In many cases, tenants need their landlord's permission before they can take in a lodger. Your tenancy agreement may contain a term on this, so you should check it first. If you do need permission, it's best to get this in writing.
This page provides information on the rights of different tenants to take in a lodger.
Most local council tenants are secure tenants. You are also likely to be a secure tenant if your landlord is a housing association and your tenancy started before 15 January 1989.
Most secure tenancies don’t have an end date. If your tenancy has an end date and you rent from the council, your tenancy is a ‘flexible tenancy’. Flexible tenancies are a type of secure tenancy.
You have a legal right to take in a lodger. You don’t need your landlord’s consent to do this.
You should, however, check your tenancy agreement in case you have to tell your landlord about any changes in your household which could include taking in a lodger.
Assured tenants are mainly housing association tenants where the tenancy began on or after15 January 1989. Some assured tenants have private landlords. This is likely to be the case where you moved into your home between 15 January 1989 and 27 February 1997 and you didn't get a notice saying that the tenancy was an assured shorthold tenancy.
You can also be an assured tenant with a private landlord if you moved in on or after 28 February 1997, but this is quite rare.
Most tenants who rent from a private landlord are assured shorthold tenants. You are likely to be an assured shorthold tenant if:
Some assured shorthold tenants also have housing association landlords, for example, if you have a 'starter' tenancy. A starter tenancy is a form of trial tenancy which generally lasts for a year.
If you are an assured or assured shorthold tenant, you should check your tenancy agreement. It may allow you to have a lodger, allow it on certain conditions, or forbid it completely.
An introductory tenancy is a type of local authority tenancy that lasts for one year. It's a form of trial tenancy and if there are no problems in the first year, you are likely to become a secure tenant, or in England, a flexible tenant.
If you are an introductory tenant, you do not have a specific legal right to take in a lodger. However, you should check your tenancy agreement as it may give you a contractual right to take in a lodger. If your tenancy agreement doesn't say anything about taking in lodgers, then it wouldn't be a breach of your tenancy if you did take in a lodger.
Protected tenants have private landlords and will have had a tenancy for a long time, that is from before 15 January 1989. These tenants are also known as regulated tenants.
If you are a protected tenant, you can take in a lodger without your landlord's permission unless there is a condition in your tenancy agreement which says that you cannot.
Tenants with a demoted or family intervention tenancy will have a social housing landlord, such as a local authority or housing association. They will have this type of tenancy as a result of serious anti-social behaviour.
It's unlikely that you're allowed to take in a lodger where you have a demoted tenancy or a family intervention tenancy, but you should check your tenancy agreement to make sure. If your agreement doesn't say anything about taking in lodgers, then it wouldn't be a breach of your tenancy if you did take in a lodger.
Online Advice is provided by citizensadvice.org.uk; copyright © 2021 Citizens Advice