You Want to Change your Agreement

But what if they are within the terms of the Agreement, or your understanding, and not doing anything wrong, but you believe you might not have taken your own needs into account properly when you drew it up (or at least, said it was OK originally)? This could be a tricky situation to resolve.

However, before you approach your lodger, you must be sure you're not within a fixed term on your Agreement (assuming what has become an issue is something the Agreement grants).

If you are within a fixed term, you can still ask your lodger if they wouldn't mind changing the Agreement, but they have the right to refuse. If they do refuse, you can either offer them compensation to change the Agreement or move out early, or simply live with it until such time as the fixed term ends and you either change the Agreement or serve notice.

When you approach your lodger, you might want to sit down with them and have a friendly chat, when you both have plenty of time, perhaps over coffee or a meal, but it might be best to avoid alcohol if either of you might become inebriated! Don't just simply accost them during a spare five minutes!

Start by apologising for not having thought things through properly when you made the Agreement (or OK'd whatever is now an issue) then say something along lines of "I'm finding that I feel very uncomfortable with...." or "I'm finding that I need...." DON'T say anything accusatory, such as: "You are causing me a problem" and don't ever, ever phrase what you want in a way that makes them feel subordinate to you as the landlord - in this situation, that could even be taken as bullying! It's important that you don't come across as making demands as of right, but try to negotiate and compromise amicably. E.g. you might say something such as, "Can we perhaps re-negotiate on this point - can you think of a way around this that might work for both of us?"

Be prepared to compromise more than you would have done if you'd been clearer from the start about what you wanted, as the lodger will have come to expect those freedoms, and you are changing terms you previously agreed to!

You might also give them the opportunity to raise any issues they might have with the agreement (or understanding, if there isn't a written agreement) and anything in general that they might be unhappy about.

Don't have this meeting at time when you're feeling angry or upset, or you're likely to simply blurt it out! If something the lodger has done has annoyed you (unless of course it's seriously out of order - by this I don't mean day to day small things like forgetting to clean up after themselves in the kitchen, using your washing machine a lot or having their boyfriend/girlfriend overnight more than you'd like), don't raise it with them straight away, but wait until you've calmed down and had time to see it from their side too.

Lastly, (even if you don't have a written Agreement) write a friendly email, note or letter to the lodger, summarising your amended Agreement or understanding and include the date of your discussion. If you have a written Agreement, attach a copy to it.

If you find that you can't reach a compromise, the only solution is for the lodger to move out, but at least you might be parting on more amicable terms, and if the lodger is your friend, it might just save your friendship.

For further tips on how to get along with your lodger, or to find a new lodger..(!) please see SPAREROOM.co.uk.

Next - No Compromise!