A lodger has the legal status of an ‘excluded occupier’. An excluded occupier is someone who lives in the same property as a landlord. They will share the kitchen, bathroom or other living accommodation with the landlord. For more information about lodgers you can read our guide, Taking in a lodger.
This information only applies in England and Wales.
Lodgers and other excluded occupiers do not have the same rights against eviction as tenants. The eviction process is less formal than that required for a tenant. Read this guide to find out how to correctly evict a lodger.
Lodgers and other excluded occupiers
When can a lodger be asked to leave the property?
As a landlord, you can ask a lodger to leave your property:
after you gave them notice if they are on a rolling lodger agreement (ie an agreement without a fixed end date, which rolls from month to month or week to week)
without notice if the fixed term of the lodger agreement has come to an end
if you both agree to end the 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 to be given.
Reasonable notice usually means the duration of the rental payment period. For example, if your lodger pays rent weekly then you should give one week’s notice and if they pay monthly then you should 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 they don’t leave
If your lodger doesn’t leave at the end of the notice period, you don’t need a court order to evict them. You can change the locks on the lodger’s room, even if they’ve left their belongings there. Note that you must take reasonable care of their belongings and contact them to make arrangements to collect them within a reasonable time. You can sell their belongings and deduct any storage costs if they don’t collect them within a reasonable time or they don’t contact you.
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. An occupier will have basic protection if they live in your home but they don’t share any living space with you or any other occupants. This also includes people living in university-owned students' halls of residence.
You cannot evict an occupier with basic protection during the fixed term, 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. You may also be able to apply during the fixed-term period if there is a clause in the agreement allowing you to.
If the fixed term has expired, you will need to give the occupier a notice to quit, but there is no requirement to give a reason for it. The notice should:
end on a day that their rent is due
be for a minimum of 4 weeks or a month, depending on how often rent is paid
contain certain legal information, such as that they should get advice if they are not sure of three legal rights
Can a lodger end the agreement?
A lodger can end the lodging agreement by giving you notice of their intentions to leave. They cannot do this during the fixed term of the agreement, unless there is a break clause. If they leave before the end of the fixed term they will still be liable to pay you rent for the whole of the term.
In a periodic agreement, the amount of notice the lodger needs to give depends on the agreement (if there is one). If there is no specific agreement on this, then they must give you reasonable notice, which is usually at least four weeks (if they pay monthly) or one week (if they pay weekly).
You and your lodger can end the agreement at any time if you both agree.