A simple guide to Sub Tenancy


  • Where an occupier is a tenant of someone who is tenant himself, such an occupier will be a classified as a sub-tenant.
  • In this situation, the first tenant is known as the mesne tenant and the second the sub-tenant. This will be the case where the landlord is the ‘owner’ of property on a long lease rather than freehold, the ‘owner of the property on a long lease is strictly speaking the tenant of the freeholder and thus a person leasing from the ‘owner’ of the long lease will be a sub-tenant.
  • So long as the mesne tenancy persists the sub-tenant is in no different position than any other tenant.


Ali purchased a leasehold flat from the local council. His lease is for 70 years. Ali then sub-lets the flat on yearly basis to Martin. Ali is the leasehold owner of the flat and is a mesne tenant and Martin will be classified as a sub-tenant.

  • The sub-tenancy will be illegal where the agreement of the mesne tenancy includes a prohibition on subletting, this will generally be written in the lease documents or tenancy agreement.
  • Sub-letting is permissible where permission is sought and obtained.
  • Permission can only be refused where such refusal is on reasonable grounds.
  • Where the sub-letting is illegal the sub-tenancy may end the original mesne tenancy.

For further Information, guidance and advice visit www.legalally.co.uk.

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