Should I take a tenant reference for new lodger?

by Readers Question

7:38 AM, 31st July 2015
About 3 years ago

Should I take a tenant reference for new lodger?

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Should I take a tenant reference for new lodger?

I would like some advice regarding taking in a live in lodger. I was wondering if it would be necessary or advisable to obtain a tenant reference for a live in lodger prior to them moving in as it is for a tenant renting a property on an AST.lodger

Any advice would be most helpful.

Tony



Comments

Neil Patterson

7:40 AM, 31st July 2015
About 3 years ago

Lacking any real contact with readers who do take lodgers I would guess it can't do any harm for little cost?

Ewan Murray

10:07 AM, 31st July 2015
About 3 years ago

I would.

It's a stranger in your house.

Florance Kennedy

10:08 AM, 31st July 2015
About 3 years ago

We have just come to the end of a year of taking lodgers at our old house, and by and large it was trouble-free and indeed a positive experience. Quite a few of our lodgers were from abroad, sometimes academics, sometimes backpackers. We followed up references from those who could supply them and went with gut feeling for the rest (the backpackers!). You get quite a good idea of people from their email responses on Gumtree or SpareRoom. And if there is trouble, you are at liberty to just throw them out. We never had to do this! We obviously didn't leave money lying around, but we had no problems whatsoever.

Mandy Thomson

11:40 AM, 31st July 2015
About 3 years ago

Yes, getting a reference for a lodger is not only advisable, IT IS CRITICAL. And no, unless there is a clear and serious threat of violence, you CANNOT "JUST THROW THEM OUT" - Google "lodger notice periods".

While lodgers do not come under the Protection From Evicition Act 1977, they are (in most circumstances) still assumed to be entitled a month's notice to move out, unless the rent is paid weekly (in which case, it's a week) or the lodger agreement stipulates differently.

You are correct insofar you would do a tenant reference against a lodger. There are many companies that do these very quickly and cheaply. Also, make sure the reference includes a check against delinquent tenant databases, such as Tenant History and Landlord Referencing, or do one yourself separately. Again these are either completely free or cost very little.

If the lodger is from abroad, there are still many companies that will provide a reference, such as Tenant Verify. Also, remember the RIGHT TO RENT ACT also applies to lodgers (and any adult occupier) - this is already in force in the West Midlands, and will soon come into force for the whole country, This means you need to ask to see their passport or driving licence (or other valid ID), scan it and keep a copy.

If the lodger hasn't rented recently, ask for references from professional people the lodger knows (e.g. school teacher or university professor), cross check them online and follow them up.

If you have children living or visiting regularly, unless the lodger holds a DBS pass (which has replaced the older CRB check) you might also want to ask them to provide a Subject Access Request report from their local police.

Gut instinct and checking online profiles is very valuable, but this is only for shortlisting, not final referencing.

Tony Church

12:02 PM, 31st July 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mandy Thomson" at "31/07/2015 - 11:40":

Hi Mandy
Thank you for the detailed and comprehensive advice, I think it also advisable to do a proper reference check, but I dont have kids so i don`t think there is any need for a CRB check.

Mandy Thomson

12:06 PM, 31st July 2015
About 3 years ago

You're welcome, Tony. I won't wish you luck as it looks like you're putting in a lot of thought and preparation before you get your lodger (which is the key) so I'm sure you'll get a great lodger and you'll both get on really well!

Tony Church

12:23 PM, 31st July 2015
About 3 years ago

Thanks Mandy, I had a lodger before who was OK on the whole he was hardly ever in the place, he left early for work each morning and came back late at night.
But I had to get rid of him after he exposed himself to my partner a couple of times.
Dam pervert.

david manifold

9:10 AM, 1st August 2015
About 3 years ago

If you don't want a lodger to stay you can ask them to leave. I have been allowing lodgers to stay in my home for 20 years. On both times I had to evictt I got legal advice on timescales for eviction. It was stated to me a reasonable amount of time. That being suggested was 3 or so hours to get their belongings. In both cases I decided to give 24 hours to get a graceful exit and I left the property during that time to avoid conflict. Contractually yes you might owe them a weeks rent but no they do not have to stay there longer than you want them to. I would like to see the judge that says you should have given them more time after hearing that the lodger had exposed themselves. Come on. Apply common sense here. It's your own home where you should and must feel safe. For comparison and balance I'm now asking my current lodger to leave but he's been here a long time, I have had a good relationship with him but want my house back but still feel I want to give them time...because they were respectful to me and I feel safe..

Emerald Legal

10:02 AM, 1st August 2015
About 3 years ago

David is correct. You can ask them to leave at any time so long as you give them reasonable notice. You cannot force them out of the property if they refuse to leave but you can change the locks when they are out and refuse to let them back in to the property so long as you give them back their belongings.

The reason for the above is that the tenancy would not be an assured shorthold tenancy but one under common law.

Having said all of that, I would still recommend getting them referenced.

Kind regards

Mandy Thomson

13:21 PM, 1st August 2015
About 3 years ago

One month's notice is the normal standard ASSUMING THERE IS NO COMPELLING NEED FOR A LODGER TO LEAVE SOONER e.g.the person hasn't done anything wrong (except maybe break a minor house rule) but you feel it's not working out and you want them to move out.

If the lodger's behaviour is seriously out of order, you are well within your rights to give them notice that is reasonable to those circumstances - for one they would have seriously breached their contract with you in that situation (as well as the law perhaps!).

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