Lodgers & House Rules

Lodger landlords don’t have to have a set of written house rules. In fact, many landlords and lodgers just have a discussion at the beginning of the lodger agreement about what is expected, and that often works out well. However, it can be a good idea to compile a list of house rules, just so everyone knows where they stand and there’s no confusion. I’m sure as a homeowner, you like things done a certain way and would like to maintain those routines/habits.

Just to clarify, the ‘house rules’ should include domestic related issues, such as the procedure to lock the house, and what kitchen storage units are specifically for the lodger. It is not the same as a Lodger Agreement Contract, which will cover the terms of the let, such as how much rent is, what the term for each payment is (e.g. weekly, monthly etc), and which rooms the lodger can access etc. The written house rules is a separate, more formal document.

What are house rules?

Before getting a lodger, you should consider what house rules you want to enforce, and then write them down in a list. You can provide a copy of the list to all your prospective lodgers during the viewing or during a second meet with the applicant(s) which most appealed to you, so it’s clear from the start what you expect. The list can be discussed further and then dated and signed at the same time as the lodger agreement contract.

Your house rules can take into consideration the following:

  • The cleaning arrangements
  • The storage arrangements e.g. where the lodger can store his/her food in the kitchen
  • What the rules are on guests and/or people staying over
  • The rules on parties/gatherings
  • Will you provide your lodger a meal? If so, when and what kind of meal?
  • If you’re sharing a bathroom with multiple lodgers, what is the arrangement for mornings (when most people want to use the bathroom)?
  • What will the arrangements be for paying the bills?
  • What the rules are regarding the use of utilities

A lot of the rules might be very specific to your own requirements/preferences, so think carefully while compiling your list, so you can find an agreeable lodger that will be compatible with your lifestyle.

One word of warning, for the sake of a good landlord/lodger relationship, you should always set fair rules.

Consider your house rules carefully

It’s best to consider as much as possible in advance, before signing any agreements with a lodger. Managing expectations and giving your lodger a clear picture of what you expect before they move in is crucial as it will avoid a lot of unnecessary disagreements and/or unpleasant surprises.

If it’s your first time taking in a lodger the odds are you’ll forget something important, or learn through experience ‘on the job’. But try to think to cover as much as you can at the early stages- the more you cover on the outset, the less likelihood there will be of any conflicts or unpleasant discussions.