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How to evict a lodger

This information only applies in England and Wales.

Lodgers and other excluded occupiers do not have as many rights and protections against eviction as tenants. The eviction process for lodgers is less formal than that for tenants. Read this guide to find out how to correctly evict a lodger.

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. A lodger has the legal status of an ‘excluded occupier’. For more information about lodgers, read Taking in a lodger

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.

As a landlord, you must give your lodger reasonable notice to leave the property. If there is a written agreement in place, like a Lodger agreement, then this should state the amount of notice that needs to be given. 

Reasonable notice usually means the duration of the rental payment period. For example, if your lodger pays rent weekly then you can give one week’s notice or if they pay monthly you can give one month’s notice. 

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 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 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. 

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 occupant, 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

A lodger can end the lodging 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. ​​​​