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Taking in a lodger if you own your home

A lodger is someone who rents a room in your home and who may share the bathroom, kitchen and/or living room with you.

Can I take in a lodger?

Most mortgage agreements allow you to rent out a room in your home, but you usually need permission from your lender. Check your mortgage agreement to see what it says. If it says you need permission, it's important to get this before anyone moves in. If you don't, you could be breaking your agreement and your lender may take you to court. Taking in a lodger is not always allowed, and some lenders refuse to give permission if you have mortgage arrears. Get advice if this happens, as it may be possible to negotiate.

Bear in mind that if you are married or in a civil partnership or if you own your home jointly with someone else, you'll also need to get permission from your partner or the other joint owner(s).

What tenancy status would a lodger have?

If you share facilities such as the kitchen and bathroom with your lodger, they will be a common law tenant. Common law tenants don't have many rights, but you will still need a court order to evict them if you ask them to leave and they don't want to go. Check out the section on sharing with your landlord to find out what your lodger's rights are and what you would need to do if you wanted them to leave.

Download an example of a lodger agreement.

Landlord registration

If you are using the home as your only and main residence and they will be no more than 2 lodges in your property, you won't need to be registered as a landlord.

Will I need to register a deposit?

If you take a deposit from a lodger you will not need to register it with a tenancy deposit scheme.

Will taking in a lodger affect my benefits?

If you are on income support (IS) or jobseeker's allowance (JSA), your benefits will probably be reduced if you rent out a room. It could still be worth it, however, as you may end up with more income than you would get on benefits alone. It is important to inform the relevant benefits department as soon as you start receiving rent. If you don't, you may have to pay back any benefits that you weren't entitled to.

If you are receiving a single person discount on your council tax, you will no longer be eligible for this if you take in a lodger. However, you will be able to charge your lodger for their share of the council tax bill.

Will I have to pay tax?

You don't have to pay any income tax on the rent you receive if:

  • you live in the same property as your lodger, and
  • the room you rent out is furnished, and
  • the rent you receive is not more £7,500 a year (£625 a month).

If you get more than this amount in rent, you can either pay income tax on the amount over £7,500, or pay tax on all the rent and claim tax back on any expenses involved (such as buying furniture or providing services). You can find out more at the Gov.UK website.

Will my contents insurance be affected?

Renting out a room in your home may also affect your contents insurance. To make sure your belongings continue to be protected against theft or damage by a valid insurance policy, you must inform your insurers of the new situation. This may mean they will increase your premiums.

Scotland map Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.
Get advice if you're England

The important points

  • Most mortgage agreements allow you to rent out a room in your home, but you usually need permission from your lender.
  • If you share facilities such as the kitchen and bathroom with your lodger, they will be a common law tenant.
  • If you are receiving a single person discount on your council tax, you will no longer be eligible for this if you take in a lodger.
  • Your benefits will probably be reduced if you rent out a room.

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