Secure tenants have the right to take in a lodger. See our thinking of having a lodger factsheet for more details.
If you are an introductory tenant, you cannot take in a lodger - you will have to wait until your tenancy is made secure.
Having a lodger
A lodger is someone who lives with you in the property but is not part of your household.
You will need to agree with your lodger:
- how long they can stay
- how much they will pay
- what rooms they can use, for instance bedroom, bathroom, kitchen
- what other services will be provided, such as cooking or cleaning
- how much notice is needed to end the arrangement
You might also want to include other conditions, such as:
- visitors - are they allowed and can they stay overnight
- space - use of a kitchen cupboard or some fridge space
- facilities - can they use the phone or washing machine or television
- rules - coming in late at night or parking
Arranging a licence
It's sensible to write down what you have agreed and for you both to sign it so you know exactly where you stand. This signed agreement is called a licence - it is not a tenancy agreement.
Your lodger is not allowed to put a lock on their bedroom door and they do not have what is called 'exclusive rights' over their room. You retain the right to enter to clean it or for other reasons.
Remember, your tenancy agreement says you must not overcrowd your home and you are responsible for giving written notice and legally evicting your lodger, if it becomes necessary to do so.
Your financial situation
Keep the council informed - we need to know when you take a lodger as it affects your financial situation. You can keep the first £20 of income from a lodger without it affecting your housing benefit but you must inform both housing benefit and council tax benefit departments.
Failure to do so could cause an overpayment later or even result in a prosecution for fraud.
Your lodger is allowed to claim housing benefit themselves. It would normally be paid direct to them and they would then pay you.
How much you charge depends on what you are providing. Take a look on the Spare Room website to see what the going rates are, keeping in mind the possibility of an increase in your gas and electricity bills.
The Rent a Room Scheme lets you earn up to £7,500 a year tax-free from letting out furnished accommodation in your home. Any income over this amount will be taxed.