Advice for tenants

Since 2013, housing benefit rules for working-age tenants mean they get less benefit if they have at least one spare bedroom. Some tenants affected by this may consider renting out a spare room to boost their income. This would also mean that the room isn't treated as “spare,” so housing benefit wouldn't be reduced.

A lodger is someone who rents a furnished room in your home. If you're a secure tenant, you have a right to take in lodgers as long as it doesn't overcrowd your home. Introductory and demoted tenants don't have this right.

You don't need our permission first, but we'd prefer you to tell us so that we can explain the advantages and disadvantages, For example, your benefits may be affected. If you do take in a lodger you must give us their details as your tenancy agreement says you have to tell us who's living in your home.

A lodger isn't the same as a sub tenant. A sub tenant has more rights. You mustn't take in a sub tenant or sublet any part of your home without our written permission.

How a lodger might affect your housing benefit

The first £20 of income from a lodger won’t affect your benefits. If you receive more than that, the extra cash is likely to affect your benefits.

You must tell housing benefits and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) if you take in a lodger. If you don't, you may be given too much benefit, which you'll have to repay. If you fail to declare additional income, it may also be regarded as fraud and you could risk prosecution.

If the person living with you is an adult relative (parent, parent-in-law, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, stepson or stepdaughter, brother, sister or partner) they won't be classed as a lodger, but you must still tell housing benefits. You may get less housing benefit and it could also reduce any disability benefit you receive.

The effect on your council tax

Your council tax will only be affected if you were receiving a discount as the only adult in your property before you took in a lodger. If the number of people living in your home changes, you must tell us.

The effect on your tax

You don't have to pay tax on rent you get from a lodger up to £4,250 a year. Any child tax credit or working tax credit won't be affected. If you earn over £4,250 a year from your lodger's rent, you must tell your tax office.

Page last updated 07/06/2016