Here is a question to the blog clinic from Deb who is a landlord
I own a house in the Midlands but live in London (work/partner etc).
I have always had “lodgers” in my Midlands home since I started living in London 8 years ago. They sign a lodger agreement and I tell them I will never stay at the house.
I am registered in my Midlands home for council tax (which I pay) all bills are in my name (lodger simply pays me when the bills come in). I do this as this house is still my home with my stuff in it.
I do not want tenants who would have the right to change locks, etc and who I would have to seek permission from before visiting the property.
Am I okay to have “lodgers” when I am never present? What kind of insurance do I need?
I think there is a very strong possibility Deb, that they are actually tenants. An important House of Lords case, Street v. Mountford, decided that if someone has exclusive occupation at a rent then it is a tenancy whatever it says on the piece of paper the occupiers sign.
If you have specifically told them that you will never live there, then I don’t see how they can be lodgers. There is no statutory definition of a lodger, it is more a description of a type of license than a legal term (such as for example assured shorthold tenant).
However it is generally used in the context of the lodger sharing living accommodation with the landlord. But they can’t do this if you don’t live there!
I suspect that if it came to a court claim (for example if you wanted to evict one of them) they would probably be deemed to be a tenant of their own room with shared use of the rest of the house.
This means that you can visit the property fairly freely but need permission to visit their room. You would need landlords insurance.
What do others think?