Taking in a Lodger

Not all tenants will be aware they are allowed to take in lodgers in their council home, and it is not suitable for everyone. However, tenants should be aware that it is one option which they can consider to help them with their rent. Any tenant with a spare bedroom can consider it as a potential source of income, whether or not they claim housing benefit.

What is the difference between a lodger and a subtenant?

  • A lodger does not have exclusive rights to any part of the property. This means that the tenant will keep the right to go into any rooms used by the lodger.

  • A subtenant does have exclusive rights to a part of the property, which means that the tenant would not be able to go into their room(s) without their permission. They may have a lock on the door to their room(s).

A sub-tenant has more rights than a lodger and may be harder for you to evict if you want them to leave.

If you are a secure tenant you can have a lodger as long as it does not cause overcrowding.

If you an introductory tenant you do not have the right to take in a lodger but you may ask for permission; we may refuse permission in certain circumstances, for example if you are not adhering to your tenancy agreement.

If you wish to take in a sub-tenant then both secure and introductory tenants will need to ask for permission.

You must NOT rent out your entire property even for a short amount of time. This is fraud and a criminal offence.

Further information and detailed guidance on how to apply for permission for a lodger/sub-tenant can be found in the Documents section of this page.

Financial Implications

If you are receiving benefits then you should check to see if taking in a lodger or sub-tenant will affect your benefit entitlement. You can find further information about this on the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website.


It is your responsibility to check whether a lodger is suitable. You may want to do some background checks on your lodger, particularly if you have children or vulnerable people in your household. For further information on this, including what checks you can do please visit spareroom.com.

If you any concerns about any vulnerable adults or children in your household please contact us:

Leeds Child Safeguarding Board

Leeds Adult Safeguarding Board

Right to Rent

Under the Immigration Act 2014 after 1st February 2016 certain types of landlord must make checks that their lodger has a legal ‘right to rent’ in the United Kingdom. This includes Leeds City Council tenants who are renting out a room/s either to a lodger or a sub-tenant. If you rent out a room to a lodger or sub-tenant and fail to check their right to rent then you can be fined up to £3,000.

Before allowing anyone to move in, the landlord must check on prospective occupiers and ask for proof that they are in one of these groups:

  • a citizen of the UK, the European Economic Area or Switzerland: they are not covered by the Act at all, but landlords will need proof that the occupant is in this group

  • a person with an indefinite ‘right to rent’: someone with indefinite leave to remain or right of abode in the UK

  • a person with a ‘time-limited right to rent’: someone who has limited leave to remain in the UK or a right to live in the UK under EU law (but not a European citizen because they are exempt)

  • a person with a ‘discretionary right to rent’: the Home Office can grant this in certain cases, e.g. to people waiting for their case to be resolved or taking legal proceedings to sort it out. They will have to apply for it.

Anyone else should not be offered the accommodation. For those with a time-limited right to rent, new checks must be made after a year or just before the current right expires.

We are not able to make these checks for you; it is your responsibility to ensure you are compliant with the law.

It is unlawful to discriminate against anyone on the grounds of race or on racial grounds when providing rented accommodation.

Further information and detailed guidance on how to check your lodger/sub-tenant’s right to rent, lodger application form (PDF 136KB) and the subtenant application form (PDF 136KB) can be found in the Documents section of this page.




Lodger Application Formhttps://www.leeds.gov.uk/docs/Lodger Application.pdf138834pdf
Summary Guidance for Landlordshttps://www.leeds.gov.uk/docs/Summary Guidance for Landlords.pdf154897pdf
Subtenant Application Formhttps://www.leeds.gov.uk/docs/Subtenant Application.pdf139022pdf

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