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What rights do lodgers have?

This advice applies to England

If you rent a room in your landlord’s home and share living space with them such as the bathroom or kitchen, then you might be what's commonly known as a lodger. You might have your own room, usually a bedroom, but normally you don't have exclusive use of that room. This means your landlord can enter the room without your permission. If you’ve agreed with your landlord that you have exclusive use of the room you might have more rights. 

Lodgers who share accommodation with their landlord are also known as ‘excluded occupiers’. This is a term used in housing that helps to identify your housing rights. This page tells you about your rights and responsibilities if you're an excluded occupier.

Excluded occupiers have very few legal rights. You may have some contractual rights that have been agreed verbally with your landlord or that are set out in your agreement. However, it can be difficult to enforce your rights because excluded occupiers can be evicted easily.

Rent

You must make sure the rent is paid, otherwise your landlord can try to evict you. 

Your agreement will normally state: 

  • how much the rent is

  • what it includes

  • who it should be paid to

  • when it should be paid

  • how it can be increased

If you pay your rent weekly, your landlord must give you a rent book. However, this doesn't apply if you pay for meals as part of your rent - this is known as paying 'board'.

If you don’t pay rent weekly or don't have a rent book, it's best to keep proof of your rent payments - for example, bank statements or receipts.

Repairs

As a lodger, you're likely to have a licence agreement. If you have a licence agreement, your landlord doesn't have the repair responsibilities that are set out in the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 because it only applies to tenancies.

However, your landlord should still take steps to make sure your home is safe and that you won’t be injured because of the condition of your homeYour licence agreement might set out what repairs you and your landlord are responsible for - it might give you extra rights so it’s worth checking your agreement.

Your landlord also has certain responsibilities for gas and electrical safety, and furnishings.

You can find guidance about repairs and safety if you have a resident landlord on GOV.UK.

What happens if your landlord wants you to leave?

You have the right to stay in your accommodation until either:

  • your fixed term agreement has come to an end
  • you have a periodic agreement and your landlord has given you notice to leave.

Fixed-term agreements

If you have an agreement that is for a fixed term, for example six months, you can only be evicted by your landlord if: 

  • that term has come to an end

  • there’s a term in your agreement, known as a ‘break clause’, which allows the agreement to end early - if there’s a break clause, the landlord can evict you after giving you the notice set out in that clause

  • the Home Office tells your landlord you don’t have the right to rent in the UK - your landlord still needs to give you at least 28 days’ notice to leave

Periodic agreements

If you have a periodic agreement, that is, one that runs from one rent period to the next, you must be given a period of notice before you can be evicted.

Your agreement may set out the notice period required. If the agreement doesn’t say anything about notice periods, it will depend on whether you share living space with your landlord.

If you share living space with your landlord , you're likely to have an excluded licence, and will therefore have a right to 'reasonable' notice. There are no set rules about what is reasonable, but it will depend on things like:

  • how long you’ve lived there 

  • the length of time between your rent periods

Your landlord can’t give you less than reasonable notice - it doesn’t matter what notice period they’ve put in your agreement. 

If you don’t share living space with your landlord you might have an excluded tenancy. This means there are different rules for how much notice you get. Get help from your nearest Citizens Advice if you want to understand your rights as an excluded tenant.

You can find guidance about your rights as a lodger on GOV.UK. 

Does your landlord need a possession order to evict you?

Your landlord doesn't need a possession order from the court to evict you, but they can get one if they choose to. 

Evicting you peaceably

As long as your fixed-term agreement has come to an end, or you’ve been given notice to leave on your periodic agreement, your landlord can evict you peaceably. For example, they can change the locks while you are out.

If your landlord uses, or threatens to use, physical force against you to evict you, they might be committing a criminal offence.

What do you need to do if you want to leave?

If you have a fixed term agreement

If you have a fixed-term agreement, you can only leave early if:

  • there’s a term in your agreement, known as a break clause, which allows you to end the agreement early

  • your landlord agrees to end the agreement early - it’s a good idea to ask your landlord to confirm this in writing

If you leave before the end of the fixed term without your landlord’s consent, you're liable to pay the rent for the whole of the term.

If you have a periodic agreement

If you have a periodic agreement, you have to give the notice period that is set out in your agreement. If the agreement doesn’t say how much notice is required, it will depend on whether you have an excluded tenancy or an excluded licence.

As a lodger, you are likely to have a licence, which means that you must give 'reasonable' notice. There are no set rules about what is reasonable.

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