Do tenants own the property they rent?

Pixie5740Pixie5740 Forumite
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There were a few threads last year which lead to debates as to whether or not tenants own the property they rent during the tenancy.

A blog post written by Tess Shepperson debunking this urban myth was sometimes cited during this debate:

http://www.landlordlawblog.co.uk/2010/08/31/urban-myth-when-a-landlord-lets-a-property-its-still-his/

However, some forum users felt this blog was misleading and others thought this concept of the tenant owning the property was becoming boring.


Tess has written a new blog going into more detail on this matter which I think clears things up.


http://www.landlordlawblog.co.uk/2015/01/13/do-tenants-own-the-property-they-rent/




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  • edited 15 January 2015 at 10:43AM
    jjlandlordjjlandlord
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    edited 15 January 2015 at 10:43AM
    I think that the issue is that effectively there are layers of ownership, but the 'owner' in the sense most imply remains the freeholder.
    Indeed, the freeholder has a permanent ownership while the tenant/leaseholder is only granted temporary quasi-ownership.

    Thus, I'm not sure that saying that everyone is an 'owner' clears things up.

    A tenant hasn't got all the rights and obligations of an 'owner'.
    A landlord hasn't got them either.
    They are split.

    Sometimes a question is not simple enough to be able to answer it by yes or no.
  • Guest101Guest101
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    I think Tessa has summarised it very well in the article.

    I dont think it's quasi-owners, just temporary owners, or leaseholders.

    Just because its a 6 month and no 66 year lease, doesnt mean they arent owners for that time
  • edited 15 January 2015 at 5:21PM
    jjlandlordjjlandlord
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    edited 15 January 2015 at 5:21PM
    The issue is that term is often pushed because of an agenda, for example when it comes to any rights of access, but not only.

    The main topic on this forum and Tessa's blog are ASTs, so let's focus on these tenancies.

    Telling an AST tenant that he 'owns' the property will often make him think that he can do things that he, in fact, cannot.
    The same goes for the landlord, actually, who may also think that, as the 'owner' he is also entitled to do things that he isn't.

    Hence I think that the term should be handled cautiously, and that certainly AST tenants should not draw too many conclusions.
  • thequantthequant Forumite
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    jjlandlord wrote: »
    The issue is that term is often pushed because of an agenda, for example when it comes to any rights of access, but not only.

    The main topic on this forum and Tessa's blog are ASTs, so let's focus on these tenancies.

    Telling an AST tenant that he 'owns' the property will often make him think that he can do things that he, in fact, cannot.
    The same goes for the landlord, actually, who may also think that, as the 'owner' he is also entitled to do things that he isn't.

    Hence why I think that the term should be handled cautiously, and that certainly AST tenants should not draw too many conclusions.

    Or even a leasehold homeonwer who lives in their own property, might think they can do what want, but they can't
  • I tend to think of "ownership" as the freedom to sell something which you are in posession of.


    A leaseholder, whilst technically the owner of the land, can not sell the property on said land. Neither can he repaint you walls or enter the property, or rip the boiler out etc. One is also able to legally force the leaseholder to sell the lease to the property owner, if I am not mistaken. One could argue that there are different leases, such as the lease on a detached property or the lease of a flat in a block of 10... Whilst the freeholder of the latter may have more rights/power over the actual building they still can not sell it or profit from it (aside the ground rent).


    A tenant with an AST or whatever, has just as little right to interfere with he building. He may neither sell it or change it, sublet it or damage it. The "owner" of the building may trash the place if he so wishes and it is nobodies business but his own. A grey area would be shared walls etc! The tenant only owns the "right to occupy" the building for a certain period of time!


    So for me, the owner of a property is the person on the deeds who purchased the building, regardless of a lease or tenant!
  • Guest101Guest101
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    I tend to think of "ownership" as the freedom to sell something which you are in posession of.


    A leaseholder, whilst technically the owner of the land, can not sell the property on said land. Neither can he repaint you walls or enter the property, or rip the boiler out etc. One is also able to legally force the leaseholder to sell the lease to the property owner, if I am not mistaken. One could argue that there are different leases, such as the lease on a detached property or the lease of a flat in a block of 10... Whilst the freeholder of the latter may have more rights/power over the actual building they still can not sell it or profit from it (aside the ground rent).


    A tenant with an AST or whatever, has just as little right to interfere with he building. He may neither sell it or change it, sublet it or damage it. The "owner" of the building may trash the place if he so wishes and it is nobodies business but his own. A grey area would be shared walls etc! The tenant only owns the "right to occupy" the building for a certain period of time!


    So for me, the owner of a property is the person on the deeds who purchased the building, regardless of a lease or tenant!

    But the tenant or leaseholder can sell their lease. So they are owners for that time.
  • princeofpoundsprinceofpounds Forumite
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    You don't own the property. You do own a lease.

    Don't see why it's that complicated.

    People generally talk about 'buying' flats, when very few people actually own a flat freehold.

    I agree the term 'owning' and AST is likely to cause a lot of confusion.

    Better to stick to the the idea that they are tenants, that tenants have a special status in law, and that landlords give up some of their rights for the duration of the tenancy.

    In the end, the Queen owns us all anyway ;-)
  • edited 15 January 2015 at 4:06PM
    TheCyclingProgrammerTheCyclingProgrammer Forumite
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    edited 15 January 2015 at 4:06PM
    Not in any way that most people would recognise. Tenants have, I believe, "exclusive possession" which isn't quite the same thing as ownership. It's still the landlord's name on the deeds and they are the ones that have the right to sell the property, not the tenants.

    People who claim that tenants "own" the property while they live there are likely trying to get a reaction by saying something controversial when the reality is it isn't as simple as that.
  • Guest101Guest101
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    Not in any way that most people would recognise. Tenants have, I believe, "exclusive possession" which isn't quite the same thing as ownership. It's still the landlord's name on the deeds and they are the ones that have the right to sell the property, not the tenants.

    People who claim that tenants "own" the property while they live there are likely trying to get a reaction by saying something controversial when the reality is it isn't as simple as that.

    They own a lease. Why is this so difficucult to understand?
  • Pixie5740Pixie5740 Forumite
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    So for me, the owner of a property is the person on the deeds who purchased the building, regardless of a lease or tenant!


    That's your opinion which of course you are entitled to have and to express but it's not what the law says.
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