What is a resident landlord?

What is a resident landlord?

There are lots of perks that come with renting a room in a house - you’ll meet new people through your housemates, your rent is probably going to be much lower, and they’ll be more hands to take the bins out! But what happens if your housemate is also your landlord?

Living with a resident landlord can differ from a standard tenancy, but with some pointers on what to look out for, you’ll be able to tell whether it’s right for you. So, whether you’re considering moving in with a live-in landlord or you’re interested in renting out a room in your house, read on to get the lowdown on all things resident landlord.


What does “resident landlord” mean?

Resident landlords might be better known to you as “live-in” landlords. You have a resident landlord if you’re renting a room in a house or property that they also live in.

It’ll need to be your landlord’s main home and it only counts if you’re sharing spaces with them like the kitchen or living room. Stairs, hallways, and shared storage aren’t included in this, so if your landlord lives in a different flat in the same block as you, they won’t be classed as “resident”.


Lodger vs Tenant - Which one are you?

If you’ve been looking into staying with a resident landlord you might have seen the terms “lodger” or “tenant” thrown around. These terms are sometimes used interchangeably but actually refer to different things. So, what is the difference between lodger and tenant?

It can be broken down quite simply: a tenant will live on their landlord’s property without the landlord, whereas a lodger will live there with the landlord. Sometimes lodgers get confused with subtenants - but that’s when someone rents a room or property from the current tenant with their current landlord’s permission.

Now you know what tenants and lodgers are, the next question is how does being a lodger change things? There are quite a few differences to list, but you’ll generally see that you’ll have fewer rights as a lodger vs a tenant. Here are some of the differences:

  • Official Documents - Lodgers don’t get tenancy agreements. If they do have something in writing it will be what’s known as a “licence”. It’s worth noting there’s no rule stating your landlord needs to have one in place, though.
  • Right to exclude - Tenants have this right, it’s the reason landlords have to give them 24 hours' notice before they enter the property. Lodgers, however, do not. So, technically they shouldn’t even put a lock on their bedroom door.
  • Deposits - Do live-in landlords need to protect deposits? They aren’t required to. Tenants’ deposits should be entered into a tenancy deposit protection scheme, though. Check out what can a landlord deduct from your deposit UK for more on this.

One of the biggest differences between tenants and landlords is their right of occupation - read on to hear more about this difference.


What is an excluded occupier?

Since the Protection from Eviction Act in 1977, renters in England and Wales can only be evicted with a court order. There are exceptions to this ruling, however, and these renters are known as “excluded occupiers”. Because of this, excluded occupiers can be evicted whenever their landlord’s permission to stay ends or when a written agreement they have does. In other words, they do not have to be evicted using a Section 21 notice.

So how does this apply if you’re living with a resident landlord? If you’re a lodger you will most likely be classed as an excluded occupier. If you’re not sure, ask your landlord before you move in, and if you have a licence, aim to have it in writing in there as well. It’s not only lodgers who can be excluded occupiers - if a subtenant shares accommodation with their landlord they may have an excluded tenancy.


Are resident landlords different from standard landlords?

Even though a resident landlord may differ from a landlord with a tenant, they’re a landlord nonetheless. And this means they still have many of a landlord’s key responsibilities. These include:

  • Making sure the property is safe - that means gas and electricity safety checks, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and meeting furnishing and product safety regulations. For a full list see Safety checks and certificates landlords provide if you're renting.
  • Get an HMO classification - if at least three unrelated people are living in a property it will probably need to be classed as an HMO. Check out HMO house rules for tenants for more info.
  • Right to Rent - your landlord will need to check you have the Right to Rent in the UK before you move in. For more on this and other checks they might do, read our Complete guide to tenant referencing.

If you’re living with your landlord, a question you might have is who pays for bills? Often resident landlords will include council tax in the rent they charge you, and they might add a utility fee in there as well. On the other hand, they could keep it all separate and charge you for your bills separately. This decision is up to them but is something that you should try to have agreed in writing between you.


A few final tips…

There are a few differences to be aware of between resident landlords and the ones you’re probably more familiar with. Knowing your rights as an excluded occupier and a lodger is definitely important, and something you’ll want to be up-to-date on before you move in. Keep yourself in the loop, try to get a licence signed and enjoy your new place!  

Wondering how you’re going to split bills? Read our top tips for splitting house bills when renting. And if you’re looking to find a room quickly, our top tips for finding a room to rent quickly and hassle-free can help!