Under what circumstances is an occupier a 'Lodger' and not a 'Tenant'?

published on 18/08/2016  

There are clear and distinct differences between ‘tenants’ and ‘lodgers’ and it is vitally important to be aware of these, especially if you’re a landlord, because the status of your occupier (tenant or lodger) will determine the rights that you have as Landlord.

A ‘tenant’ rents an entire property for the period of the tenancy. They effectively have similar rights as an ‘owner’ of the property for the duration of their tenancy, and therefore have the legal right to choose who they permit into the premises.

A ‘lodger’ does not have any of the rights similar to that of ownership of the property, they are typically a ‘licensee’, which means they only have the right to stay in the premises as long as the landlord allows it (subject to the terms of any Lodging Agreement in place). A lodger cannot keep the landlord out of their room, let alone the property. In this way, there are obvious and crucial differences in rights.

Below are three of the main differences which make a ‘lodger’ a ‘lodger’ and not a ‘tenant’…

1) A ‘lodger’- A landlord lives in the same property and shares living areas.
 A lodger lives with the landlord in the same property and can share living areas such as the kitchen, bathroom and living room.

2) A ‘lodger’ does not have ‘exclusive occupation’.
 A lodger does NOT have the right to any exclusivity to any room/area in the property. This means that the landlord is allowed to enter any room whenever they wish, including the lodger’s bedroom. If there is a lock on the door, the landlord must have a copy so they can access the room.

3) The Landlord must live in the property
 The landlord must live in the property for the duration of the time the occupier is there in order for them to be a ‘lodger’. If the landlord moves out and has a primary residence elsewhere, the lodger will become a tenant and may then have exclusivity over the property.