Are you thinking of letting out part of your home by taking on lodgers ? With the right tenant it can be a great way to earn some extra income, but even then it doesn’t guarantee plain sailing. We consider the issues involved with lodgers and tax.
To help you make the decision whether to let, and to show you what considerations you need to make at the outset, we’ve answered five frequently asked questions from potential landlords. We hope you find them useful.
I’m a tenant. Can I sublet part of the property or take in lodgers?
If you are a secure council tenant, you have the right to take in a lodger, but you can’t sublet part of your home without the council’s written permission. Note, however, that you are not allowed to sublet the whole tenancy.
If you are a private tenant, your first step should be to check the terms of your tenancy agreement. If you have not agreed to anything that prohibits you from doing so, you should be free to sublet. That said, most private tenancies prohibit subletting. If you are in this position, you should ask your landlord for permission. Under no circumstance sublet if your contract prohibits it – you still have to provide your own tenant with their rights, and you cannot use your own contract as justification for evicting a tenant illegally.
These restrictions only apply where you part with possession of some of the property, If you were just having a friend to stay or taking in, you would probably not be giving them exclusive use of any of the accommodation. If your own tenancy comes to an end, so generally will your sub-tenancy.
Please see our separate blog on the rent a room scheme which explains some of the tax breaks you can get if you take on a lodger.
Will my home insurance cover be affected if I let part of my home?
It is very likely that insurance premiums will be increased if you allow someone to share your home. This is because of factors such as accidental damage. You will need to check both your contents and buildings cover. If your existing policy does not provide cover if part of the property is let, you will need to arrange to extend the cover.
Do I need planning permission or other consent from the local council?
You would not need planning permission simply for letting rooms, as long as the property remains primarily your home. However, there could be a planning consideration if you were to use your home mainly to earn money from letting or if you let out a separate building or annexe.
Lodgers and tax – what facilities do I need to provide?
You are free to decide most of these things with the person you let to, subject to the basic requirements of general housing law. This states that you should provide access to kitchen, washing and toilet facilities (these can be either the ones that you use or separate).
Lodgers and Tax – Do I need to have an agreement in writing?
No – unless the let is a tenancy for a fixed term of more than 3 years. But it is advisable to have one anyway, as this will make it easier to sort out any disagreements that may arise later. Even if there is nothing in writing, both parties must still do whatever they agreed to at the outset, except where this conflicts with their overriding legal rights and responsibilities.
Buy to let advice
About Jon Pryse-Jones
Since joining THP in 1978, Jon Pryse-Jones has been hands on with every area of the business. Now specialising in strategy, business planning, and marketing, Jon remains at the forefront of the growth and development at THP.
An ideas man, Jon enjoys getting the most out of all situations, “I act as a catalyst for creative people and encourage them to think outside the box,” he says, “and I’m not afraid of being confrontational. It often leads to a better result for THP and its clients.”
Jon’s appreciation for THP extends to his fellow team members and the board. “They really know how to run a successful business,” he says. He’s keen on IT and systems development as critical to success, and he continues to guide THP to be at the cutting edge and effective.