Promoting and enhancing best practice and technical expertise

Dealing with Informal Occupation

Over the last five or six years of economic and political uncertainty and turbulence, many landlords have tended to prioritise income over other aspects of property management. They may often have been prepared to accept occupiers of less than ideal quality, and to overlook the fact that terms of occupation have not been regularised. This is understandable in the short-term, but may lead to problems later on, as regards identifying what sums may be recoverable from the occupier, and ultimately the ability to recover possession. This module considers how occupation can be documented quickly and economically for short-term, low-value lettings, in the light of guidance from recent caselaw on the characteristics of licences to occupy and tenancies at will. It will also consider strategies to untangle the knot when problems have arisen.

Module Duration: 1 hour 2 minutes

Date Recorded: 04/07/2023

Areas covered

This module will cover the following: 

  • What is meant by ‘exclusive possession’? – the implications of cases on property guardians
  • Implied tenancies at will – must the parties be in negotiation for a new lease?
  • Lessons from the Valley View Health Centre case
  • ‘Jumping the gun’ on assignment
  • Strategies to regularise occupation


  • Mark Shelton, Commercial Property Management Law Trainer, CPM Law Training Limited and Author of 'A Practical Guide to the Law of Dilapidations' and 'A Practical Guide to Applications for Landlords' Consent and Variation of Leases'