What’s the difference between a Tenant and a Lodger?

People are sometimes confused by the difference between a tenant and a lodger. It is important to know the difference because the rights and responsibilities of the parties are very different.

The five main differences between a Tenant and a Lodger are;

  1. A tenant has a space which should include a living area including an area to cook and wash. A ‘lodger’ that occupied an annex with a shared access hall, would likely be deemed to be a tenant. However, if they shared a kitchen and living room they might be more likely to be a lodger.
  2. For a lodger to be a lodger, the landlord must live in the same property for the time during which the lodger is there.
  3. A lodger must not have a key to a lock on his bedroom door. Whilst you should respect each other’s privacy, allowing a lodger ‘exclusive possession’ might well create a tenancy over time.
  4. If a landlord provides services such as clean towels, room cleaning or meals then the occupant is likely to remain a lodger. Accessing the lodger’s room once every few weeks to provide a change of bedding might be a great way to enforce this provision – just in case.
  5. If there is a provision in the agreement that the occupier may be required to move rooms then this might go some way to supporting an argument that your occupier is a lodger and not a tenant. This, however, must be considered against the weight of other facts, including the existence of exclusive possession over time.

It’s important to know the difference between a lodger and a tenant as a tenant has specific legal rights to occupation that a lodger does not. Evicting a tenant without a court order could get you into a lot of hot water, so it pays to know the difference! Also, there are certain tax breaks available to the homeowner, such as the rent a room scheme, which are not transferable to tenants.

If you are unsure on this subject why not call our Bracknell lettings team for a chat on 01344 860121.

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