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When to use a lease, licence or tenancy at will

Leases, licences to occupy and tenancies at will

Do I need a lease, licence or tenancy at will?

As a landlord, it is important to choose the right type of document for the occupier of your property to sign. The main two options are a lease or a licence to occupy. In limited circumstances you may also wish to consider a tenancy at will. These documents are described briefly below and in more detail on the following pages.


Most businesses occupy their premises under a lease. It is the most formal type of agreement. A lease gives the tenant exclusive use of the premises for a specified term, subject to the tenant paying the rent and complying with the provisions of the lease.

We have a wide range of lease templates, catering for different types of premises and different lengths of term.

Licence to occupy 

A licence to occupy is similar to a lease in that it has a fixed term. However, a licence is unlike a lease in that it is not an interest in land and a licensee cannot acquire security of tenure.

We have a variety of licence templates, covering serviced offices, retail concessions and use of open land, amongst other uses.

Tenancy at will 

A tenancy at will has no fixed term and can be terminated by either party at any time with immediate effect. It is therefore only suitable for very short term arrangements.

We have a selection of tenancy at will templates for retail, office and industrial premises and for open land.

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