Q&A - Does lodger have legal right to stay in house without written agreement?

Q:  I took in a lodger as I needed extra money. He has his own bedroom and uses shared facilities with me. I now want to move away and rent the property out formally to someone else. I have asked him to leave but he is refusing to move out. He says because I accepted money from him he now has a legal tenancy as he has been in the property over 12 months. We have no written agreement. What can I do?

A:  Your lodger does not have the same rights as a tenant under, for example, an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. If you occupy the property, as your main residence it falls under the description of an excluded tenancy or licence within the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 (S.3A(2)). As such you will not need a formal court order to evict him.

You are obliged only to give your lodger reasonable notice to vacate the property, allowing sufficient time for him to find somewhere else to live. Without a written agreement, setting out the specific notice period you should give him at least 28 days notice of the date you require him to vacate. The notice should be clearly set out in a letter and a copy kept as evidence.

If he still occupies the property after that date he will no longer have a legal right to do so.

At the end of the notice period you could change the locks preventing him from re-entering your property, though you would subsequently need to make arrangements for him to collect any of his belongings. You should not let him re-enter the property after changing the locks. A Police presence may be necessary if a breach of the peace is likely, but hopefully he will leave voluntarily to ensure you will provide a reference for his next home.