Am I a tenant?

Here is a list of some of the most common kinds of tenancies.

Renting from a landlord/agent

This is the most common type of rental agreement and often the most preferable. This is because it is highly regulated and all scenarios are covered by law, including rent reviews, tenancy terminations and deposit refunds. In this type of tenancy, you do not live with the landlord or the person that you pay rent to. Typically, your only interactions with them will be when you pay the rent or ask for a repair to be carried out. 

Renting from a homeowner

If you share accommodation with a homeowner, then this is a ‘licence arrangement’ and the normal landlord and tenant laws do not apply. The homeowner is termed a ‘licensor’. You are, therefore, a ‘licensee’, not a tenant and you will not be able to rely on tenancy legislation or avail of dispute mechanisms available for tenants. We recommend that both you (the licensee) and the homeowner (the licensor) still draft an agreement in writing covering the key issues of the rental agreement – deposit, rent, bills, house rules and how either party may end the letting – which can be referred to if a dispute arises. Should you encounter difficulties in getting your deposit back at the end of the letting, you may be able to refer a case to the small claims court

Renting from an existing tenant

If you are renting a room from one of the existing tenants, you may also be a licensee and the normal landlord and tenant laws also do not apply. After six months, however, you may [KT1] apply to become a tenant on the same terms and conditions as the existing tenant/s. If the landlord/agent refuses your request to become a tenant you may be able to refer a dispute to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) see Please contact Threshold if you are in this situation. There is little legal protection for licensees. For example, licence arrangements do not have to be registered with the RTB and no minimum standards, rent book regulations or minimum notice periods apply. If there is a dispute, a licensee cannot take a case to the RTB and whilst the small claims court may be an option for applying to recover an unfairly retained deposit, this is not always the case

Sharing involves compromise 

Many people share private rented accommodation with others which may have the benefit of being cheaper than renting on your own. Most disputes between occupants are not covered by law and can usually be resolved by sitting down and finding a solution. Shared situations do not always work out – if this is the case, it may be best to terminate the agreement and find more suitable alternative accommodation.

Only agree to move into shared accommodation if you are happy with the other occupants and the terms and conditions of the tenancy/ licence arrangement. Be careful in signing a lease or agreement, as what you sign is legally binding. If you are involved in a dispute with someone you live with and you cannot resolve it amicably, it may be best for you to agree to vacate, finding more suitable accommodation.

House sharing

If you share an apartment or house with other tenants and have exclusive occupation of the property together (share responsibility for rent, household bills etc.) then you are likely a tenant in a ‘jointly and severally’ liable tenancy.

This means that the household constitutes one tenancy, with all of you sharing rights and obligations (e.g. to pay the entire rent owing). It is important to note that the household rent must be paid, even if one co-tenant moves out.

It is very important to discuss any potential changes in the household, such as a co-tenant moving out, with Threshold before considering such changes. You may not have the right to give notice of termination of tenancy in this instance, for example if the tenancy is continuing with other household members remaining in the property. 

Threshold can advise you on your options if you have questions/ concerns when living in a house share situation. Please get in touch with us.

Room-by-room occupancy

If you do not wish to live alone or cannot afford your own private rented property you may decide to rent a room in a private rented property. Your option may be to enter into a house share, where you are ‘jointly and severally’ liable together as tenants for the whole property, or you may decide to exclusively rent a room only, in a private rented property. A room-by-room occupancy may have some/all of the following characteristics:

  • The landlord advertises and views the room with you
  • Other rooms are already occupied
  • A separate lease for your room is provided
  • Bills are in the landlord’s name
  • You have exclusive occupation of your own room only

If you have a room-by-room occupancy, are not sure if it is a room-by-room or house share situation and have questions regarding your rights or obligations, please get in touch with Threshold. 

Local authority Tenancies

If you are eligible to apply for social housing with the local authority you can download an application form and further information from

Threshold can assist you with any questions you may have concerning your social housing application process.

If you are already a local authority tenant and have questions regarding your tenancy, rights or obligations, Threshold may also be able to assist you. Please get in touch to further discuss your housing query with us.

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