Student lodger agreement
This agreement gives a student a short-term right to rent a room in a property owned by another student, or their parents. Use it to let rooms during term time only, or for periods up to one year.
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About this document
This agreement gives legal permission to one or more people to occupy rooms in your property.
It has been written specifically for a student landlord (or his or her parents) who lives in the property for the majority of the year, and who wishes to let one or more bedrooms to other students without creating a tenancy.
There is no requirement to have a formal written legal contract with your flat or house sharers, but having one clarifies what each 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 over the summer, or for the whole acedemic year, there are practical and legal advantages of having the rental terms in writing.
When to use this document
This agreement is suitable for any type of property: flats or houses, and can be used to let several rooms in the same property. You can reuse it for subsequent housemates or flatmates, or for multiple letting periods.
You can also use this agreement to sub-let a room if you rent under a tenancy agreement (subject to that agreement allowing sub-letting and someone on the original 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 during summer holidays 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
occupy the whole property with the landlord living elsewhere (use one of our agreements for an assured shorthold tenancy)
only rent a room for a few days at a time such as during weekdays (use our part time agreement instead)
Some helpful and practical pointers
In order to avoid accidentally giving a lodger security of tenure, note that:
taking a deposit 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 him or her exclusive occupation helps identify your arrangement as a licence rather than a tenancy.
Make sure your lodger leaves promptly at the end of the agreement (and moves out completely), or create a new agreement before the end of the term of the existing one. Being able to store possessions after the licence has ended could create a tenancy.
Make the term of the licence short (maximum a year) and renew often. For example, you might renew every acedemic term for the period up until the start of the following term.
The law relating to this document
In legal terminology, this agreement gives "a licence to occupy" and doesn't create a tenancy.
When you take in a lodger, a tenancy agreement (such as an AST) is not appropriate for two reasons.
Firstly, the landlord living in the same house or flat 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 flatmate or housemate, this is the document you should use.
- Includes sensible, practical provisions
- Full description of the property and any services offered
- Rent period and amount
This document was written by a solicitor for Net Lawman. It complies with current English law.
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By Paul ikin 19 May 2013
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