Guidance on taking in a lodger or subletting a room in your home in return for payment. This includes information about your eligibility, responsibilities and how it will affect any benefits you claim.


A lodger is someone who shares your home, usually in return for a payment. Although they may have their own room, they do not have exclusive use of it and they do not have any tenancy rights.

A lodger may receive services such as laundry, cleaning and meals (in this case, they may also be known as a 'boarder').


A subtenant will have a part of your home (usually a bedroom) for their exclusive use and you can't enter this area without their permission.

Please note that family members and partners who live with you as part of your household are not normally considered lodgers or subtenants. However, if there is a change in who you share your home with, you still need to inform us.

Eligibility criteria

You can take in a lodger or subtenant if you have an assured, secure or starter tenancy.

You cannot if you:

  • have an assured shorthold tenancy
  • live in supported, sheltered or agency-managed housing
  • want to sublet the whole of your home
  • are overcrowded or likely to become overcrowded if you take in a lodger or subtenant
  • are subject to a court order

You may be able to if you are a leaseholder or shared owner. Please check the terms of your lease and you must seek our approval for subletting.

If you’re thinking about taking in a lodger or subtenant, please check your tenancy agreement first.

You can also speak to our customer service centre who will help you with your request. 

Your responsibilities when you take in a lodger or subtenant

If you are thinking about taking in a lodger or subletting a room in your home, you must get our permission first.

You'll need to put any request in writing and provide us with:

  • the name(s), gender(s), and date(s) of birth of any potential lodgers or subtenants
  • the parts of your home they will be occupying
  • how much rent you will be charging them
  • a copy of any written agreement between you and the lodger or subtenant

You are responsible for the behaviour of any lodgers or subtenants while they live in your home. If they cause a nuisance you will be held responsible. We recommend that you carry out appropriate checks on anyone moving into your home to ensure they are who they say they are and trustworthy.

If you claim benefits and you have a lodger or subtenant, you must inform the relevant authorities as this may affect the amount of benefit you can claim.

You must declare relevant income from a lodger or subtenant to the Tax Office. The government's Rent a Room Scheme may apply, allowing you to receive up to £7,500 per year tax-free.

If you move out, you must make sure the lodger or subtenant leaves too. If you decide that you want them to leave, you will have to arrange this yourself.

You should also tell your home insurer that you are taking a lodger or subtenant as it can affect your home insurance coverage. 

You must not sublet the whole of your home or you will be in breach of your tenancy agreement. If we discover you are subletting the whole of your home, we will take legal action to take back possession of the property.

If you are a tenant, you should notify us if there is any change to who shares your home with you. Information about who occupies your home is important and enables us to manage your tenancy effectively.

For more help and advice, please contact Citizens Advice, your local council or a solicitor.

How a lodger or subtenant affects your benefits claim

Since April 2013, working-age residents claiming Housing Benefits or Universal Credit and who have spare bedrooms, have faced deductions to their benefits based on the rent they pay.

How a lodger or subtenant affects your benefits will depend on which benefit you are claiming:

  • Housing Benefit
    If you are claiming Housing Benefit, a lodger or subtenant will be included in the calculation of number of bedrooms you need. So, by having a lodger or subtenant in your spare bedroom you could avoid the deduction. However, any rent you receive over £20 per week will be considered income and will affect your Housing Benefit.
  • Universal Credit
    If you are claiming Universal Credit, a lodger or subtenant will not be included in the calculation of the number of bedrooms you need and so the deduction will still apply. However, the rent you receive will not be treated as income and could be used to help pay the shortfall in your rent.

To find out more, please contact the Department of Work and Pensions or your local council.

The rights of lodgers and subtenants

A lodger or subtenant never becomes part of your tenancy with L&Q.

They do not have any rights to your home or to take over your tenancy if you leave or die.

You must give your lodger or subtenant reasonable notice, verbally or in writing before they must leave.