Is it a lodger or a tenant for annex?

Is it a lodger or a tenant for annex?

8:24 AM, 27th May 2015, About 8 years ago 2

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I am a Landlord with several properties but I must confess, the question below has me a little confused as it is an area that I have no experience with, so hopefully P118 members can provide some useful feedback.

I am thinking of buying a large Victorian house that has two front doors. The property lends itself to easily convert part of the house into a 1 bedroom self contained annex (kitchen, bathroom, bedroom. lounge/diner). The self contained unit can be separated from the part of the house that I will occupy by an internal lockable door or I could have the doorway boarded up if needed. I don’t really want to create an AST but instead let the annex under a ‘lodger’ basis.

I have been reading conflicting information on-line as to whether I can do this or not, for example, I understand that if I provide a service where I can have my cleaner walk into the ‘annex’ to clean say once per week and do not need the lodgers permission to enter then the person would be classed as a lodger, On the other hand, as no parts of the combined house would be shared the person would be classed as a tenant and not a lodger.

A lodger would be easier as I would not have to have the unit registered for separate council tax (I think) and I can let the room(s) for £4200 per annum tax free under the rent a room scheme.

I know there are other issues to consider, for example; do I need planning consent, what sort of agreement does a lodge have? etc.

Any useful pointers or comments would help me improve my overall understanding of this situation.

Thanks in advance.


Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

11:48 AM, 27th May 2015, About 8 years ago

If an annexe is self contained is should be separately rated for Council Tax. I know this because I have an annexe on my own house very similar to what you have described.

On the basis that the annexe is a separate dwelling, and especially because none of your own home is shared with the occupier of the annexe (although I doubt that would make any difference anyway) then in my opinion the occupier of the annexe will be a tenant.

I suspect that's not the answer you were hoping for, SORRY 🙁

Mandy Thomson

12:16 PM, 27th May 2015, About 8 years ago

Hi Alex

The term "lodger" isn't a legal term. In English housing law, a "lodger" can either be a licensee or a common law tenant.

Whether a lodger is a licensee or a common law tenant (otherwise known as an occupier with basic protection) is usually determined by the living arrangement. To be a licensee, a lodger must normally share living accommodation with the live in landlord - living accommodation is defined as bedroom, lounge, kitchen and bathroom. The lodger does not have exclusive access to their living accommodation (even their bedroom, as the landlord has the right to demand entry and to move the lodger to another room).

A lodger who is a common law tenant shares the same dwelling as the landlord, but does NOT share living accommodation - therefore, they would have their own exclusive living, washing, toilet and cooking facilities, but NOT within a self contained dwelling (they'd typically share the landlord's front door and have to pass through the landlord's internal hallway/stairs etc to get to their own accommodation).

NB - while a common law tenant doesn't have the same rights as a tenant with an assured shorthold agreement (AST), they ARE entitled to 4 weeks notice, can't be served notice within a fixed term (unless they're in breach), and the landlord must obtain a court order if the tenant refuses to move out.

Note also that a lodger as common law tenant arrangement does NOT qualify for the rent a room tax exemption.

There are a few situations where an occupier who would otherwise be a common law tenant (or even a tenant with full rights) is a licensee; these are:
- short term "holiday" lets,
- commercial leases,
- where the occupier doesn't pay rent or pays over £100,000 per year

In all of the above, they would be a licensee even if they were renting self contained accommodation.

As for planning permission and building regulations (note these are different), I shall leave it to someone with more knowledge in these areas to answer for you, though I gather that where a relatively minor change to your own home is concerned, such as adding a "granny annex", planning permission isn't needed.

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