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Subletting and lodging

Taking in a lodger or sub-letting part of your property can be a good way of making some additional income. However, not everyone is entitled to take in lodgers or to sub-let and there are factors to consider if you are eligible, including your entitlement to state benefits and your contents insurance and income tax payments.

Please contact us for more information.

A lodger rents a room in your home. She/he may receive some services from you as the landlord, such as meals, laundry or cleaning.

A sub-tenant has exclusive use of at least one room, usually a bedroom, in your property. You, as the landlord, would need her/his permission to enter this area. The sub-tenant may have permission to put a lock on her/his door.

Only certain people are allowed to take in lodgers or to sub-let.

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Yes, on condition that:

  • you do not have more than the maximum number of people allowed in your property
  • the property remains your primary residence
  • you accept responsibility for the behaviour of any lodger who lives in your property.
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This depends on your tenancy agreement. If you have a secure tenancy, then you can apply to Wiltshire Council Housing Management for written permission to sub-let part of your property while you live in only one part of it. You are not allowed to sub-let the whole of the property to someone else and live somewhere else.

If you have an introductory or demoted tenancy, you are not allowed to sub-let any part of your property.

If you are a council leaseholder, there are generally no restrictions in the lease preventing you from taking in a lodger.

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You should also consider the following:

  • You need a formal tenancy agreement between you and the tenant. Normally this will involve an assured shorthold tenancy as set out in Section 20 of the Housing Act 1988.
  • Your lender (whether it is us, a building society or a bank) will have restrictions on subletting if you are a council leaseholder and have a mortgage. So, you should get permission from them before you sublet.
  • Subletting should not result in overcrowding and must meet our standards for houses in multiple occupation.
  • Sub-letting will probably affect the amount of benefits you get if you're claiming. For example, if you're receiving housing benefit and you take in a sub-tenant, the amount you get will almost certainly be reduced as it will be assumed that your sub-tenant is paying rent. This will be the case even if your sub-tenant is living rent-free. If you simply don't tell them, you may end up having to repay an overpayment or be prosecuted for fraud. This also applies to income support and job seekers' allowance (JSA); the amount of council tax you have to pay may increase.
  • If the income from sub-letting exceeds a certain amount, then you may also be liable to pay income tax.
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As with sub-letting, taking in a lodger should not result in overcrowding and must meet our standards for houses in multiple occupation.

Taking in a lodger will also probably affect the amount of benefits you get if you're claiming. For example, if you're receiving housing benefit and you take in a lodger, the amount you get will almost certainly be reduced as it will be assumed that your lodger is paying rent. This will be the case even if your lodger is living rent-free. If you simply don't tell them, you may end up having to repay an overpayment or be prosecuted for fraud. This also applies to income support and job seekers' allowance (JSA); the amount of council tax you have to pay may increase.

Renting out a room may also affect your contents insurance. Most insurers will put up premiums, but it's still important to inform them if you want to be sure that your belongings are protected. If you don't tell them, the insurance may not be valid.

If the income from letting a room exceeds a certain amount, then you may also be liable to pay income tax.

You will be the lodger’s landlord, and will have the responsibilities of a landlord.

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Last updated: 13 September 2016 | Last reviewed: 13 September 2016