Here is a question to the blog clinic from Paul (not his real name) who is a lodger landlord.
My live-in lodger was offered an assured shorthold tenancy by me but failed to sign it.
I unfortunately due to him moving rooms a month into the tenancy did not protect the deposit as the rent changed and he did not pay the extra difference.
We are now in a fix as he has failed to pay two months rent, the deposit difference was paid in the fourth month and the relationship has broken down.
What is the easiest way to end the arrangement and gain back my room?
Paul, you are under a number of misconceptions:
A lodger cannot be an assured shorthold tenant.
The reason for this is that the Housing Act 1988 which set up assured and assured shorthold tenancies specifically excluded resident landlords. However in most cases where someone rents a room in someone’s home, they will not be a tenant at all – they will have a residential license.
You do not need to protect a lodger’s deposit in a scheme
This is because the legislation specifically limits the deposit rules to deposits taken for an assured shorthold tenancy. And a lodger cannot be an assured shorthold tenant. Even if they have a tenancy – which is unlikely.
However, note that in England the tenant fees rules apply which limit the amount of deposit you can take to five weeks.
You do not need to get a court order to evict a lodger
This is because the Protection from Eviction Act 1977, which is the act which says that all residential occupiers can only be evicted through the courts, makes an exception for people who share living accommodation with their landlord.
So, if your lodger refuses to leave after having been given proper notice, you can actually just lock them out and refuse to let them in. I discuss the procedure in Days 19 and 20 on my Lodger Landlord website.
So you are in a considerably better position than you thought.
First of all, read the guidance on my Lodger Landlord site carefully.
You should then write a formal letter to your lodger asking him to vacate as discussed on day 19. If he does not move out, follow the guidance for day 20 taking care to keep a record of everything you do and making sure that no violence is used.
I have known cases where lodger landlords in this situation have paid for one nights bed and breakfast for the lodger so they will have somewhere to sleep the night after they are evicted.
I have also known a case where a lodger landlord, who did not want his lodger coming anywhere near him again, moved all his lodger’s possessions to a yellow storage unit, paid for storage for one month, and gave the lodger the key.
So long as you act reasonably and give the lodger sufficient time to vacate, you should be fine.