Laws Protecting Lodgers in the UK

Lodging is a favorite method of accommodation among many travelers visiting UK because it is not only cheap, but it allows building a much-desired social network preferred by most travelers. Even locals prefer lodging compared to obtaining a tenancy due to various reasons. However, according to the UK tenancy laws, lodgers may not have statutory recognition as a ‘tenant’. Thus, before discussing the laws that protect lodgers in the UK, it is necessary to understand the legal definition of a lodger compared to a ‘tenant’.

Based on UK laws, in order to define a person as a lodger, “he or she should share the landlord’s main home, without having any exclusive access to any part of it.” In simple terms, the law looks at whether the person designated as a lodger had exclusive access to his or her place of stay. Thus, even if a person staying in someone else’s house had exclusive access to his or her room, the law shall designate the person to be a ‘tenant’ rather than recognizing him or her as a ‘lodger’. However, if the landlord had access to the person’s room during the length of his or her stay and shared other amenities at the house with the person staying, the staying person may be designated as a ‘lodger’.

What are the legal implications of a person being defined as a ‘lodger’?

According to UK laws, a lodger may not have exclusive rights for the property or the ‘room’ in which he or she is staying. Thus, the landlord can evict the lodger by giving only 28 days of written notice without even waiting for a court order. However, if the lodger refuses to handover the property, the landlord has to seek the help of the court, which anyway would evict the lodger through legal means. However, the lodger and the landlord should abide by a written agreement between the two parties as none of the parties are known to each other and therefore should understand the desires of both very clearly from the beginning.

The agreement does not have a formal structure although it should ideally include clauses related to when the rent should be paid, when and how to handover the property or terminate the agreement, what is the understanding on bringing guest for overnight stays, how should the cleaning be carried out…etc.

In general, a landlord should give a minimum of 28 days notice before terminating the agreement or should abide by the clauses mentioned in relation to giving notice in the said agreement. However, it should be remembered that a landlord has the right to give a shorter notice when the lodger behaves aggressively, violently or illegally. At the same time, following giving notice of 28 days and if the landlord had access to the property during the length of the lodger’s stay, the landlord can prevent the lodger from entering the property by installing new locks or other such methods.

Therefore, it is apparent that a lodger does not have much legal backing when it comes to disputes with the landlord. According to UK law, the agreement between the lodger and the landlord is a main focus of reference when it comes to such disputes.