Lodger agreement: licence to rent a room

Use this lodger agreement to rent a room in your home to one or more people. This agreement creates a licence to use the property, with far fewer legal requirements for the landlord than a lease or a tenancy agreement.

Suitable for use in: England & Wales and Scotland
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About this lodger agreement

This document grants permission to one or more people to occupy a room in your home under the terms agreed. It is far simpler to use than an assured shorthold tenancy agreement for a single room, but should only be used where the landlord will live in the same property as the lodger.

There is no requirement to have a formal written legal agreement with your lodger, but having one clarifies what the lodger can expect in the arrangement, and provides a reference point should any dispute occur in the future.

Whether you’re renting a room to a friend for a month or two, or wanting a long term lodger, there are practical and legal advantages of having the rental terms in writing.

The law relating to this document

In legal terminology, this document is called "a licence to occupy" and gives a lodger permission to live in a property without creating a tenancy.

When you take in a lodger, a tenancy agreement (such as an assured shorthold tenancy or AST) is not appropriate for two reasons.

Firstly, the landlord living in the same property as the “tenant” is one of the circumstances under the Housing Acts that automatically invalidates use of an AST.

Secondly, even if an AST could be used, tenancies give the tenant greater rights to residence than necessary in lodging arrangements.

If you are taking a lodger in as a flat or house mate, this is the document you should use. We recommend granting a licence on a short-term basis (less than 12 months) and renewing it when it expires.

Note: if you are claiming tax free rent allowance under the Rent-a-Room scheme the property must be your principal private residence. We suggest you seek tax advice if the rent you receive is above the threshold. You can still use this lodger agreement if the property is not your principle private residence but you will live there for a significant amount of time.

When to use this licence

This lodger agreement would most commonly be used in the following circumstances:

  • A property owner renting out a spare bedroom (to a stranger, a friend, or a couple)
  • A student owner landlord renting spare rooms in a property to other students

It is suitable for any type of property: flats or houses, and can be used to let more than one room in the same property. You can reuse it for subsequent lodgers.

You can also use this agreement to sub-let a room if you rent under a tenancy agreement (subject to your tenancy agreement allowing sub-letting) and subject to someone on the original tenancy agreement still living at the address. That makes the document suitable, if, for example, you are renting with friends under an AST but decide to go travelling for a couple of months and want to rent out your room while you are away.

The document is not suitable if:

  • The lodger will run a business from the property
  • The lodger will occupy the whole property and the landlord lives elsewhere (use one of our ASTs)
  • The lodger will only live in the property on a part time basis (use a part time lodger agreement)

Some helpful and practical pointers for lodger agreements

Mentioned in the help notes to this document (along with others) are the following pointers:

  • Taking a deposit (a bond) can be done (and is covered in this agreement) but we advise that if you can avoid doing so, you should. A court may see a deposit as pointing toward this arrangement being a tenancy.
  • Work in to your agreement the right for you to enter the room rented to your lodger at any time. Although this needs to be done discretely, avoiding giving the lodger exclusive occupation of the property helps identify your arrangement as a licence rather than a tenancy.
  • Living with a lodger can be less pleasant once you’ve given him or her notice. Consider a short term. The expectation of a short arrangement will make giving notice easier (e.g. you can mention that you don’t plan to renew, rather than that you want your lodger to leave).

Agreement features and contents

  • Includes sensible, practical provisions to protect the landlord’s interests
  • Full description of the property and the services that the lodger should expect to receive
  • All likely provisions for restrictions on what the lodger may do in the property
  • Rent period and amount
Draftsman

This document was written by a solicitor for Net Lawman. It complies with current English law.

UK-PRres18 - Lodger agreement: licence to rent a room (Suitable for use in: England & Wales and Scotland)

 
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