Common questions about Lodgers
Who is a lodger?
A lodger is a person who pays a certain amount as rent on a weekly or monthly basis to use a room within their landlord’s property, without exclusive rights to the room they are staying in and limited access to the rest of the house.
Who can take in a lodger?
Most home owners and secure council tenants have legal rights to take in a tenant. Shorthold and protected tenants may also be allowed to rent out a spare room, depending on their tenancy agreement.
A potential landlord needs to consider a number of factors, apart from their rights to have a lodger, before they can offer to share living space with a stranger. It is recommended consult their mortgage lender, landlord, local authorities as well as insurance agents to find out how having a lodger might affect the landlord’s relation with them.
What is a lodger agreement?
A lodger agreement is the contract signed between the landlord and the lodger, usually covering points like the rent to be paid by the lodger, any additional bills or tax to be paid, the lodger’s right while they continue in the rented room, etc. along with the dates for the starting of occupancy and the end of term. The landlord has the right to add specific clauses in the agreement to limit the lodger’s rights and prevent any future inconvenience to themselves.
What responsibilities does the landlord have to lodgers?
The contract or agreement signed between the lodger and landlord is much less formal than that between a landlord and tenant. For example, the landlord is not bound to repair or replace all damaged furniture or appliance in the rented room during the lodger’s stay. In fact, they have the right to take out a certain sum as compensation for any such damage from the deposit paid by the lodger.
However, they are responsible for keeping the rented room in a proper state for healthy human habitation. All the furniture, appliances and any other tools provided by the landlord should be certified safe to be used by the lodger.
Unlike a tenant, a lodger does not have exclusive rights to the room they are renting or any of the furniture or appliance provided by their landlord. The landlord has the right to enter the rented room without the lodger’s permission in the latter’s absence. The areas of the house accessible to the lodger are usually mentioned in the agreement signed at the start of term.
A lodger is entitled to a hygienic and reasonably comfortable living space as long as their legal term continues. Also, the landlord is obliged give a reasonable notice period to the lodger when meaning to evict them.
How much to charge a lodger as rent?
There is no set amount to charge as rent for a room. The rent to be paid by the lodger and its frequency (charged weekly or monthly) is decided by the landlord at the beginning of term. So, it is recommended for the landlord to check with local rent rates to avoid overpricing their room.
How does having a lodger affect the landlord’s tax credits and benefits?
A potential landlord should consult their insurance agency, tax consultants and benefit agents (if claiming any benefits) before considering taking in a lodger as the amount collected as rent often affects their tax payment and benefit claims. Having a lodger is likely to affect the landlord’s Universal Credit, Housing Benefits as well as certain taxes to be paid.
What to do if the landlord needs the room back from a lodger?
The landlord can choose to evict the rented room before the date set for end of term, provided there is a ‘break clause’ in the agreement. However, the landlord is obliged to provide a reasonable notice period before they can ask their lodger to evict the rented property. The landlord has the right to get a court order and take legal step against the lodger should the latter refuse to evict the rented area after end of term or end of notice period.