A free information service from spareroom.co.uk

Lodger's rights

If you rent out a room to a lodger and they share use of facilities such as a kitchen and bathroom they are what's know as a 'common law tenant'. Common law tenants don't have the same kind of rights as other tenants but you'll still need a court order to evict if your lodger refuses to leave. In most cases though there's very little risk to you in taking in a lodger.

Generally speaking you should be able to have a fairly relaxed relationship with your lodger based on common sense and mutual respect. In most cases this works fine but you should always have a written agreement in place to ensure you both know your position - see our lodger contracts page for more on this and to buy downloadable agreements.

In any situation where people are sharing facilities there will be times when you both need to use the same thing. If you treat the situation as you would if sharing with a friend and just discuss it and come to an agreement you'll be better off than saying 'it's my flat so I go first'. Of course it is your flat but you won't have a good relationship with your lodger if they're always deferring to you and feel like an inferior in the property. With a little common sense and tact most situations should present little, if any, problem. Your lodger should be allowed access to facilities and be able to enjoy the accomodation without hindrance from you.

One thing you'll need to consider is the issue of visitors. If your lodger has a partner who ends up staying round every night you'll end up sharing your home with two people instead of one (and only one of them will be paying for the privilege). You may want to consider limiting the number of nights in a week your lodger can have a guest round. It may seem like being over cautious and restrictive but could well avoid problems in the long term.

You might end up getting on really well with your lodger, eating together on a regular basis and buying most of your food together. If this happens then great but it's unreasonable to expect it. Your lodger isn't necessarily looking for a new friend so don't expect them to become your new best mate automatically. Allow them space and the freedom to enjoy the property and you'll be off to a good start.