Social housing, lodgers and sub-letting-Your guide to lodgers and subtenants

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A spokesperson from the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “It is entirely lawful and sensible for social tenants to take in a lodger, provided they tell their landlord. “But we have no time for the criminal fraudsters who rip off the system, by moving out of their taxpayer-subsidised social home and renting out the property on the side. Such welfare cheats are earning thousands of pounds of profit by exploiting the subsidised rent, and are denying a social home to those in genuine need. Fraudsters doing this are costing the taxpayer as much as £900 million a year, and we are clamping down on it. “The Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013 recently received Royal Assent, to tackle fraudulent sub-letting in social housing. We have also launched a £9.5 million targeted fund to support locally-led efforts to tackle the tenancy cheats. This backs up the greater powers to the police and councils to tackle this type of fraud.”

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?8605669285_fc280cf29c_m

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?

Not all residents are allowed to take in a lodger or subtenant. Check below to see if you are one of them.
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

Taking in a lodger

If you’re thinking of taking in a lodger there are a few things you’ll need to consider. Some of it is just plain common sense but there are a few things you might not have thought about so, starting with the basics, here’s our guide to taking in a lodger.

What is a lodger?

A lodger is someone who rents a room in your home without having exclusive rights to any part of the property. Lodgers can have extra services (such as cleaning, laundry or meals) included by agreement with the landlord.

Who can take in a lodger?

Most homeowners and council tennants can take in a lodger but there are several factors to consider before you go ahead. You may need to inform your mortgage lender or local authority and you’ll almost definitely need to alert your insurance provider. If you claim any benefits these will almost certainly be affected if you take in a lodger. For a more detailed look at this see our step by step guide to taking in a lodger.

What will I need to provide?

In the simplest terms you’ll provide a furnished room plus use of communal areas. Other benefits such as cleaning and meals are up to you. Our what should I provide? page looks at this in detail.

How much can I charge?

That all depends on where you live and what your property is like. Have a look on at other rooms available in your area  to get an idea what the going rate is likely to be.

Can I evict someone if it doesn’t work out or I need my room back?

Generally speaking it’s easier to evict a lodger than a tenant but you will need to give ‘reasonable notice’ if you intend to evict. We strongly recommend a written agreement between you and your lodger(s) so the conditions are agreed upon in advance. See our evicting a lodger page for more on this.

How can I find a lodger, is it difficult?

The advent of online flatshare listings has made finding a lodger easier than ever. With an online listing on sites such as you can include photos and video of your room so prospective lodgers can see what’s on offer. You can also check out who’s looking for a room in your area. Our guide to advertising your room has plenty of advice on how get the most from your listing.

Will I be taxed on my income and do I have to declare it?

Under the government’s ‘Rent a room’ scheme you can earn up to £4,250 tax free by taking in a lodger. See tax and finance for full details.

Do I need to comply with the new Tenancy Deposit laws?Citizens Advice office

So far the law only applies to Assured Shorthold tennancies so you can take a deposit without having to use the scheme.

I’m thinking of buying a property, can I get a bigger mortgage if I’m going to take in a lodger?

Some mortgage lenders will let you borrow more based on rental income. Generally they will let you add £4,250 to your salary before any calculations – that being the amount of tax free income you can earn under the ‘Rent a room’ scheme. See our tax and finance page for more on this along with a list of mortgage lender who offer these products.


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