If you plan to take in a lodger or already have one, consider implementing house rules. Rules help promote a sense of community and make things easier if something goes wrong.

What is a lodger?

A lodger (also known as a “licensee”) is someone who rents out a spare room in the property from an agreed fee. The “licensor” who owns the property is also living in the property at the same time as the lodger. Legally, a lodger is granted a licence to occupy part of a residential property. It is the preferred arrangement between parties who want to let part of a shared property but do not want to take on the official legal responsibilities of landlord and tenant with a tenancy agreement.

Where a tenant has exclusive rights to a property over a specified period and owns the space they rent, a lodger is known as a "licensee". They can not exclude the landlord from any space.

What are house rules?

Lodger house rules are rules for the lodger staying in your home. They provide guidance and expectations from the landlord.

A lodger licence agreement will cover things like rent payment and date. The house rules will include any additional requests that the landlord will want to set. This can be as comprehensive as you want, and it may help you filter and find a suitable applicant.

Why do you need lodger house rules?

House rules help establish a clear message of how you want the arrangement to function and ensure that both parties know what is expected. Setting out what is and isn’t expected from the start sets boundaries and avoids further conflict.

What needs to be in your lodger house rules?

There is no restriction on what you can or can't include however, it is advisable to keep this reasonable. Here are a few topics which you can have in your house rules list:

  • cleaning arrangement 
  • storage arrangement 
  • use of utilities 
  • guests staying over
  • parties/gatherings

To expand on one of the points above, you may have a rule prohibiting overnight guests from staying at the house from Monday until Thursday unless the landlord has approved.