Legal 101

What to look out for in a lodger agreement template 

Lorraine Dindi
August 25, 2021

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Are these 3 clauses in your free licence to occupy template?

“FREE LODGER AGREEMENT [Click Here]!” Free contract templates. The internet is filled to the brim with them, and despite being aware of all their shortcomings, we can’t help sift through several sites in hopes of finding the perfect one. Their appeal is clear: these contract templates are seemingly free, easily available and claim to be valid. From studying the most popular lodger agreement templates available online, here are 3 reasons you should reconsider using that PDF license to occupy template currently sitting in your downloads folder. 

  1. Health and safety

Even though a licensor may not be under the same duty as a landlord to maintain the property to a certain standard, they still owe the lodger a room and home which is safe and free from any health hazards. A lodger agreement should therefore detail the steps taken by the licensor to ensure that the property is fit for human habitation. This includes ensuring that all electrical appliances provided by the licensor are in safe working order, and that the furniture installed in the property meet the current fire resistance requirements. Moreover, under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, a licensor must arrange for an engineer to carry out a gas safety check every 12 months. None of the lodger agreement templates we studied mentioned these duties, thereby making it difficult for a licensor to know exactly what is legally and contractually expected of them.

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  1. Protection from Eviction Act 1977

A lodger falls under the category of excluded occupier. This means that they have limited rights to remain in a certain property and are excluded from the protection afforded to tenants under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. A good lodger agreement will identify the license being in through it as being an excluded licence under section 3A(2) of the 1977 Act. It is very important for the lodger to understand when they read and sign the contract, that they can be made to leave the property without a court-issued eviction order. Lodgers are only entitled to reasonable notice, which can be as short as their rental period. Unfortunately, the most popular lodger agreements available online do not explicitly recognise the status of the license being granted. 

  1. Exclusive possession 

The courts have explained that the cornerstone of the lease, and thus its defining feature is exclusive possession. This is the right to occupy a particular property (or part of a property) and exclude all others, including the landlord, from it. When renting to a lodger, the licensor necessarily retains control and possession of the whole property including the lodger’s room. This means that the licensor can lawfully enter the lodger’s room at any time without permission, and the lodger does not have the right to exclude them. Many lodger agreement templates on the internet do not address exclusive possession altogether, and those which do address it in a way that resembles a tenancy and not a license to occupy by purporting to give the tenant exclusive possession of the room.

Legislate is a platform which offers more than templates, it invites landlords and letting agencies to negotiate and create valid legal tenancy agreements. You can read our tutorial to learn how to create your tenancy agreements in minutes with Legislate. Book a demo of Legislate, request access here or receive an invite from an existing member.

‍The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.

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