Status of Lodger

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    Status of Lodger

    Hi All,

    Hope someone can shed some light on this for me. We have been lodging out our spare room to a lodger, when we interviewed him he was moving to the area and had secured a job, we had no reason to disbelieve him. 4 months down the line and he hasn't done a days work. I did wonder, but felt as long as the rent keeps getting paid then it's none of my concern, untill last month when the rent wasnt forthcoming. I approached the lodger who unsuprisingly gave all the usual excuses and offered to pay 'some of it' after 'a chat' he has found the rent and payed this months. now today i have recieved a letter from the local council making me aware that he is claiming housing benefit as a 'tenant' of my property. Now we have a lodger agreement but this is all and as far as i was concerned he is a lodger and not a tenant. i'm concerned as i dont want to sign anything stating he is a tenant, this has always been a short term thing with it stated that we can both call an end with a months notice.

    Is he a 'lodger' or a 'tenant' should i send the proof of rent form back to the coucil with a copy of the lodger agreement enclosed?

    Any advice would be much appreciated, Thankyou in advance.

    #2
    If you are living in the same property and he is sharing facilities with you, then he is a lodger, you can give him reasonable notice to leave, as long or as short as you like.
    I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

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      #3
      Thankyou for the reply, so what about the claiming of HB as a tennant? should i contact the council and inform them he is a lodger?

      Thankyou

      Comment


        #4
        The council will ask him to produce a tenancy agreement, which he can't do. If he asks you for one then you know he's into benefit fraud, don't get sucked in.

        If you want to put the council straight then do so, but any claim he has made will probably be suspended while they investigate.

        (We had a thread not long ago where a tenant forged a tenancy agreement.)
        I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by 03ratty View Post

          Is he a 'lodger' or a 'tenant' should i send the proof of rent form back to the coucil with a copy of the lodger agreement enclosed?
          He's a lodger, not a tenant. Just tell the council the truth. I know nothing about housing benefit but I guess it's possible your lodger can claim it on the basis of a lodger agreement.

          Comment


            #6
            Lodgers are still eligible for Housing Benefit providing they can prove they have a liability to pay rent. As your lodger has a written agreement with you, he will be able to prove this and the agreement will presumably show how much rent he has to pay. As your tenant appears to have no income or savings, he will almost certainly be entitled to Housing Benefit.

            In all likelihood, the letter from Housing Benefit is just a computer generated, standard letter. Very few Housing Benefit letters are actually written from scratch.

            Do not assume that just because he is in receipt of Housing Benefit, he is therefore committing fraud. It seems entirely plausible to me that he could be in receipt of Housing Benefit without having made a fraudulent claim.

            Have you had any other problems with your lodger? If he is now in receipt of Housing Benefit and therefore able to pay the rent, you may wish to take a pragmatic approach and continue to receive a regular monthly income.

            The fact that a Housing Benefit letter states that your lodger is a tenant has absolutely no bearing on his legal status.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by landlordproblemsolver View Post
              As your tenant appears to have no income or savings, he will almost certainly be entitled to Housing Benefit.
              I thought he was a lodger??
              [I]The opinions I give are simply my opinions and interpretations of what I have learnt, in numerous years as a property professional, I would not rely upon them without consulting with a paid advisor and providing them with all the relevant facts[I]

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                #8
                Thankyou all for your reply's, there has been no 'problem' with my lodger i was simply concerned about the terminology and the legal status, i shall be taking a 'pragmatic' approach and look forward to no more late rent? i hope

                Comment


                  #9
                  Others are right in that he is only a lodger (becuase you live in the property) and therefore defined as an "excluded occupier" meaning he is not protected from eviction etc.

                  It is perfectly possible for a lodger to be in receipt of HB. Isnt there some tax break for renting out a room in your house?

                  "As an excluded occupier your only right is to stay until your landlord asks you to go, or for as long as your written agreement says. Your landlord can evict you by giving you reasonable notice (which can be verbal) and doesn't need a court order" (source Shelter website)

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by 03ratty View Post
                    Thankyou all for your reply's, there has been no 'problem' with my lodger i was simply concerned about the terminology and the legal status, i shall be taking a 'pragmatic' approach and look forward to no more late rent? i hope
                    I hope you are right - but your pragmatism may be slightly stretched. Most agreements reserve rent monthly in advance. Housing Benefit (LHA) is paid 4 weekly in arrears (fortnightly in some areas). This means that the dates rarely match up (monthly rent, 4 weekly LHA) and the amounts for a single payment never match up (annual rent/12, annual LHA/13). For lodgers who rely soley on LHA for their rent payment this will also mean that rent is always paid late. Example;
                    Rent: £500pm (£6k pa)

                    1st July £500 rent due £500 owed
                    29th July £461.54 housing benefit received £38.46 owed
                    1st August £500 rent due £538.46 owed
                    26th August £461.54 housing benefit received £76.92 owed
                    1st September £500 rent due £576.92 owed
                    23rd September £461.54 housing benefit received £115.38 owed
                    1st October £500 rent due £615.38 owed

                    Providing your lodgers is entitled to sufficient housing allowance to cover their entire rent (as above) the 13 LHA payments over a 12 month period will equal the 12 rent payments.

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