Serving Notice to your lodger

This can be tough, particularly if your lodger is settled and comfortable in your home. However, telling a lodger to leave (even if they have done nothing wrong) is a normal part of being a landlord, and most lodgers will be fine with it, because it was never a permanent arrangement in the first place. Albeit, it may be slightly irritating for them, as moving is never easy.

There are many reasons why landlords service notice, to list a few:

  • The landlord realises they prefer living alone
  • The lodger makes the landlord feel uncomfortable
  • There’s a clash of personalities
  • Irritating habits have surfaced
  • The landlord no longer needs the extra money
  • A family member or close friend needs a place to stay

But the reality is, it is your home, you don’t need a reason to tell your lodger to leave. But it’s better to give them a gentle reason which won’t cause offence (which may not be possible if there is obvious tension and the reason in that case maybe transparent).

The following information applies to lodgers in England & Wales, and is only for serving notice to a lodger (not a ‘tenant’- there is an entirely different process to serving notice a tenant). Please note, this article contains some general legal information which is for guidance only and should not be constituted as legal advice.

Notice period

If you have a lodger agreement in place for a set period (e.g. six months), then you can’t serve notice with in that period unless you are dealing with a problematic lodger and have grounds for eviction, in which case you speed up the process.

The standard notice period for lodgers is a minimum of 28 days, ending at the end of a rental period (most lodger agreements work on a weekly or monthly period), which should be the same date specified in the lodger agreement.

So, for example, if your lodger pays on a monthly basis, on the 14th of each calendar month (which means the month period ends on the 13th of the following month), you should ask them to leave on the 14th of the following month. If you have a weekly agreement with your lodger, which runs from Sunday to Saturday, for example, the notice period should end on the first Saturday after 28 days.

If there is no lodger agreement or set period defined, the notice period should be based on how frequently the rent is paid (which is usually weekly or monthly).

How to tell your lodger to leave

Since you live with your lodger and you most likely talk on a daily basis, it might be best to have a frank conversation with them about it. In most cases, the lodger will understand as long as you approach the situation appropriately. During the conversation you should serve a formal notice, which should state the date they should leave.

The notice/letter should specify that you are giving them 28 days (or however long you are giving them, but 28 days should be the minimum) notice to leave. You should also sign and date it.

Make sure you keep a copy of the notice for your own records, which should also be dated and signed.

Sample notices (available for use)

Your lodger agreement

Before serving notice, you should read your lodger agreement carefully, as there maybe conditions in there regarding the serving of notice. For example, it may state that you should give a longer period than 28 days. Follow the conditions set out in the agreement.

Serving notice to problematic tenants

The guidelines above address the procedure for serving notice on a lodger under normal circumstances. However, if your lodger is in breach of contract (e.g. rent arrears, violent behaviour etc), you can serve a shorter notice period. More details available on the evicting a problematic lodger page.