Q. My partner and I have recently rented a room in a house and everything seems fine so far but I am a little concerned as a friend at work has suggested as a lodger I do not have as many rights as a tenant. To be honest I’m not really clear what the difference is between a Lodger and a Tenant anyway, can you explain?
A. If you live in the property with your landlord resident you are Lodgers not Tenants. However, if your Landlord doesn’t live in the property with you and it’s rented out to you both or room by room to lots of people, you are without a doubt tenants. Typically a tenant has more rights than a lodger. The contract between your Landlord and a lodger is called a licence, not a tenancy agreement (normally an AST for tenants). Where tenants benefit from standard notice periods in their contract before you can be evicted, lodgers can be served ‘reasonable’ notice to ask them to leave at any point. This is normally 28 days but it could be shorter. A live in landlord should get a lodger to sign a licence which sets out the conditions of your stay in their property, as well as outlining any house rules, before you move in. A tenant owns the space they rent for the length of their lease; however as a lodger you cannot exclude the landlord from your room and for this reason they don’t allow you to put a lock on your door if you’re living in their home. Landlords of Lodgers can also ask you to move to another room if necessary, though not something you would usually expect to see. Tenants, on the other hand, are entitled to exclude the landlord from their space, which means they should give you notice before they show up on their doorstep, unless it’s an emergency. Tenants with ASTs are now protected by tenancy deposit protection regulation. Live in landlords with lodgers however are not required to protect your deposit, though they can do so if they choose. The obligations of a live in landlord are much less onerous than those placed on live out landlords. Whilst both types will need to have annual gas safety checks done, they have a responsibility to keep your property safe and free from health hazards. In most other ways, the experience of both tenants and lodgers living accommodation is relatively similar.