Mesne Profits

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    We want to award HB under mesne profits to a claimant but the payment is to go to the landlord.

    Are there any regs we can quote to reassure the landlord that by accepting these payments they will not be accepting any implication that the tenant has a right to stay in the property?

    Please help, cheers


    I’m afraid I do not have any regs to quote, but my understanding is that if a LL accepts any payments they are creating an informal tenancy (contract of sorts). If it is someone without the right to occupy and the LL wants them to leave, they would be better to refuse any payments from whatever source. I’m sure that someone with some housing legislation can correct me on this though 🙂


    I thought that mesnes profits could be charged without the landlord granting any rights to the occupier. In effect they are charged in lieu of the rent that would have been charged had the occpier had any legel right to occupy.

    As I say thats what I thought but I stand to be corrected.


    Mesne Profits are defined as “profits which have accrued while there was a dispute over land ownership. If it is determined the party using the land did not have legal ownership, the true owner can sue for some or all of the profits made in the interim by the illegal tenant, which are thus called “mesne profits.” in my dictionary.

    I used to have to deal with these a long time ago. In my experience, mesne profits are awarded by the court as damages and don’t represent any sort of contract, formal or informal.

    But then I’m no expert on property or tenancy law and I’m happy to be corrected.


    A quick search of the web found this definition.


    thanks Gerry,

    so my understanding from that discription is that we can’t actually pay mesne profits until the court has decided when the tenancy lapsed?

    So what do we do in the mean time? The claimant in question has had a NSP issued giving 14 days to leave, hasn’t left and all are now waiting for a court date for eviction.

    As the tenancy has ended the claimant can’t be paid HB?

    any opinions please …


    NSP? It’s probably obvious but enlighten me, please.

    I assume that, as he has had notice to quit, the tenancy must have ended or be due to end. At that point it becomes mesne profit. Prior to that it was rent in the normal sense of the word. It doesn’t really matter what you call it as both fall under the reg12 definition of rent. As long as he fulfils the other criteria for HB I’d pay.

    Learned colleagues, please correct me as you see fit.



    NSP – Notice Seeking Possesion

    do you think that if the landlord accepts payment ii would jepherdise their court case?


    Thanks – it was obvious!

    If the claimant is still a tenant then he is due to pay rent and the landlord would expect it to be paid to the end of the tenancy. Accepting it would not jeopardise his court action.

    Once the court decides the tenancy has ended it becomes mesne profit and accepting that does not create any legal relationship between the parties so again would not jeopardise any other court action.

    Before you go and tell the landlord that tell him to seek proper legal advice on the matter not give him my opinion!


    cheers! Will advise to seek legal advice as tenancy has ended. Awaiting court eviction date.

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