Can I add a new tenant to an existing AST or consider a lodger?

by Readers Question

15:03 PM, 15th March 2018
About 6 months ago

Can I add a new tenant to an existing AST or consider a lodger?

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Can I add a new tenant to an existing AST or consider a lodger?

Basically the question is in the title, can I add a new tenant to an existing AST or do I need to give them a new agreement.

Just a bit of background, I have had an unmarried couple living in a three bedroomed house for about five years. In that time they have accrued three children. He has worked casually in low paid jobs, they have claimed whatever benefits have been available.

Rental payments have been erratic usually paid from a combination of LHA and his earnings.

Shortly after Christmas the female partner left.

In January (two months ago) I gave the remaining male tenant a new 6month AST in his name.
With three young children his LHA will easily cover the rent on the property so it would be simpler if he did not work. He has submitted a new claim for LHA which has not yet been approved, apparently they are waiting for details of child tax credits and complicated because he is still doing occasional casual work.

He has now asked me can a male relative move in with him and can I put him on the tenancy agreement. This new tenant is unemployed and can also claim LHA.

So can I amend an existing AST or give them a new tenancy agreement in both names?

Or, as an afterthought, can the new tenant be in some way treated as a lodger, as if he is renting a room from the existing tenant.

In which case what sort of agreement would he need for LHA, would it suffice if I gave him letter acknowledging that he has taken in a lodger who is contributing to the rent.
Why do tenants lead such complicated lives???

Any comment welcome,

Thanks Bill



Comments

Neil Patterson

15:11 PM, 15th March 2018
About 6 months ago

Hi Bill,

Under normal circumstances the general advice is to start with a new AST as long as it is not more than two unrelated people renting then this is not classed as an HMO.

You could consider allowing a lodger as long as it is not breaking the existing tenancy agreement, but then the issue is you have no contract with the new occupant and can't get him out until the existing one leaves if it all goes wrong and they are not liable for any rental arrears.

Ian Narbeth

17:56 PM, 19th March 2018
About 6 months ago

I agree with Neil that a new AST is the best option. Don't agree to the relative becoming a lodger. The relative will probably need to show an AST with his name on it in order to claim LHA. If you have taken a deposit, make sure you re-lodge it and re-serve Prescribed Information on both the current tenant and his relative.


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