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Tenancy at Sufferance


Tenancy at sufferance is a legal term used in property law to refer to a situation where a tenant continues to occupy a property after their lease has expired, but without the landlord’s explicit permission. Despite its name, it does not imply any form of suffering. While not a criminal act, it is considered a holdover tenancy and the tenant is typically subject to eviction at any time.


The phonetic spelling for “Tenancy at Sufferance” is: Tenancy – /ˈtɛnənsi/at – /æt/Sufferance – /ˈsʌfərəns/

Key Takeaways

1. Tenancy at Sufferance: This term refers to a legal circumstance where a tenant remains on a property after the lease has expired, but before the landlord has demanded the tenant vacate the property. It’s typically seen as a transition period before the landlord either evicts the tenant or renews the lease.

2. Landlord’s Power: In Tenancy at Sufferance, the landlord retains the power. He or she can eject the tenant at any time, without notice. This is due to the fact the tenant is staying without the landlord’s explicit permission, thus effectively trespassing.

3. Rent Payment: Tenants who continue to stay in the property under tenancy at sufferance are obligated to continue paying their rent at the existing rate and terms. If the tenant pays the rent and the landlord accepts, the lease then becomes a “periodic tenancy,” renewed on a month-to-month basis.


Tenancy at Sufferance is a vital term in the business/finance and real estate industry because it refers to a situation where a tenant continues to reside in or occupy a property even after their lease has expired without the landlord’s permission. This type of tenancy can have significant financial implications and legal consequences for both the landlord and tenant. For the landlord, it implies a loss of control over the property, potential financial loss due to unpaid rent, and possible difficulty in evicting the tenant. For the tenant, it may result in legal actions, extra costs, and potential damage to their credit score. Therefore, understanding the term “Tenancy at Sufferance” is essential for property management and planning eviction processes if required.


The concept of Tenancy at Sufferance emerges as a highly significant term in the realms of real estate and property law, operative to manage and regulate landlord and tenant associations in specific circumstances. From a functional point of view, the purpose of Tenancy at Sufferance is to characterize and control the scenario where a tenant continues to occupy a property after the expiration of their rental term without the landlord’s consent. This could occur in situations where the tenant forgets to vacate or deliberately decides to overstay for specific reasons. In other words, the tenant remains ‘at the sufferance’ of the landlord; the tenant does not have legal protection against eviction and the landlord can ask them to leave at any moment.Tenancy at Sufferance is used to protect the rights of the property owner and to provide a legal framework that could manage disputes that might arise in such contexts. It serves as a buffer for landlords against unwarranted occupancy, allowing them to dictate terms in these scenarios. In certain jurisdictions, Tenancy at Sufferance could even be upgraded to a periodic tenancy if the landlord accepts rent from the overstaying tenant, thereby giving the tenant more legal rights. Therefore, on the whole, this term provides an invaluable mechanism for managing tenant overstay scenarios and balancing the rights of landlords and tenants in a fair, equitable manner.


1. Residential Squatting: This is the most common real-world example of tenancy at sufferance. Say, for instance, a tenant’s lease expires but they continue to live in the property without the landlord’s express permission or a renewed lease agreement. Unless the landlord takes legal actions to evict the tenant, they are a tenant at sufferance.2. Overholding Business Tenants: A business rents a space in a commercial building. Their lease agreement ends, but they continue to occupy the space without the landlord’s consent and without a renewed lease agreement. Until the landlord takes steps to legally remove the business, it operates there as a tenant at sufferance.3. Post-sale Occupancy: A home or property is sold, but the previous owner or tenant continues to occupy the property past the agreed-upon exit date without the new owner’s permission. Until the person is forcibly removed, they are considered a tenant at sufferance. The new home owner may need to take legal action by serving an eviction notice for them to leave.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Tenancy at Sufferance?

Tenancy at Sufferance is a legal term used in property law which refers to a situation where a person who was legally occupying a property continues to stay without the landlord’s permission after the lease period has ended.

Is Tenancy at Sufferance illegal?

Not necessarily. While the tenant does not have the legal right to stay without authorization from the landlord, it is not illegal until the landlord takes action to evict the tenant.

What can a landlord do in the case of Tenancy at Sufferance?

In cases of Tenancy at Sufferance, the landlord has the right to evict the tenant. Alternatively, the landlord may decide to create a new lease agreement with the tenant.

How can Tenancy at Sufferance be avoided?

Both landlords and tenants can avoid Tenancy at Sufferance by being clear on lease end dates, renewing leases in a timely manner, or formally ending the lease with proper notice.

Does a tenant at sufferance have any rights?

Yes, a tenant at sufferance still has some basic tenant’s rights, such as the right to a habitable environment. However, they do not have the right to stay in the property without the landlord’s consent post-lease expiration.

Is Tenancy at Sufferance the same as squatters’ rights?

No, they are not the same. Squatters inhabit a property without any previous legal agreement, while a tenant at sufferance stays on a property after a legal agreement has expired.

Can a landlord charge rent during a period of Tenancy at Sufferance?

Yes, a landlord can impose a rental charge during this period. The tenant is required to pay at the same rate as during the course of the expired lease.

Related Finance Terms

  • Estate at Sufferance: This refers to a situation where a tenant remains on the property after the lease has ended, but without the landlord’s consent.
  • Holdover Tenant: This refers to a tenant who remains on the property after their tenancy has ended. In certain situations, they might be considered to have a tenancy at sufferance.
  • Eviction: This is the legal process through which a landlord can remove a tenant from a rental property. This is often the next step if a tenancy at sufferance isn’t resolved.
  • Lease Agreement: This is a contractual arrangement calling for the tenant to pay the landlord for use of an asset. The terms of the lease are often a factor in determining a tenancy at sufferance.
  • Rent Control Laws: These are laws that limit the amount a landlord can charge for rent and limit the landlord’s ability to evict tenants. They might affect how a tenancy at sufferance is handled.

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