Thinking of taking in a lodger?

If you are thinking of having a lodger live with you in your Council owned home there are some new Government rules that you need to be aware of.  

From 1 February 2016, you must carry out a right to rent check before you take in a lodger or sub-let part of your home. This applies to private, council and housing association tenants. 

Right to rent checks aren't needed for a lodger or sub-tenant who moved in before 1 February 2016 anywhere in England apart from five areas in the West Midlands (Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton).

Someone renting to a lodger who doesn't have the right to rent can be fined £80 (£500 for further offences). Please make sure that you:  

  • Check whether your prospective lodger will use your home as their  main home.
  • Ask for original documents that prove your prospective lodger can live in the UK, for example a biometric residence permit or a birth certificate with a council tax bill.
  • Check that your prospective lodger’s documents give them the right to rent space in your home.
  • Check that the documents are genuine and belong to your prospective lodger, with him/her
  • Make and keep copies of the documents and record the date you made the check.

How to decide whether your lodger will use your accommodation as their main home

A property would usually be a lodger's only or main home if:

  • they live there most of the time
  • they keep most of their belongings there
  • their partner or children live with them
  • they’re registered to vote at the property
  • they’re registered with the doctor using that address.

How to check that the documents you are given are the original documents

When you’re with your prospective lodger you need to check that:

  • the documents are originals and belong to the person you are thinking of letting move in as your lodger
  • the dates that your prospective lodger’s right to stay in the UK haven’t expired
  • the photos on the documents are of your prospective lodger
  • the dates of birth are the same in all documents (and are believable)
  • the documents aren’t too damaged or don’t look like they’ve been changed
  • if any names are different on documents, there are supporting documents to show why, such as a marriage certificate or divorce decree.

If your lodger is arranging their stay with you from overseas, you must see their original documents before they start living at the property.

How to make copies of the documents you need:

  • make a copy that can’t be changed, such as a photocopy or a good quality photograph
  • for passports, copy every page with the expiry date or applicant’s details (such as nationality, date of birth and photograph), including endorsements, for example a work visa or Certificate of Entitlement to the right of abode in the UK
  • copy both sides of biometric residence permits
  • make a complete copy of all other documents
  • record the date you made the copy
  • Keep copies of your lodgers  documents for the time they’re your lodger and for one year after.

If your prospective lodger doesn’t  have the right documents Please don’t rent space in your home to someone in England unless they have the correct documents.  Further information about  right to rent can be found here

Don’t forget - if you receive help through housing benefit to pay your rent you should still notify your local housing benefit team as they may need to adjust the amount of housing benefit you receive.

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