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Landlord Legal Issues

Landlord & tenant lawyer Tessa Shepperson of www.landlordlaw.co.uk answers your questions

Q. My tenant has asked me if he can take in a lodger to help him pay the rent. He is a sole tenant in a two-bedroomed flat. Should I agree to this?

A. Permitting tenants to have lodgers to help them pay the rent seems like an obvious solution, but unfortunately, there are a number of problems which means that in most cases, landlords are best advised not to consent.

Perhaps the biggest issue is the danger that allowing a lodger will create an HMO. This will be particularly problematic if it creates a licensable HMO, as failure to license a licensable HMO is a criminal offence, which can carry heavy fines. However, this may not be a problem here if there is only one tenant, as you cannot have an HMO if there are only two occupiers.

Two other important issues are the terms of your mortgage (if the property has a mortgage) and also your insurance - as their terms and conditions may prohibit tenants with lodgers. If you were minded to consent, you would need to get permission from your mortgage company and your insurers.

Note that not all insurers prohibit lodgers, so if your current insurers are difficult about it, you could always change your insurance company. But discuss it carefully with your broker. 

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