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Rights of tenants to take in a lodger

This advice applies to Wales

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 check it first. If you do need permission, it's best to get this in writing.

This page provides information on the rights of different tenants to take in a lodger.

Rights of secure and flexible tenants to take in a lodger

What are secure tenancies?

Most local authority tenants are secure tenants. You are also likely to be a secure tenant if your landlord is a housing association and your tenancy started before 15 January 1989.

What are flexible tenancies?

Flexible tenancies are offered by some local authorities in England. They are similar to secure tenancies except they last for a fixed period of time.  

What rights do secure and flexible tenants have to take in a lodger?

Secure and flexible tenants have a legal right to take in a lodger and don’t need their landlord’s consent to do this.

You should however, check your tenancy agreement in case you have to tell your landlord about any changes in your household which could include taking in a lodger.

Rights of assured and assured shorthold tenants to take in a lodger

What are assured and assured shorthold tenancies?

Assured tenants are mainly housing association tenants where the tenancy began on or after 15 January 1989. Some assured tenants have private landlords. This is likely to be the case where you moved into your home between 15 January 1989 and 27 February 1997 and you didn't get a notice saying that the tenancy was an assured shorthold tenancy.

You can also be an assured tenant with a private landlord if you moved in on or after 28 February 1997, but this is quite rare.

Most tenants who rent from a private landlord are assured shorthold tenants. You are likely to be an assured shorthold tenant if:

  • your tenancy started on or after 28 February 1997, and
  • you pay rent to a private landlord, and
  • you don't share any accommodation with them.

Some assured shorthold tenants also have housing association landlords, for example, if you have a 'starter' tenancy. A starter tenancy is a form of trial tenancy which generally lasts for a year.

What rights do assured and assured shorthold tenants have to take in a lodger?

If you are an assured or assured shorthold tenant, you should check your tenancy agreement. It may allow you to have a lodger, allow it on certain conditions, or forbid it completely.

Rights of introductory tenants to take in a lodger

What are introductory tenancies?

An introductory tenancy is a type of local authority tenancy that lasts for one year. It's a form of trial tenancy and if there are no problems in the first year, you are likely to become a secure tenant, or in England, a flexible tenant.

What rights do introductory tenants have to take in a lodger?

If you are an introductory tenant, you do not have a specific legal right to take in a lodger. However, you should check your tenancy agreement as it may give you a contractual right to take in a lodger. If your tenancy agreement doesn't say anything about taking in lodgers, then it wouldn't be a breach of your tenancy if you did take in a lodger.

Rights of protected tenants to take in a lodger

What are protected tenancies?

Protected tenants have private landlords and will have had a tenancy for a long time, that is from before 15 January 1989. These tenants are also known as regulated tenants.

What rights do protected tenants have to take in a lodger?

If you are a protected tenant, you can take in a lodger without your landlord's permission unless there is a condition in your tenancy agreement which says that you cannot.

Rights of demoted and family intervention tenants to sublet

What are demoted and family intervention tenancies?

Tenants with a demoted or family intervention tenancy will have a social housing landlord, such as a local authority or housing association. They will have this type of tenancy as a result of serious anti-social behaviour.

What rights do demoted and family intervention tenants have to take in a lodger?

It's unlikely that you're allowed to take in a lodger where you have a demoted tenancy or a family intervention tenancy, but you should check your tenancy agreement to make sure. If your agreement doesn't say anything about taking in lodgers, then it wouldn't be a breach of your tenancy if you did take in a lodger.

Next steps

Other useful information

  • Checking what type of tenancy you have - Shelter at www.shelter.org.uk
  • 'Letting rooms in your home - a guide for resident landlords' - GOV.UK at www.gov.uk
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