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Am I a tenant or a lodger?

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314 views 1 replies latest reply: 15 November 2015

Hello all.

Sorry, this is a bit of a long one.

I currently live in a flat in the attic space above my landlady’s garage which sits on her property. I pay monthly rent. Although small it is entirely self sufficient with its own kitchen, bathroom, living area, and with its own private entrance and hallway. I share no accomodation with my landlady whatsoever, only the same driveway. The garage is a separate building about 20 feet from my landlady’s main residence, but is on her land. It doesn’t have its own electricity meter (bills are included in rent) and I exclusively use a washing machine in the garage below, which is the landladys. There is a rental agreement but all it states is the rental amount, the deposit amount and that I am to be the sole occupier.

My landlady has served me notice to leave and given me 4 weeks!! Also she has not put my deposit in a deposit scheme. Effectively she believes I am a lodger since I am on her property. I believe I am a tenant as I live in a separate, self contained building. I have spoken to an adviser at Shelter (the housing charity) and to a housing officer at my district council and both have confirmed I am a tenant. But I spoke to a legal adviser through a scheme I subscribe to, and they have advised I could still be classified as an excluded occupier as I live on the same “property” as my landlady’s home.

I am not registered for council tax as my landlady told me I didn’t have to. I have since found out that I should be registered, but the Valuation Office Agency has no record of this extra flat I live in!! I’d rather pay council tax now than get chased for it in 6 years time if this ever gets found out.

In short, I am a tenant with all the legal rights therein or am I a lodger without a leg to stand on? And who decides, and when?

Many thanks.


I would refer you to the definition of resident landlord in Schedule 1, Housing Act 1988 which states that if the property (the part you occupy) forms part of the building that the landlord occupies as their sole and principal home then the landlord will be a resident landlord. As such the notice served is correct as you are not classified as an Assured shorthold tenant.

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