A lodger is someone who rents a room in their landlord’s home and who shares living space with the landlord.
Some lodgers receive services, such as meals or cleaning, as part of their agreement. Only certain people are allowed to take in lodgers.
A lodger’s landlord could be the owner of the property, or someone who rents the property from the owner.
What rights do lodgers have?
If you share facilities such as the kitchen and bathroom with the landlord, you will be an excluded occupier. Excluded occupiers have very few rights. The landlord will only have to give reasonable notice, which could be a very short amount of time, in order to evict you.
Should there be a written agreement?
It is a good idea to have a written agreement which clearly sets out the arrangements between you and the landlord for paying the rent, any deposit, rent in advance, house rules and how the agreement can be ended.
Be careful about paying a lot of money upfront. If the arrangement doesn’t work out it might be difficult to get the money back and you may need to make a claim in the court to recover it. Many live-in landlords don’t require deposits or rent in advance, but if they do, make sure that this is included in your written agreement and that this covers the circumstances that the landlord can keep part or all of the money when you move out.
Both you and the landlord should sign the agreement and keep a copy each. Setting out the rights and responsibilities of landlord and lodger in writing from the start can help to avoid misunderstandings or disputes further on down the line.
I have a lodgers agreement with someone who is renting the home from another landlord
If the person you have a lodgers agreement with is renting the property from another landlord (called a ‘head landlord’), this does not usually affect your agreement. However, if your landlord’s contract with the head landlord ends, the head landlord might be able to evict you even if your lodgers agreement was for a fixed term.
Much will depend on whether your landlord’s contract allowed them to take in a lodger or sublet. For more information about what they should consider if they intend to take in a lodger or sublet, see here.
The law in these situations is complex, so get help.