Lodgers and other excluded occupiers
A lodger is somebody who lives in the same property as a landlord. They will share the kitchen, bathroom, or other living accommodation with the landlord but will have their own room. A lodger will usually have the legal status of an ‘excluded occupier’. For more information, read Taking in a lodger.
Lodgers in Wales
In Wales, a lodger may be an excluded occupier or, since the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 came into force on 1 December 2022, it is possible for lodgers to be contract holders. This means that they hold an occupation contract and usually have enhanced rights (eg it’s often harder for them to be evicted or to choose to leave the property). A lodger will only be a contract holder if the landlord notifies them that their contract will be an occupation contract before or when it is made. For more information, read Occupation contracts in Wales.
The information below applies to lodgers in Wales who do not have an occupation contract. To evict a lodger with an occupation contract, some of the usual eviction methods for Wales may be used.
When can a lodger be asked to leave the property?
As a landlord, you can ask a lodger to leave your property:
after you give them notice, if they have a rolling lodger agreement (ie an agreement without a fixed end date, which rolls from month to month or week to week. This is also known as a ‘periodic’ agreement)
without notice, if the lodger had a fixed term agreement and the fixed term has come to an end
if you both agree to end their agreement early
If you wish to evict the lodger during the course of the fixed term (ie before the fixed term of the lodger agreement has come to an end), you can generally only do this if the lodger agreement allows you to end the agreement early. To end the lodger agreement early, you will have to give notice to the lodger.
If there is a written agreement in place, like a Lodger agreement, this should state the amount of notice that needs to be given. If the lodger agreement doesn’t specify a required notice period, the landlord must give their lodger reasonable notice to leave the property.
Reasonable notice often means the duration of the rental payment period. For example, if your lodger pays rent weekly you can give one week’s notice or, if they pay monthly, you can give one month’s notice. Other factors that can influence what’s reasonable include how long the lodger has been living in the property and the lodger’s conduct.
Notice can be given verbally unless the written agreement states that it must be in writing. However, it is always best for a notice to be recorded in writing, as it could be referred to if any disputes arise.
If a lodger doesn’t leave
If your lodger doesn’t leave at the end of a valid notice period or (sometimes) their fixed term, you don’t need a court order to evict them. You can evict them ‘peaceably’, for example by changing the locks on the lodger’s room while they’re not there, even if they’ve left their belongings there. You must never use or threaten violence to evict somebody.
Note that you must take reasonable care of the lodger’s belongings and you must contact them to make arrangements for them to collect their belongings within a reasonable time. You may be able to sell their belongings and deduct any storage costs if they don’t collect them within a reasonable time or they don’t contact you. Before selling belongings, you should ensure that you’ve given lodgers the correct opportunity to collect their property and the correct notice of your intention to sell their belongings. Following the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977, notice of the intention to sell should at least:
be in writing
be correctly posted (ie delivered)
specify the goods, collection address, and the landlord’s name and address
specify any money that the lodger owes the landlord (eg for storage)
specify the date on which the landlord intends to sell the belongings. This date must allow reasonable time between the notice and the proposed sale date for the lodger to collect their belongings
If you sell a lodger’s belongings without adhering to the legal requirements (eg those above), you may be vulnerable to legal claims from your ex-lodger. Before selling belongings, consider Asking a lawyer for advice.
What if my occupier has basic protection?
Some occupiers are classified as having ‘basic protection’. This means their rights are slightly different to those of excluded occupiers. A lodger will have basic protection if they live in your home but they don’t share any living space with you or any other occupants (ie the lodger essentially lives in their own flat within the landlord’s building). Basic protection can also apply to other categories of occupants, including people living in university-owned students' halls of residence.
You cannot evict an occupier with basic protection during a fixed term agreement unless there is a break clause in your agreement. However, you can apply to the court for a possession order after the end of the fixed term without giving them notice.
If an occupier has a rolling agreement, you will need to give them a notice to quit if you want to evict them. There is no requirement for you to give a reason. The notice should:
end on the first or last day of the rolling agreement’s period (usually a day that their rent is due)
be for a minimum of 28 days if rent is paid weekly, or a minimum of 1 month if rent is paid monthly, although longer notice may be required if specified in your agreement
contain certain legal information, for example, information about possession orders, and a recommendation that the occupier gets advice if they are not sure of their legal rights
Can a lodger end the agreement?
A lodger can end the lodger agreement by giving their landlord notice of their intention to leave. They cannot do this during the fixed term of the agreement unless there is a break clause. If the lodger leaves before the end of the fixed term, they will still be liable to pay the rent for the whole term.
In a periodic (ie rolling) agreement, the amount of notice the lodger needs to give depends on the agreement (if there is one). If there is no specific agreement, the lodger must give their landlord reasonable notice (ie ‘notice to quit’). This is usually at least 28 days (if they pay weekly) or 1 month (if they pay monthly). The lodger’s notice must end on the first or the last day of a period (eg month).
A landlord and lodger can end an agreement at any time if they both agree.