If a tenant, asks permission after the agreement has been signed, the original agreement can be amended to include a permitted occupier clause with the person’s name listed. will amend your tenancy agreement for just £60 (inc VAT). Contact our team on 0333 577 888 to find out more.

Who pays for the amendment of the agreement?

Amending a tenancy agreement to include an additional clause is one of the few things that a tenant can be charged for. Since the Tenant Fee Ban began on 1 June 2019, tenants can no longer be asked to pay lettings fees and deposits are capped at five week’s rent.

However, as a tenant requests that a permitted occupier be added to their agreement, it is the tenant, not the landlord, that is entitled to pay the amendment fee.

Does a permitted occupier have to be referenced?

No. A permitted occupier does not need to be referenced. They are technically an extension of the tenant; they are the tenant’s responsibility and it’s the tenant who will be paying the rent.

Find out more about tenant reference checks here.

How are they different to a lodger?

The main difference between a lodger and a permitted occupier is that a lodger will pay rent.

If you own a property, you can take in a lodger to live with you and pay rent. The government Rent a Room scheme allows homeowners to take in a lodger and earn up to £7,500 tax-free per year.

If you are a tenant, you will need your landlord’s permission before taking in a lodger. Your tenancy agreement may allow you to have a lodger, allow it in certain circumstances or ban it altogether. Whatever the case, you must not take on a lodger without your landlord knowing.

Does a permitted occupier need the Right to Rent?

Although a permitted occupier is not a tenant, they must still show they have the Right to Rent if they are over the age of 18.

As is the case with a tenant, landlords must check that any permitted occupiers have the Right to Rent before the start of the tenancy. This involves checking the resident's proof of ID (a passport, identity card, visa, permanent residence card), making copies of the documents and recording the date of the check.

COVID-19 Update: Temporary Changes to Right to Rent Checks.

Find out more about Right to Rent checks here.

What rights do permitted occupiers have?

Permitted occupiers have no legal rights to the property. The clause in the tenancy agreement acknowledges that they live there, but that is all.

It’s important for landlords and tenants to remember that whilst the tenant is responsible for the permitted occupier, it does not work the other way around. The permitted occupier can not account for the tenant and does not take on any of their rights or responsibilities if the tenant moves out.

Can they stay if the tenant leaves?

If a tenancy comes to an end and the tenant moves out, the permitted occupier must leave too. As they have no legal rights to the property and are technically the responsibility of the tenant, they are not entitled to stay.

If a tenant gives notice, moves out and a permitted occupier refuses to leave, the tenant is still liable for rent as they have not left the property in vacant possession.

It’s also important for landlord’s remember that they must not demand any rent from the permitted occupier, even if the tenancy has ended and they are refusing to leave. Demanding and accepting a form of rent from the them may be argued as granting them tenancy and could be perceived by law as giving them the rights of a tenant.

Legal support and eviction cover are included in our Essential and Complete plans.

About Natalie Deakin

Natalie DeakinNatalie joined in 2014 and as the team has grown, through her knowledge and experience, Natalie has progressed to the role of Operations Manager. Natalie’s team oversees every online transaction from property advertising, tenant referencing, tenancy renewals through to assisting in deposit disputes and rent arrears. Natalie keeps our landlord legalities in check.


    October 21, 2020 REPLY

    We had a company let, with permitted occupiers (employees of the company) who recently vacated our home. None of the contractual cleaning was carried out. In addition, specialised floor cleaning, because of a pet in the property for 3 years, was not carried out as per contract agreement. Should I be dealing with the ‘company’? The permitted occupiers are replying and not agreeing to the amounts of the quotes that I have submitted. The professional cleaning quote is a fairly standard price, the specialised floor cleaning is very high. I have now had this done, though the permitted occupiers said they would not be agreeing to pay this amount. However, had the permitted occupiers or tenants organised this themselves, it’s possible that they could have got the job done at a cheaper rater, it would have taken much longer as I used a company who used machine equipment. Are the tenants or permitted occupiers in breach of their contract as they have not carried out these things? Should I write a kind letter to the permitted occupiers and say I am now going to take these items up with ‘the company’? They were in the property for 3 years. They are suggesting most of my quotes are simply to high a price to Pay. Because of this dispute, I can not release the remaining deposit. I would like to get this over with and as amicably as possible. Any suggestions? Thank you.

    September 23, 2020 REPLY

    Hi – as a permitted occupier, would I be able to be added to the council tax bill, electoral register or any other utility bill? Would it affect my residence rights in any way, especially if trying to claim the settled status?

    Many thanks!

    August 14, 2020 REPLY

    can someone be a permitted occupant if they currently do not have the right to rent in the uk, as they are waiting for a new visa?

    August 3, 2020 REPLY

    My son rents student accommodation with 5 friends. Only 4 are tenants the other 2 are permitted occupiers. Why would the landlord/agent do this?

      September 14, 2020 REPLY

      This is illegal. It is to avoid having to register it as an HMO of 5+ people. Landlords are then required to pay an HMO license fee and to carry out various safety risk assessments including fire safety. The two permitted occupiers are not allowed to be charged rent. Report them to the local authority.

    June 22, 2020 REPLY

    How does permitted occupier work wrt council tax? For instance, if the main tenant is a student and the permitted occupier is not a student, is council tax still due and if so who is liable ?

      July 16, 2020 REPLY

      Hi Martin,

      Thank you for your question – sorry it’s taken us so long to get back to you! Permitted occupiers aren’t liable for rent or bills, meaning they don’t have to pay council tax. In the scenario you describe, it’s our advice that you contact your local council to find out who is responsible for paying in this situation. Each area has different HMO licencing requirements, so your local council will definitely be able to help you with this. Apologies for not being more helpful, but we hope you find the answers you need!

      All the best,

    May 20, 2020 REPLY

    If the permitted occupier overstays (and doesn’t stay eligible to become a tenant) when the actual tenant has left and Has given the notice, how can the agency help it’s tenant from getting financially exploited by paying rent and bills for the occupier. Since it is a civil matter, I’m not sure how much cops can help but is there no way out to evict the occupier? Even if one tends to seek help of the solicitors, it is again denting the pocket of a tenant for something which he is not using!
    If tenant switches to another agency, is he liable to pay at both places?
    Please guide.

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