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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. Lodgers generally pay a charge that covers rent and bills, and in some cases other services, such as cleaning, might be provided too.

This page provides more information on lodging and looks at the rules around taking in a lodger.

Top tips

If you're thinking about taking in a lodger:

  • check what it says in your tenancy or mortgage agreement
  • if you need permission, write to your landlord or lender explaining your situation and ask for their consent
  • be aware that if you don't do things properly, it could create problems for you.

What is lodging?

A lodger is someone who lives with you in your home and shares living space with you, such as the bathroom or kitchen. They might have their 'own' room, but they live in your home with your permission and have agreed they don't have the right to exclude you from their room or any part of your home.

Lodgers may receive extra services such as cleaning, laundry or meals.

What's the difference between lodging and subletting?

A subtenant and a lodger can both rent rooms, although a subtenant can also rent an entire property rather than just part of it. The main difference between a subtenant and a lodger is that a subtenant has exclusive use of their room. Their landlord needs permission before they can enter the subtenant's room. A lodger's landlord can enter the lodger's room without permission and often does so to provide services such as cleaning.

In practice, if you share some living space with your landlord such as the bathroom or kitchen, then your rights are similar whether you’re a subtenant or a lodger. 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. Excluded occupiers have very limited rights.

Find out more about subletting

Are you allowed to take in a lodger if you rent your home?

In many cases, tenants need their landlord's permission before they can take in a lodger. Your tenancy agreement may contain a term on this, so you should always check it first. If you do need permission it's best to get this in writing.

Find out more about the rights of different tenants to take in a lodger

Are you allowed to take in a lodger if you own your home?

Mortgage contracts often contain a term that requires the homeowner to get the lender's permission before renting out all or part of the property. You should check your mortgage contract to see what your lender requires.

If you're a leaseholder, or live in a shared ownership property, you should check your lease agreement to see if there are any terms about taking in a lodger. You may need to get the landlord's agreement first.

What happens if you take in a lodger and you aren't allowed to?

If you need permission before taking in a lodger or aren't allowed to take in a lodger but do so anyway, then your landlord or lender may take action against you if they find out.

They may require you to put the situation right by getting you to ask the lodger to leave. If you’ve broken a term in your tenancy agreement or mortgage contract, the landlord or mortgage lender could take legal action against you.

Apart from permission, what else do you need to think about if you want to take in a lodger?

Before taking in a lodger there are a number of important things that you need to think about first.

Find out more about what you need to think about before you take in a lodger

Next steps

Other useful information

Letting rooms in your home - a guide for resident landlords on GOV.UK.

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