Can I take in a lodger?

If you are struggling to pay your rent, you could increase your income by taking in a lodger. But there are a few things you need to think about first.

Getting permission

You must ask our permission before taking in a lodger, as stated in your tenancy agreement. Whether we give permission will depend on your individual circumstances.

If you are thinking of taking in a lodger please contact us. We'll let you know if we would give permission and tell you about your rights and responsibilities. 

You will also need to contact your home insurance providers to make sure that your contents insurance covers you for a lodger.

Deciding what to charge

How much rent you charge your lodger will depend on what facilities and services you provide for them. You can see what other people in your area charge by looking at the SpareRoom website.

Currently you can receive up to £20 a week in rent without it affecting your benefits. If you provide meals, half of anything you receive over £20 will be ignored as well. 

Your lodger can also claim for their room rent in their own right.

When you are on Universal Credit, any rent from a lodger will no longer be treated as income. But deductions will be made under 'bedroom tax' for the spare room that your lodger rents. You should get enough income from your lodger's rent to cover this shortfall.

Finding a suitable lodger

There are several ways you can look for a lodger:

  • place a free advert on the SpareRoom website
  • put an advert in the local paper
  • check the adverts from people looking for a room to rent
  • ask friends and relatives if they know anyone who is looking for a room

Think carefully before taking someone into your home - do not just accept the first person that comes along. You need to consider whether they will fit in with you and your family.

It is very important to think about your personal safety. It's a good idea to do a background check on potential lodgers, for example ask for a reference from their previous landlord. Always have another adult with you when interviewing potential lodgers and make sure you ask them about anything that concerns you.

Here are some safety tips produced for SpareRoom by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust.  

Asking a lodger to leave

When you take in a lodger, we advise having a written agreement that you both sign.  This should include how much notice you will give if you want them to leave.

You will be responsible for legally evicting your lodger if you want them to leave and you must give them reasonable notice. 

Your lodger will not have security like you.  They can only continue to live at your property whilst you have a tenancy there.

PDF DWP factsheet - Renting out your spare room, 115 k Download
PDF Taking in a lodger policy, 111 k Download

Waterloo Homes residents

If you are a shared owner, leaseholder or market rent tenant, please go to the Waterloo Homes website

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