Evicting a lodger without a court order – when can you do it?

When can you evict a lodger without a court order?Lodger eviction

In Day 20 of my 21 days of tips for lodger landlords, I described a procedure for evicting lodgers without getting a court order. When exactly can this be used?

The answer to this lies in the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.  This is the act which says that all eviction of residential occupiers must be done through the courts, and that if a residential occupier is evicted without a court order, then this is a criminal  offence. (Note that in this post I will use the word ‘occupier’ a this covers both lodgers and tenants).

However the act recognises that not always be appropriate to force someone to get a court order for possession, and sets out a number of exceptions to the general rule.

These are set out in section 3 of the Act, and they are known as ‘excluded tenancies and licenses’.  They include:

  • where the occupier (whether or not he or she is a tenant) shares living accommodation with the landlord, and
  • where the landlord was living at the property as his main (or ‘principal’) home and sharing living accommodation with the occupier from immediately before the occupier started living there to the time when the occupation ends, and
  • the shared accommodation is not just storage areas, halls, corridors or staircases, as these don’t count. It must be proper living accommodation such as a sitting room, kitchen, and/or bathroom (and preferably more than just one room).

Excluded tenancies and licenses also include those granted for a holiday, so the procedure given on Day 20 will apply also if you provide B&B accommodation to holiday makers.

Note that if you have let accommodation in your home which is entirely self contained (and which is not holiday accommodation let to someone on a genuine holiday), then you *will* need a court order.  For more information on this, see my Landlord Law web-site.

I am afraid I am no longer able to answer readers questions on this blog. However the anwers to questions asked in the past may help you

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26 Responses to Evicting a lodger without a court order – when can you do it?
  1. John FogwillNo Gravatar
    May 23, 2010 | 7:05 pm

    If I had known this last month it would have saved me 3 months of worry and 4 months of arrears + legal fees to raise a section 8 ? against a bilking lodger sent to me by housing services Torbay.

  2. Chris AdamsonNo Gravatar
    July 11, 2010 | 12:28 am

    I have got a lodger in my rented home. She signed a lodger agreement which states I have to give her 2 weeks notice if I want her to leave. She is saying that I will not get her to leave and she will stay as a squatter. I have served her with a notice to quit giving her 2 weeks notice, after this time if she does not leave am I allowed to throw her out without getting a court order?

    Any advise would be apreciated.


  3. TessaNo Gravatar
    July 11, 2010 | 7:35 am

    Probably. You need to check first that this is a situation where this is permitted, which is covered by this blog post. If it is, you can then follow the procedure set out in Day 20 of my 21 days of tips: http://www.lodgerlandlord.co.uk/2010/02/20/day-20-how-do-you-evict-a-lodger-who-wont-go/

  4. Karen MorganNo Gravatar
    July 27, 2010 | 12:09 pm

    Hi there – would an ex-spouse be considered an excluded occupier if they do not pay any rent of bills and never have? Or would they still be a residential occupier?

    I got my absolute over a month ago and the flat is in my sole name (for over 10 years). I was married for just over 2 years and have been trying to get my ex to leave since June of last year. I paid all the bills during the marriage (including phone food etc) and have been supporting them since we split. I think a year would be considered “reasonable notice”?

    Many thanks in advance!

  5. TessaNo Gravatar
    July 27, 2010 | 1:31 pm

    I don’t see why you shouldn’t evict using the procedure on this blog. However I am not a family lawyer so if you used a solicitor for your divorce, you might want to run it past them.

  6. Karen MorganNo Gravatar
    July 27, 2010 | 2:40 pm

    Hi there

    We actually divorced amicably so didn’t need one. Will certainly check that out though. Many thanks for the reply. I was actually looking for something for my Mum who rents a property and found the site really informative and easy to read.

    Many thanks!

  7. Chris WNo Gravatar
    August 3, 2010 | 9:23 pm


    I’m currently in a problem with being a lodger with an living-in-house landlady.

    We have a dissagreement over the end of our agreement and she’s also claiming I owe her more rent money (we agreed £300/month). The problem is, we agreed 3 months let. She claims it was 3 and a half and wants an additional £200 (I don’t understand her math either)

    I asked for an agreement and didn’t receive one so this has been an oral contract only. As I’ve paid all £900 rent (I have reciepts), I am not inclined to hand over any more money yet there is still over a month left of the 3 month period.

    Does she have the right to chuck me out?

    I’m a bit paranoid as I’m over 400 miles away from home.

    Thanks in advanced.


  8. TessaNo Gravatar
    August 7, 2010 | 4:25 pm

    From what you say, it sounds as if you have the right to stay there. Or if she evicts you, you will probably have the right to sue for the balance of your rent. Plus you may have a claim for compensation.

    It is always difficult with oral agreements though, as it is one persons word against another. In future perhaps insist on a written agreement before you pay over any money.

  9. jean leatherNo Gravatar
    September 2, 2010 | 10:15 pm

    I was grateful for the information in the blog helped me a lot I let a room and I want to remove the lodger but he was saying he would take me to court now I realise I am one of the exceptions my mainand only residence and it is not self-contained kitchen shared and access.

    Thank you


  10. jen SNo Gravatar
    September 28, 2010 | 6:36 pm


    I read your posts on this forum and wanted to your general advice on an ongoing situation (without liability).

    I am a resident LL. Logder is committing all sorts of criminal and threatening behaviour. She has left at my request.

    Now wants rent from leave date and advance(deposit) else threatening court action.

    Also claimed in email regs violations etc (all false), but hopes this could be dealt with amicably by the return of overpayment and advance – also sent to me by recorded mail which must be useful.

    We have a signed agreement that states advance is subject to loss if these specific breaches happened. Primarily to protect everyone should you get a bad lodger. Agreement also states if termination is necessary she would still be liable for term regardless of eviction date with reasonable notice where possible.

    Any comments appreciated

  11. TessaNo Gravatar
    September 29, 2010 | 7:26 am

    Lodger arrangements are governed by the terms of their contract, so whatever it says in your written agreement should apply. I cannot advise without seeing the agreement. We have a paid for advice service for this.

  12. ClaireNo Gravatar
    April 12, 2011 | 4:12 pm

    Hi Tessa, my elderly aunt and uncle provided a temporary refuge for my cousin when she was thrown out of her parents house. She has lived with my aunt and uncle for about 2 years now and has never paid them any rent and has never signed any sort of lodger or tenant agreement. In the last few weeks she has moved her boyfriend into the house without my aunt and uncles permission. My aunt and uncle want my cousin and her boyfriend to leave and have given them verbal notice to be out by the 1st April but they are still there. My uncle is frail and in poor health and I am worried for them. Please can you advise if we should take legal recourse or whether we can assist them to leave and then call in the police should it turn ugly.

  13. TessaNo Gravatar
    April 12, 2011 | 5:04 pm

    They should follow the procedure set out in Days 19 and 20 of the 21 days of tips on this site: http://www.lodgerlandlord.co.uk/2010/02/23/21-days-of-tips-for-lodger-landlords-summary-of-posts/

    In the circumstances it would probably be best to have the police there when they lock them out (if it comes to this).

    This just goes to show that often it does not pay to be kind to people. Sad but true.

  14. VictoriaNo Gravatar
    May 8, 2011 | 1:12 am

    Hi Tessa,
    I’ve been living in this house for just over a year, there are two others who share with me.
    One, who moved in after me, has some kind of anxiety disorder, she went mad over a month ago when I was having some friends around, started screaming and shouting. She gave notice and should be moving out in just over a week. However she hasn’t paid any rent since and owes me bill money. The deposit doesn’t cover this.
    I don’t have any agreement in writing with her, I am the sole name on the tenancy agreement (never got around to adding the others).
    Today, the first time I have seen her since (as she stays in her room), she started screaming at me for no apparent reason, a friend came around to try to calm her (and me!) and she just screamed and shouted at him. I called the police but they say I would be better waiting until next week, that I would need a court order and the situation was civil law so they wouldn’t get involved unless she commits a criminal act. Could her behaviour be classified as unreasonable and therefore can I enforce the 48 hours notice by changing the locks? I really feel unsafe in my own home and the other housemate isn’t here at the moment.

  15. TessaNo Gravatar
    May 8, 2011 | 1:34 pm

    @Victoria You need to read this website carefully to work out whether she is a lodger or not. If she is you should be able to evict her using the procedure on Day 20. I would suggest that to avoid problems you serve notice on her first (this is explained on Day 19).

    If you think she will cause a problem on the day you change the locks, ask the police – they should attend if you tell them that you anticipate a breach of the peace. They may not want to get involved in ‘civil matters’ but a breach of the peace is a criminal offence which they can deal with.

  16. PamelaNo Gravatar
    May 20, 2011 | 5:39 pm

    Hi Tessa, what a great site!

    I’ve got a real problem lodger who it would appear must spend all day finding out about her rights and entitlements and has now decided to stop paying her rent.

    My problem is that I spend quite a fair bit of time away on business, holiday and staying with a frail elderly aunt.I’m concerned that she will claim I’m not a resident of the property although I spend more actual time at home than any other single place.

    I work from home too, so when doing the ‘calculations’ if I spent, for example, 16 hours at home but then 8 hours staying overnight at my aunts, would that count as me living at home or not on that day?

    I know this is a strange question but believe me this person is very clued up!


  17. TessaNo Gravatar
    May 21, 2011 | 8:51 am

    @Pamela If it is your main home you should be all right. It sounds as if this is the case, after all business trips and holidays cannot be your main residence. Not can staying with elderly relatives to help them.

    Its only if you actually move out and start living permenantly somewhere else that your lodger is going to aquire tenants rights.

    Mind you, if you decide to evict her, I suggest this is during a period of time when you will not be staying away.

  18. ChrisNo Gravatar
    June 10, 2011 | 5:56 pm

    I am looking at asking my lodger to leave as he has now on 2 separate occasions left his keys in the lock on the outside of the door overnight which I consider a serious security threat to my property.
    I am going on holiday soon and I am worried about the security of the house and I have found out he is looking for somewhere else.
    Ideally I would like him out before I leave but that is in 3 weeks time, he rents my spareroom and had access to all facilites but we have no formal agreement in place, where do I stand?

  19. ChrisNo Gravatar
    June 10, 2011 | 6:00 pm

    Re my previous comment above, it should be has access not had

  20. TessaNo Gravatar
    June 14, 2011 | 6:55 am

    @Chris Read the information on this site about evicting lodgers. But hopefully your lodger will find somewhere else in time.

  21. SteveNo Gravatar
    June 24, 2011 | 4:37 pm

    I’ve just spent the last half hour trying to find if there is any Law in place to stop me from evicting a long term B&B guest, and so far I can’t find anything. Basically I own 2 B&B’s and for the last year we have been full by providing what is classed as ’emergency housing’ for the council. Most of our guests stay with us for months, the longest one being about 9 months. The council pay us direct and it is on a bed and breakfast basis, so no contracts, and no notice needs to be given to us when someone is leaving. I have today told one guest I want him to leave, and he has told me that he has sought legal advice and because he has been resident for over 3 months he has the same rights as a tenant. Where do I stand on evicting him? and do I need to seek legal advice before I do anything?

  22. TessaNo Gravatar
    July 2, 2011 | 7:21 am

    @Steve Long term accommodation in a B&B can be deemed to be a tenancy, it depends on the circumstances. But so far as I am aware there is no rule which says specifically that three months is a cut off period. If you want some telephone advice this service may assist you: http://tenancylawyer.co.uk/fixed_fee_advice.html

  23. JasNo Gravatar
    July 14, 2011 | 7:41 pm

    Hi Tessa,

    Hope your well.

    I want to ask my lodgers to leave but they are very clued up. How shall I do it? Can you recommend a template letter?


  24. TessaNo Gravatar
    July 24, 2011 | 11:47 pm

    @Jas I hope in due course to be doing a problem tenants pack, in the same way that we have done a new lodger pack for my Your Law Store site (which is now the Lodger Landlord shop).

    However until then, there are a few suggestions in the day 19 post http://www.lodgerlandlord.co.uk/2010/02/19/day-19-how-should-you-deal-with-problem-lodgers/

  25. ChrisNo Gravatar
    November 2, 2011 | 9:28 pm


    I have given my lodger notice and he is moving out a week early.
    How long is he legally obliged to pay – until the date on the notice or until his moving day?

  26. TessaNo Gravatar
    November 4, 2011 | 9:41 am

    For the strict legal position you will need to refer to your lodger agreement.

    But if you have asked your lodger to leave and he is moving out in response to this, I think it is a bit mean to ask him to pay after he has left. it is better for him to move out a bit early than to stay on after you have asked him to leave.

If you are a landlord or a tenant, you will help and guidance on Tessa's other sites, Landlord Law and the Landlord Law Blog.