Dear Dawn

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. Can you explain?

Confused Lodger

Dear Confused Lodger

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 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.

Where tenants benefit from standard notice periods in their contract before they can be evicted, lodgers can be served ‘reasonable’ notice to ask them to leave at any point.

This is typically 28 days but can be shorter. A live-in landlord should get a lodger to sign a licence that sets out the conditions of their stay in the property, as well as outlining any house rules, before they move in.

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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 them to move to another room if necessary, although that’s not common.

Tenants, on the other hand, are entitled to exclude the landlord from their space, which means a landlord should give notice before they show up, unless it’s an emergency.

Tenants with tenancy agreements are now protected by tenancy deposit protection regulation. Live-in landlords with lodgers, however, are not required to protect any deposit, though they can do so if they choose.

In short lodgers have fewer rights.

Dawn Sandoval is the owner of Dawn Sandoval Residential in Canary Wharf

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