Lodger's Notice Periods

NB this page contains some general legal information which is for guidance only and is not legal advice see - Disclaimer.

As a guide, notice periods are:

  • In the case of violence or you truly believe there is an imminent and credible threat of violence, inform the police and the Agreement ends immediately - if not the police, try to have someone else with you, at least as a witness.

  • For unreasonable behaviour short of this, 24 hours to week (depending on how serious the transgression is) would be considered reasonable - but always put this in writing, citing reasons.

  • Whatever is stated in the Agreement provided this doesn't violate unfair contract terms legislation - if the agreement is for a set period (e.g. six months) then notice couldn't normally be given within that time (unless there has been a breach or both parties agree) - outside of a set period, the amount of notice is again the minimum agreed between the landlord and lodger.

  • If there is no written agreement, and outside of any set period, or the Agreement doesn't state a notice period, notice is implied based on how frequently rent is paid - therefore usually a calendar month or a week, or again what is reasonable in the circumstances, i.e. lodger's behaviour, length of time living at property, whether they could be expected to find alternative accommodation within that time frame.
    • If the agreement runs from week to week, by law in England and Wales you must give your lodger a rent book, regardless of how the rent is actually paid. It is advisable to give them a paper copy. A legally compliant rent book, for all types of weekly let, including room lets to lodgers, can be downloaded for free here.
  • For termination due to rent arrears, most Agreements state that after two months, the let ends, although written notice should still be given informing the lodger that he needs to move out after the two months are up.

  • Regardless of the reason for termination, if you believe your lodger might refuse to leave, or could become violent, you could try explaining the situation beforehand to the police (be prepared to show them proof that you're the householder, such as your own mortgage or tenancy agreement, or failing that, utility or council tax bills in your name) and let them have copies of the lodger Notice and Agreement. The police are not expected to be knowledgeable about landlord and tenant law, so you may also need to make it clear that your lodger does not own or rent the property as a tenant and also to explain that your lodger shares living space with you and as such is a licencee, with only the right to reside granted by their contract with you and therefore S1(2) Protection from Eviction Act 1977 doesn't apply. Your right to evict a licencee without a court order is contained in section 3A(2) of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. However, the police might still refuse to attend the eviction, and might even tell you it's a civil matter or to seek legal advice, as it's not an area they typically feel confident about involving themselves in - in which case, all you can do is to ask a friend to be there or change the locks the day after the lodger should have moved out, while they're out. If you've had a lodger who has caused trouble, you should do this in any case.
  • Get your own direct referral barrister, dealing with many legal matters, including landlord and tenant, for £25 a month with Litigation Warranty - no solicitor needed.

    Once the notice period is up, in England and Wales, the landlord automatically takes back possession of the premises - unlike with a tenancy a court order (where a tenant is refusing to vacate) is not required provided you share actual living space (bathroom, kitchen and/or living room) AND you can prove that the property was your main home for the duration of the lodger's agreement - however, in Scotland even a lodger who shares your living space can't be evicted without a court order - see Shelter Scotland). This means the landlord can change the locks. However, any property the former lodger has left still belongs to him, and the landlord must protect it and take reasonable steps to return it to him (subject of course to his own safety) - although of course don't invite the former lodger inside if there's any chance they might refuse to leave!

    Lodger DOESN'T share living accommodation with landlord

    For an excluded tenant (a lodger who doesn't share living facilities with the landlord, although they may not have self contained accommodation), at least a calendar month's notice is necessary (unless a serious breach of the agreement or violence can be proved), and a Court Order must be obtained if eviction needs to be enforced. Notice is best served via properly drafted notice to quit form, which can be obtained from landlord bodies such as the RLA and NLA, or a proper qualified solicitor or accredited letting agent.

    NB If you moved out completely while the lodger still lived there (without giving a month's notice of a change of landlord and a new landlord moving in within 6 months), you are likely to have created an assured shorthold tenancy. As such the former lodger now has full tenant's rights and you should seek legal advice as to the form of notice to serve and a possession order from the Court may be needed. If you issue a Section 21 notice, the tenant must be given a minimum of two calendar month's notice.

    Assignment (change) of resident landlord

    Although it isn’t likely to happen often, it may sometimes be the case that a live in landlord moves out, to make way for another live in landlord (who could be a new owner occupier or the owner’s tenant), but the lodger remains living at the property. This is likely to be more usual with HMOs.

    Provided the lodger is given 28 days notice of the change of live in landlord, and the new landlord moves in within 6 months, the renter's status remains that of a lodger, although they have temporary tenancy rights if there is a gap between the old landlord moving out and the new one moving in, so they would become an excluded tenant until the new landlord moves in.

    If a resident landlord dies, his/her estate will simply continue as “resident” landlord (as though there had been no change of landlord) until the property is disposed of.

    Further information on change of resident landlord can be found in the government leaflet, Rent a room in your home”.

    Next - How NOT to evict a Lodger!