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Mesne Profits

  • Pronounced "Meen Profits" this is a term used in a difficult situation to avoid making it worse.
  • At the end of a tenancy, following legal action and pending eviction, there is a risk that by accepting rent (see consideration) this might create a new (unwanted) tenancy.
  • By the landlord stating that the payment is received conditionally as Mesne Profits he seeks to establish that no new tenancy is being offerred or created pending court eviction.  Instead the landlord wants to make it clear that any acceptance of payment is to cover the rent lost by the continuing occupation by the unwanted tenant whom the landlord no longer wants to accommodate.
  • The problem is that under the rules of Street and Mountford the tenancy is not what it is called, in name; but what it is, in fact.  The facts are determined by a court.  Hence the uncertainty.
  • It is thus possible that a landlord might describe a payment receipt as Mesne Profits but for a court to interpret such payment as rent received thereby creating a new tenancy.
  • For a contract to exist three core elements are required.  Offer, acceptance and consideration.  The latter might be construed as the payment which creates the unwanted contract.
  • The result might mean that the tenant cannot easily be evicted without a long drawn out acrimonious end of tenancy relationship with the tenant still in occupation potentially reeking havok.
  • If faced with this situation landlords and tenants should seek legal advice from a solicitor or qualified advisor as this is a complex topic.
Published: 10 November 2013 Last Updated: 17 November 2021