The difference between a lodger and a tenant

Actualizado el Monday, 25 January, 2021

With so many different terms flying around in the housing world, it can be difficult to get your head around it all. Don’t be scared off, though, it’s often quite simple when broken down – plus, renting out part of your property can really boost your income. If you’re questioning what the difference between a lodger and a tenant is, this guide is for you.

What does lodger mean?

To put it simply, if you reside in the same property as the person you’re renting out a room to, you have lodgers rather than tenants. This makes you a live-in landlord, which is also known as a resident landlord. On the other hand, you’d be more commonly known as a live out landlord and the renters would be tenants if you permanently live outside of the property.

Why does it matter? The difference is actually very important when it comes to rights, deposits and contracts.

First of all, a tenant would typically have more rights in the household than a lodger. In fact, a lodger wouldn’t be given a tenancy agreement but would instead expect to receive something called a lodger license. The major distinctions between these two agreements is that lodgers don’t have an agreed notice period before eviction is allowed, whereas a tenant would have this set in stone in their contract.

It’s not as severe as it may sound though; you still have to give lodgers a reasonable amount of notice before cutting them loose, which is typically around 28 days. It’s still important to include similar things in a lodger license as you would a tenancy agreement, including conditions of their stay and essential house rules.

Another thing to note is that a tenant’s contract would state the landlord must give at least 24 hours notice before entering the property, whereas the lodger license would state the right to enter without permission – we’ll get into that later.

It’s understandable that you would want to check out a person’s background before sharing your home with them and luckily, you can screen lodgers in a similar way to tenants. You must get permission from your lodger before doing this, just as you would with a tenant. Taking on some tips from this guide from The Telegraph may help you with the process.

As well as the formal checks, it’s important that you get on well with your lodger – after all, you will be sharing space with them. Here at Badi, we take your likes and dislikes into account when you’re searching for someone to live with.

Do lodgers pay a deposit?

The short answer: yes. Just like a with a tenant, it’s important that you hold back some money to cover any damage that may occur. The major difference here is that it’s a legal requirement to put a tenants deposit into a tenancy deposit protection scheme, whereas this doesn’t have to be done for a lodger. You may want to anyway just so you don’t have to worry about it, but it’s totally up to you when it comes to a resident that you live with.

Rights to space and obligations

You may be surprised to know that lodgers shouldn’t actually put a lock on their bedroom door as they aren’t allowed to stop you from accessing this space. It’s still important to give your lodger privacy, but you can technically go into their room without asking. If you do allow your lodger to have a lock, make sure you get a copy of their key. This is because the landlord still lives at the property, giving them more rights than the lodger.

A tenant has exclusive rights over a property for the agreed term, whereas a lodger doesn’t. This means that a tenant technically owns the rented space during their lease, giving them more rights and the ability to stop the landlord from turning up without notice.

As you may have guessed, a live-in landlord has it a little bit easier when it comes to their responsibilities. A landlord with tenants rather than lodgers has to follow guidelines when it comes to disrepair in the rented property, whereas live-in landlords don’t have many rules to follow. Both types of landlord must follow through with annual gas safety checks, as well as ensuring the property is safe to live in.