Taking a lodger
On this page you can find answers to some of the most commonly
asked questions around taking a lodger.
The government introduced new rules in April 2013 to calculate
if you are under occupying your home. These rules may affect the
level of housing benefit your household will receive. The new rules
mean that housing benefit will be worked out using criteria which
allows one bedroom for each of the following. This is commonly
referred to as the bedroom tax, size criteria or under-occupation
- Each adult couple or single person
- Any other person age 16 and over
- Two children of the same sex under the age 16
- Two children under the age of 10, of any sex
- A person needing a separate room because of disability
- A carer (or carers) providing overnight care
If you have a spare room, you may want to consider taking in a
lodger to help towards your rent costs.
What is a lodger?
A lodger is someone who you agree to share your home with and
who is not a member of your family. You must not let the lodger put
a lock on the door of their bedroom (or on any other room). You
must keep the right to go into the room from time to time while
still respecting your lodger’s privacy.
Do I need permission to take in a
Yes. You must get our written permission before you let a lodger
move in. Most Genesis tenancy agreements allow tenants to take in a
lodger, but we will need to check this before we give
You must tell us if your lodger moves out.
We will not give permission for you to rent out the whole of
your home as this is a breach of your tenancy.
Will Genesis help me find a lodger?
No. You will be responsible for finding a lodger and making the
arrangements. Genesis will not hold any formal agreement with a
lodger, your lodger will have an agreement with
Will Genesis help me deal with problems
with a lodger?
No. You will be responsible for the conduct of your lodger. We
cannot get involved with any dispute between you and your lodger.
It will always be your responsibility to make sure your rent is
paid and that all the conditions of your tenancy are complied
lodger have rights and responsibilities under my tenancy
No. A lodger won’t hold any agreement with Genesis and will not
receive any rights.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that lodgers will not be
considered part of the household if you apply for a transfer or if
we have to temporarily move you so we can carry out major repair
works. Similarly, if you are currently signed to a fixed term
tenancy agreement, we will not consider a lodger as part of your
household when we decide whether to issue a new fixed term
If a lodger refuses to leave the property when your tenancy has
ended they won’t have any rights to the property and we will take
legal action to get possession if we have to. A lodger will not
receive any succession rights when you die.
Can I evict a lodger if it doesn’t work
Yes. You can usually evict a lodger fairly easily but you will
need to give reasonable notice if you are going to do this. You
should also set out in your lodger agreement the conditions you are
both going to agree to. This will make it easier if things go wrong
If you end your tenancy and move out you must make sure the
lodger moves out too.
What can I charge?
It is up to you to decide what you want to charge your lodger,
you may want to take into consideration where you live and what
your property is like. To get an idea, check what other people in
your area are charging – from your local paper, or on websites such
Should I have a formal agreement?
It’s a good idea to draw up a written agreement between you and
your lodger. It could include: rent payment details and how bills
will be paid, and what facilities and services are available for
the lodger, when you will review the payment amount, notice period
for moving out and general house rules. (Guides to lodger
agreements can be found in bookshops, stationers and online).
How will the income from a lodger affect my
From April 2013, lodgers will count as occupying a room under
the new rules (see box above). If you are in receipt of Income
Support, income based Jobseekers Allowance or income based
Employment and Support Allowance, if you let out a room in your
house to a lodger on a formal contractual arrangement, without
providing any food, then £20 of your weekly charge for each lodger
is ignored. The balance is counted as income.
If someone shares your home under an informal arrangement, any
payment they make to you for living and accommodation is ignored,
but a non-dependant deduction may be made from any Housing Benefit
or housing costs paid.
With the introduction of Universal Credit from October 2013, the
rules about income from lodgers may change. When you are told you
have to claim Universal Credit, you will need to get advice about
how having a lodger might affect your benefit.
Do I need to undertake any checks?
If you take in a lodger you must ensure that they have the
‘Right to Rent’ in the UK. This means that you must ask your lodger
to provide you with an original document to show they have the
right to be in the UK, check this document is valid whilst they are
present, make and keep copies of the documents, and record the date
that you made the check.
If you don’t make these checks you could be fined up to £3,000
if your lodger doesn’t have the ‘Right to Rent’.
Do I have to tell anyone else?
If you take in a lodger you must tell the housing benefit
office, local authority council tax department, the tax office
(HMRC) and your contents insurer.
Get in touch
If you would like to go ahead and take in a lodger
get in touch with us.
When you get in touch, please have details to hand about who is
currently living with you together with details of the spare room.
This will help us process your request. You must wait for our
permission before you take in a lodger.
Sometimes, we may need to turn down a request to take in a
lodger. Where this happens, we will clearly explain our
Once we’ve looked at your request and given permission, you can