How To Evict A Lodger

mariam-abu-hussein
Mariam Abu HusseinLegal Assessment Specialist @ Lawhive
Updated on 7th November 2023

Being a landlord to a lodger can be pretty cool. You're basically making the most of your space while giving someone a place to live. But sometimes things don't go as planned, or your situation changes, and you might need to evict a lodger. 

how-to-evict-a-lodger

When it comes to evicting a lodger legally, it's important to know your rights and responsibilities as a landlord. You might want to evict them for reasons like they're not paying rent, breaking the rental agreement, or because you're moving out. Whatever the reason, knowing the process can make your life a lot easier and less stressful. 

This guide is your go-to source for understanding how to legally evict a lodger. We’ll look at: 

  • How lodgers are defined in law; 

  • Lodger rights;

  • When you can legally evict a lodger; 

  • How to evict a lodger; 

  • If you have to go to court to evict a lodger;

  • What to do if a lodger refuses to leave.

What is a lodger?

A lodger is someone who rents a room in a homeowner's house. They get their own space but share common areas like the kitchen and living room. 

In law, lodgers are ‘excluded occupiers.’ This term is important because there are certain rules around how a  landlord can evict an excluded occupier, and they’re different from other tenancy types.

Rights of lodgers and excluded occupiers

An excluded occupier is someone who lives in a house that's owned by their landlord. Excluded occupiers, including lodgers, don't have as many legal rights as other tenants.

That means, if a landlord wants a lodger to leave, they might not get much notice, sometimes just a few weeks.

Excluded occupiers can also be people who live in rent free accommodation or individuals renting out a holiday let. 

Lodger tenancy agreements 

In the world of landlord-lodger agreements, there are two main types of tenancy agreement: an ‘excluded licence’ and an ‘excluded tenancy.’

If a lodger has an excluded licence, it means they don’t have sole access to any specific area in the property and the landlord can pretty much move around as they please.

On the other hand, a lodger with an excluded tenancy has their own room, and the landlord can’t just come in whenever they feel like it. But they do still share the common living spaces, like the kitchen or living room. 

Lodger rights and eviction

In the UK, lodgers have their own set of rights that are a bit different from regular tenants. They do get some privileges, but it's important to know that they don't have the same rights as full-on tenants.

One of the big differences is that lodgers might not get as much notice if they need to leave. Unlike tenants, who have more stability, lodgers could be asked to go pretty quickly. So, even though they have a place to stay, they should always be ready for the possibility of finding a new spot on short notice.

How to evict a lodger in an excluded tenancy or licence 

When a lodger is considered an excluded occupier, landlords don’t need to jump through a bunch of legal hoops to ask them to leave. There is no need for an eviction notice, instead, landlords just need to give ‘reasonable notice.’

What’s ‘reasonable notice?’

It’s often the same length as the rental payment period. So, if a lodger pays rent every week, you’d give them a week to vacate the place. And if they don’t leave, you’re allowed to change the locks on their room, even if they’ve left their stuff behind - although you do have to make arrangements to give their stuff back to them. 

How to evict a lodger in a non-excluded licence or tenancy

If a lodger has a non-excluded tenancy or licence, they do have some basic protection as an occupier. So evicting this kind of lodger requires a more official approach. 

In order to evict this kind of lodger, landlords must serve them with a written notice to quit. How long the notice period depends on the agreement in place, but it’s often around 4 weeks or more. 

If a lodger doesn’t leave before the end of the notice period, landlords will have to go to court to get a possession order.

How much notice do you have to give a lodger? 

How much notice you should give a lodger depends on the type of tenancy agreement and the arrangement. 

In an excluded tenancy the notice has to be ‘reasonable.’ There are no set periods unlike in a Section 8 or Section 21 notice

For non-excluded tenancies, it depends on the agreement in place. 

Do you have to go to court to evict a lodger? 

Generally, most landlords don’t have to go through the hassle of taking a lodger to court if they’ve followed the correct eviction processes. If a lodger refuses to leave as per the property notice, landlords have the right to peaceably evict them by changing the locks and giving them their belongings back. 

The only exception to this is in the case of non-excluded tenancies. In these cases, landlords will have to go through the courts to evict a lodger. 

Can a lodger take a landlord to court? 

It is unlikely a lodger will be able to take a landlord to court for illegal eviction, as they don’t have the same rights as other tenants. However, a lodger could take a landlord to small claims court for deposit disputes, for example, if a landlord refuses to pay their deposit back after being asked to leave. 

What to do if a lodger refuses to leave?

If a lodger refuses to leave, a landlord can follow the below steps:

  • Provide the required notice, specifying the period on the lodger agreement.

  • Change the locks and remove their belongings.

  • Seek legal advice from a landlord solicitor.

Can you call the police to evict a lodger?

No, the eviction of a lodger is considered a civil matter and the police typically do not have authority in such situations.

Landlords are encouraged to follow the legal process and seek a possession order through the courts if the lodger is refusing to leave following a notice period.

For further help and advice on evicting a lodger, contact our legal assessment tea to get a free quote and speak to our expert solicitors within 48 hours. 

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