Increasing numbers of people live under residential licences as a result of pressure on the housing market. Residential licences arise in disparate circumstances, including in house shares, under the rent-a-room scheme and where people live in their parents’ home. This paper outlines the legal construct of licences: at base, a permission to reside. It sets out factors that distinguish licences from tenancies, in particular the absence of exclusive possession. While licences are subject to minimal regulation in comparison to tenancies, this paper presents licensors’ and licencees’ rights in their constitutional, common-law and statutory context, including standards of accommodation and ‘packing-up’ periods. It reflects on the constitutional position presented by a licensee under a licensor’s tenancy obtaining the right to become a tenant under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2004–16. In particular, it probes whether constitutional rights to the inviolability of the dwelling may be balanced in favour of augmenting licensees’ rights. In this context it posits potential for reform while highlighting the regulatory challenge presented by heterogeneous forms of licences.