What rights do lodgers have?
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.
If you're a lodger, you'll probably also be an 'excluded occupier' - this will mean you have very few legal rights.
You'll be an excluded occupier if:
you share your living space with your landlord - this doesn't include areas that give you access to your home, for example a corridor or staircase
the property is your landlord’s main home, and has been from the date you moved in
Excluded occupiers 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.
Check the type of agreement you have with your landlord
There are 2 types of agreement you might have with your landlord - you’ll either have an ‘excluded licence’ or an ‘excluded tenancy’.
You’ll probably have an excluded licence if your agreement doesn’t give you exclusive access to any area in the property and your landlord can go wherever they like.
You’ll have an excluded tenancy if you have exclusive use of your own room that your landlord isn’t allowed to enter. You’ll still share other living space with them. Find out more about your rights if you have an excluded tenancy.
You can find guidance about your rights as a lodger on GOV.UK.
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.
If you have an excluded tenancy you have more rights around repairs than if you have an excluded licence - find out more about getting repairs done if you are an excluded tenant.
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 home. Your 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 read guidance about repairs and safety if you have a resident landlord on GOV.UK.
What happens if your landlord wants you to leave?
Your right to stay in your accommodation will depend on whether you have a fixed-term or periodic agreement.
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
- there’s a clause in your agreement which allows it to end early if you break certain terms - and you’ve broken the terms
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
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 landlord doesn’t have to give you the notice in writing, unless your agreement says they do. They must be clear about when you have to leave.
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 have an excluded tenancy or an excluded licence.
If you have an excluded licence
You'll 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 have an excluded tenancy
You have a right to a notice period which is the same as your rent period. For example, if you pay rent monthly, you have a right to one month's notice. Find out more about your rights as an excluded tenant or talk to an adviser.
Does your landlord need a possession order to evict you?
If you are an excluded occupier, 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
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
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.
If you have an excluded licence you must give 'reasonable' notice. There are no set rules about what is reasonable.
If you have an excluded tenancy you have to give notice for the same amount of time as your rent period. For example, if you pay rent monthly, you have to give one month's notice. Find out more about your rights as an excluded tenant.
Talk to an advisor if you need help with giving your landlord notice.