Student housing – lodgers
If you rent a room in your landlord’s home and share some accommodation with them, then you may be what’s commonly known as a lodger. You may have your own room, usually a bedroom, but you don’t have exclusive use of that room. This means that your landlord can enter the room without your permission.
People who share accommodation with their landlord are generally known as excluded occupiers. This is a term used in housing which 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 which have been agreed verbally with your landlord or that are set out in your agreement. However, trying to enforce your rights is difficult because excluded occupiers can be evicted easily.
You must pay your rent when it’s due, otherwise your landlord can evict you. Your agreement will normally state how much the rent is, what it includes, to whom and when it should be paid, and 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 ‘board’ as part of your rent for meals that are provided.
If you don’t pay weekly or don’t have a rent book, it’s best to keep proof of your rent payments.
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 is still responsible for making sure your home is in a proper condition. Your licence agreement may set out what repairs you and your landlord are responsible for.
Your landlord also has certain responsibilities for gas and electrical safety, and furnishings. * More about repairs and safety if you have a resident landlord at www.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, or
- 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 when either:
- that term has come to an end, or
- there is a term in your agreement, known as a break clause, which allows the agreement to be ended early. If there is a break clause, the landlord can evict you after giving you the notice set out in that clause.
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 have an excluded tenancy or an excluded licence.
As a lodger, 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 probably depend on:
- how long you’ve lived there and how you’ve behaved
- the length of time between your rent periods
- the relationship between you and your landlord
- the availability of other accommodation.
- More about excluded licences at www.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. You will be trespassing if you stay in the accommodation without your landlord’s permission either after the fixed term has ended or after the notice period has expired.
Evicting you peaceably
As long as your fixed term agreement has come to an end, or you have 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 may be committing a criminal offence.
What do you need to do if you want to leave?
Fixed term agreements
If you have a fixed term agreement, you can only leave early if:
- there is a term in your agreement, known as a break clause, which allows you to end the agreement early, or
- your landlord agrees to end the agreement early.
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 fixed 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.
As a lodger, you’re likely to have an excluded licence, which means that you must give ‘reasonable’ notice. There are no set rules about what is reasonable.
Other useful information