Lodgers

Find out about your housing rights if you rent a room in your landlord's home.

Who is a lodger

You are a lodger if you rent a room in your landlord's home and you share facilities such as the bathroom and kitchen with your landlord.

Rental agreements for lodgers

A landlord doesn't have to provide a lodger with a written contract but it is a good idea to have one.

A contract should set out the rights and responsibilities of both you and your landlord.

Your agreement with your landlord could be:

  • fixed term – usually for 6 or 12 months
  • periodic – this means it runs from one rent period to the next, with no set date for ending

Deposits paid by lodgers

Your landlord might ask you to pay a deposit to cover any damage or unpaid rent. The deposit is your money and should be returned to you when you leave. 

Ask your landlord for information about what deductions could be made from your deposit, for example to cover unpaid rent. Get this in writing if possible.

Ask your landlord for an inventory listing the contents and condition of your room and any rooms you share with your landlord. You and your landlord should sign the inventory to avoid disputes when you leave.

Deposits paid by lodgers are not covered by tenancy deposit protection rules.

Right to rent immigration checks

Before you move in as a lodger, your landlord must ask you to prove that you have the right to live in the UK and the right to rent. Your landlord is breaking the law if they don't ask for this.

Right to rent checks won't apply to you if you moved in before 1 February 2016.

Rent

Pay your rent on the day you agree with your landlord. If you have a written agreement this should tell you when you pay your rent.

Usually you have to pay your rent in advance every week or month. This means you pay for the week or month coming.

If possible, set up a standing order to pay the rent. Ask for a receipt if you pay your rent in cash.

Rent increases

During a fixed-term agreement your rent cannot be increased unless:

  • your agreement says how and when it can be increased
  • you agree to an increase

If you never had a fixed term agreement or the fixed term has ended, your landlord can increase your rent anytime.

If you don't agree to the increase your landlord can give you notice to leave.

Repairs and safety in the home

Your landlord should fix any repair problems in the home and in your room. If you have a written agreement this may set out what your landlord must repair.

You'll have to fix something if you caused the damage.

Usually your landlord should make sure a Gas Safe registered engineer carries out a gas safety check every 12 months.

If your landlord is a tenant, their landlord must arrange safety checks.

When you are asked to leave

Your landlord only has to give you reasonable notice if they want you to leave.

Lodgers are excluded occupiers. This means if your landlord wants you to leave they:

  • only have to give you reasonable notice
  • do not need a court order to evict you

Find out more about the notice your landlord must give you.

If your landlord's home is repossessed

You will have to leave if the property is repossessed.

Find out more about repossession by the landlord's lender.

Get advice if you are in this situation. Use Shelter's directory to find a local advice centre or call Shelter's helpline.

 

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