Should a Permitted Occupier Sign a Tenancy Agreement?

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Key Takeaways:

  • A permitted occupier is not legally required to sign a tenancy agreement as they are not party to the contract.
  • The tenancy agreement is a legal contract between the landlord and tenant only.
  • A landlord can allow a permitted occupier to live at the property by confirming this in writing.
  • Permitted occupiers do not have the same rights or responsibilities as tenants.
  • If a permitted occupier signs the agreement, they do not take on the same obligations as the tenant.


Renting a property can sometimes involve more people than just the landlord and the tenant named on the tenancy agreement. It is common for tenants to want other family members, partners, or friends to live with them during the rental period. However, what is the correct process for allowing other occupants when only one person is named as the tenant? Should permitted occupiers also sign the tenancy agreement?

This article will comprehensively evaluate whether a permitted occupier is required to be a party to a tenancy agreement. It will analyze the definition and rights of permitted occupiers versus tenants, examine if signature is legally necessary, and provide guidance on best practices for landlords and tenants. With many intricacies involved in occupancy agreements, this content will help provide much-needed clarity.

By the end of this piece, readers will understand permitted occupier and tenant distinctions, rental contract implications, and recommendations to protect all parties involved in a tenancy arrangement with extra occupants. Having clear information on proper protocols can prevent future conflicts or legal issues. For anyone dealing with additional permitted occupants, this is essential reading.

Defining Permitted Occupiers vs. Tenants

Let’s start by distinguishing permitted occupants from tenants. What rights and responsibilities does each role have when residing in a rental property?

What Are Permitted Occupiers?

A permitted occupier is a person who occupies a rental property with the landlord’s permission but is not a party to the tenancy agreement. They do not have a contractual relationship with the landlord.

Permitted occupants only live in the property through the tenant’s leave and license. The tenant retains full rights and obligations for the dwelling.

What Are Tenants?

Tenants are the individuals named on the tenancy agreement and bound by its terms. A tenant enters a legal contract with the landlord, gains a right to occupy the property, and must comply with all contractual responsibilities.

Only a tenant has the full rights outlined in a tenancy agreement, including exclusive use of the dwelling. Tenants are responsible for paying rent, avoiding damage, and adhering to relevant laws.

Key Differences

While both live in the rental, permitted occupiers and tenants differ significantly regarding their legal status, rights, and obligations. Permitted occupants have no contractual relationship with the landlord and fewer rights over the property.

Is a Permitted Occupier Required to Sign the Tenancy Agreement?

With an understanding of permitted occupier and tenant definitions, the question remains: should a permitted occupier sign the rental contract?

No Legal Requirement

The short answer is no – permitted occupiers are not legally required to sign the tenancy agreement.

Since they are not party to the contract, their signature is not needed to make the agreement valid and enforceable between landlord and tenant. The core tenancy relationship does not involve the permitted occupier.

Agreement Is Between Landlord and Tenant

The tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract between the landlord and the individuals named as tenants only. It details the tenant’s rights to occupy the property and associated responsibilities.

Legally, the landlord need only have the signature of tenants who are contracting parties. Non-tenants are not essential signatories.

Landlord Permission Is Still Needed

While permitted occupants don’t sign the contract, the landlord must still consent in writing to their residence in the property.

A landlord permitting occupancy does not make the individual a party to the agreement. However, permission must be granted or the occupier’s presence could be grounds for eviction.

What Are the Implications If a Permitted Occupier Signs?

If a landlord allows or requests a permitted occupier to sign the tenancy agreement, what happens?

Permitted Occupier Status Remains Unchanged

The first key point is that signing does not elevate a permitted occupier to become a tenant. Their legal status remains that of a non-contracting occupier.

No Tenant Rights or Responsibilities

Importantly, by signing, the permitted occupier does not take on the same rights or responsibilities as a tenant under the agreement.

For example, the permitted occupier would not become liable for rent payments or property maintenance – these remain the tenant’s obligations.

Landlord Has No Contractual Relationship

Equally, the landlord gains no ability to enforce contract conditions against the permitted occupier despite their signature. The landlord’s relationship remains solely with the tenant.

Tenant Ultimately Responsible

Critically, the tenant named on the agreement is ultimately responsible for the permitted occupier’s actions.

If the permitted occupier breaches contract conditions, the tenant is liable to the landlord – even if the permitted occupier signed.

Best Practices for Landlords and Tenants

While permitted occupants are not required signatories, what are some best practices regarding tenancy agreements?


  • Confirm permitted occupants in writing: Provide written confirmation detailing approved extra occupants even if they do not sign.
  • Check tenant authorization: Ensure any permitted occupants have authorization from the tenant to reside at the property.
  • List occupant names: Specify precise names of permitted occupants rather than general permissions.


  • Inform landlord of all occupants: Disclose all individuals who will live at the property to obtain the landlord’s approval. Never allow unauthorized occupants.
  • Responsibility for other occupants: Remember you remain responsible for permitted occupiers complying with tenancy conditions, even if they sign.
  • Check if signature requested: Ascertain if the landlord expects permitted occupants to sign the agreement and clarify their status if so.
  • Educate occupants on rules: Ensure any permitted occupiers are aware of property rules and rental responsibilities so they do not unwittingly breach the agreement.


A permitted occupier is not legally required to sign a tenancy agreement as they are not a party to the contractual relationship with the landlord. Only the named tenant needs to provide a signature. However, landlords should still approve permitted occupants in writing. If a permitted occupier does sign the agreement, they do not take on a tenant’s rights and obligations – the tenant remains responsible for their compliance. Following best practices around disclosure, authorization and education will help avoid problems. Overall, understanding permitted occupier and tenant differences is key to managing rental agreements with extra occupants effectively.

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