Your guide to lodgers and subtenants
As a resident of L&Q, you might be considering taking in a lodger or subletting a room in your home in return for payment. This can be a good way to help pay your rent and share some of your household bills, but it also comes with responsibilities and can affect any benefits you claim. This guide explains what you need to consider before deciding if this is something for you.
What is a lodger?
A lodger is someone who shares your home, usually in return for a payment. Although they may have their own room, they do not have exclusive use of it and they do not have any tenancy rights. A lodger may receive services such as laundry, cleaning and meals (in this case, they may also be known as a 'boarder').
What is a subtenant?
Subletting is where you let part of your home to a subtenant in return for payment. They will have a part of your home (usually a bedroom) for their exclusive use and you cannot enter this area without their permission.
Are you eligible to take in a lodger or sublet a room?
If you are thinking about taking in a lodger or subtenant, please check your tenancy agreement. You can also speak to your Neighbourhood Services Officer who will let you know if you are allowed to do this.
Are you eligible?
- Yes, if you have an assured, secure, starter or fixed term tenancy
- No, if you have an assured shorthold tenancy (not fixed term tenancy)
- No, if you live in supported, sheltered or agency managed housing
- No, if you want to sublet the whole of your home
- No, if you are overcrowded or likely to become overcrowded if you take in a lodger or subtenant
- No, if you are subject to a court order
- Maybe, if you are a leaseholder or shared owner you should check the terms of your lease and you must seek our approval for subletting. We will consider each request on a case by case basis
Homeowners can find more information on our subletting page.
Does this include my family and partner?
No it doesn't. Family members and partners who live with you as part of your household are not normally considered lodgers or subtenants.
Please note - if there is a change in who shares your home with you, there is still a need to inform us. If you claim benefits, you also need to tell the relevant authorities as it may affect what you can claim.
What rights do lodgers or subtenants have?
A lodger or subtenant never becomes part of your tenancy with L&Q. They do not have any rights to your home or to taken over your tenancy if you leave or die.
However, you must give your lodger or subtenant reasonable notice before they have to leave. This can be a verbal or written request.
How will taking a lodger or subtenant affect my benefits?
From April 2013, working age residents claiming Housing Benefit or Universal Credit and who have spare bedrooms, will face deductions to their benefits, based on the rent they pay. They will receive a deduction of 14% of their rent for one spare bedroom, and 25% of their rent for two or more spare bedrooms. How a lodger or subtenant will affect your benefits will depend on which benefit you are claiming:
If you are claiming Housing Benefit, a lodger or subtenant will be included in the calculation of number of bedrooms you need. So by having a lodger or subtenant in your spare bedroom you could avoid the deduction. However, any rent you receive over £20 per week will be considered income and will affect your Housing Benefit.
If you are claiming Universal Credit, a lodger or subtenant will not be included in the calculation of the number of bedrooms you need and so the 14% or 25% deduction will still apply. However, the rent you receive will not be treated as income and could be used to help pay the shortfall in your rent.
The Department of Work and Pensions and your local Council will be able to give you more information.
What are my responsibilities if I take in a lodger or subtenant?
If you are thinking about taking in a lodger or subletting a room in your home, remember these important points.
You must get our permission first. You will need to put any request in writing to your Neighbourhood Services Officer and provide them with:
- the name(s), gender(s), and date(s) of birth of any potential lodgers or subtenants
- the parts of your home they will be occupying
- how much rent you will be charging them; and
- a copy of any written agreement between you and the lodger or subtenant.
You are responsible for the behaviour of any lodgers or subtenants while they live in your home. If they cause a nuisance you will be held responsible. You are advised to carry out appropriate checks on anyone moving into your home to ensure they are who they say they are and trustworthy.
If you claim benefits you must inform the relevant authorities if you have a lodger or subtenant, as this may affect the amount of benefit you can claim.
You must declare relevant income from a lodger or subtenant to the Tax Office. The government's ' Rent a Room' scheme may apply, allowing you to receive up to £4,250 a year tax-free.
If you move out, you must ensure that the lodger or subtenant leaves too. If you decide you want them to leave, you will have to arrange this yourself.
You should tell your home insurer that you are taking a lodger or subtenant as it can affect your home insurance cover.
You must not sublet the whole of your home or you will be in breach of your tenancy agreement. If we discover you are subletting the whole of your home (through our regular checks) we will take legal action to take back possession of the property.
If you are a tenant you should notify us if there is any change to who shares your home with you. Information about who occupies your home is important and enables us to manage your tenancy effectively.
You can obtain further advice from your local Citizen's Advice Bureau, local Council or a Solicitor.