This article provide important information about lodging accommodation.
What are lodgings?
- These are rooms in private houses where the landlord or landlady or close relatives live on the premises and share the communal facilities i.e. bathroom, kitchen etc.
- They may take the form of family households or students who own their own property - although many are offered by single people or professionals with a spare room in their house.
- Accommodation is offered either on a room only (cook for yourself) or half board (two meals a day provided by landlord) basis with rent calculated on a weekly basis.
- The rent should include the cost of heating, lighting and hot water. Any additional charges should be discussed with the landlord.
- Lodging arrangements are generally very flexible, offering freedom to both parties.
Will I be expected to sign a contract?
- You should expect to sign a lodgings agreement of some form but you should not sign (or be given at all) a fixed-term agreement or an Assured Shorthold Tenancy either.
- All landlords advertising lodgings on Student Pad have been informed by Student Housing that contracts committing you to stay in the property for a fixed period of time are not acceptable.
- You should be expected to agree to, and perhaps sign, basic house rules. This could include: how much the rent is, when and how it is payable, what rooms you can use, restrictions on telephone, washing machine etc.
What if I’m asked to sign a contract?
- It is important that you check the contents of the contract carefully before agreeing to sign.
- Lodgers cannot technically be called ‘tenants’. A tenant is someone who has exclusive possession of a property and can exclude others from the property, as a lodger you cannot do this. A lodger is otherwise known as a ‘licensee’ – that is someone who has been given permission from the homeowner to live in his or her property.
- If a landlord grants a tenancy but is a resident at the property, the tenancy cannot be Assured or Assured Shorthold. It will generally be held by licence. If you are asked to sign an agreement, it is important to check the length of it. If it is for a fixed term, you will generally be held liable for rent for the whole period of the fixed term.
- If possible, ask the landlord to insert a notice or break clause. This will allow either party to give notice to break the contract if necessary.
Will I have to pay a deposit?
- You will generally be asked to pay a deposit when you move in. This may be equivalent to one months’ rent although there is no set amount so it could be less.
- Ensure that you get a receipt for your payment if you pay in cash. If you pay by bank transfer, you will have proof on your bank statement that you have done so.
- Please note that as you are not signing an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, your deposit will not be liable to be covered under any of the Deposit Protection Schemes so make sure to carry out a thorough inventory when moving into the property and take pictures at the time of moving in.
What if I want to leave?
- It is important that you agree notice periods before you move into a property.
- If possible, get this in writing to avoid later complications.
- You may agree to give notice equivalent to one rental period (how often you pay your rent) – one week, two weeks or one month's notice.
- If you leave without giving reasonable notice, your landlord is entitled to claim one-rental period's rent in lieu of notice.
What if the landlord asks me to leave?
- The resident landlord always retains the right to regain possession of his/her home and can evict you without going to court.
- This is provided that they have served you sufficient notice.
- Lodgers or licensees are not protected by the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 as you do not have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy.