Sharing with your landlord

People who share accommodation with their landlord have different rights to those who rent separate property. This page explains who has a resident landlord and what your rights are if you share with your landlord.

What is a resident landlord?

To be classed as a resident landlord, your landlord must:

  • use the property as their only or main home (if your landlord only stays in the property occasionally and has another home elsewhere, they won't count as a resident landlord); and

  • have direct access from their accommodation to yours (for example, a landlord living in a separate flat in the same building as you won't count as a resident landlord; a landlord who has separate rooms in the same house as you will).

Your landlord does not have to own the property - you can also sublet a room from another tenant who lives in the property, in which case that tenant will become your resident landlord.

What kind of tenancy agreement do I have?

You will have what is known as a common law tenancy if:

  • you share accommodation with your landlord (see above), but

  • you have exclusive possession of part of the property (for example, you have your own bedroom).

Download an example of a lodger agreement.

If you moved in before 2 January 1989, you will have a part VII contract. Part VII contracts are now very rare in Scotland. If you think you have this kind of tenancy, talk to an adviser at a Shelter Scotland advice centre or Citizens Advice to find out your rights.

What does 'exclusive possession' mean?

Exclusive possession means that only you are entitled to use the accommodation, and your landlord cannot enter without your permission. Even if you and a partner or friend share a bedroom as joint tenants, you should still have common law rights, because your landlord will need permission to enter your part of the accommodation.

What rights will I have?

Common law tenants don't have as many rights as some other tenants, but this doesn't mean your landlord can walk all over you. The section on common law tenancies and the section on eviction of common law tenants explains more about:

  • your tenancy agreement

  • who can live with you

  • who is responsible for carrying out repairs

  • whether you can pass on your tenancy to someone else.

  • what happens if you want to move out

  • what happens if your landlord wants you to move out

What if my landlord moves out?

If your landlord moves out, you will become a private residential tenant with much stronger tenancy rights.

If you need to talk to someone, we’ll do our best to help. Get Help

Last updated: 15 March 2021

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England