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When does a tenancy begin?

By J

Lynch v Kirby, QBD, 28.1.10 before Nicola Davies QC sitting as a Deputy Judge is – according to Casetrack – in the process of being written up. I became aware of it as a (very) short note on the Garden Court bulletin last Monday. I doubt that it’ll set the legal world on fire as it appears to turn on its facts. Still…

It looks like a landlord agreed to let a room in a premises to a tenant if he (the tenancy) could obtain housing benefit. The tenant entered into occupation on 20.2.1997 and obtained HB some six weeks later, backdated to the start of the tenancy. The landlord contended that the tenancy did not actually start until HB was in payment. The tenant said that the tenancy commenced upon occupation.

Why was this important? Well, prior to 28.2.1997, if you wanted to grant an AST, you had to serve on the tenant a notice under s.20(2), Housing Act 1988 before the tenancy was entered into. For tenancies after 28.2.1997, this requirement was removed and the AST became the default model from which one opted-out. Hence the importance of establishing when the tenancy commenced.

The High Court held that the tenancy had been made on 20.2.1997 and, hence, was fully assured.

As ever, more details as soon as we have them.

J is a barrister. He considers housing law to be the single greatest kind of law known to humankind and finds it very odd that so few people share this view.


  1. pet

    I signed a tenancy agreement on 31//08/16 but landlord has said tenancy began in July is this right

    • Giles Peaker

      We can’t advise on individual matters. And without a lot more information we couldn’t tell you anyway. (Don’t give us the information)

      • pet

        Well that’s rather rude I was only after some help u could’ve been more polite about the matter. I will be using this. Site again or recommend anyone. U have a horrible attitude

      • pet

        Will not be using this again as I feel I was given a poor attitude to my problem I don’t need rude people I’ve just lost my mum and at risk.of losing my home too.

        • Giles Peaker

          I’m sorry to hear that and appreciate this is a difficult time. But I am afraid that we can’t advise on individual matters – it actually says that at the top of the comment form you filled in. We aren’t here to provide an advice service and given the volume of requests for help and advice we receive, we wouldn’t have time to do anything else.

          I would recommend seeking advice from a law centre or via Shelter’s advice line.

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