Lodger Breaking the Agreement or Behaving Unreasonably

If your lodger is breaking your Agreement, try to keep a note of how and when the Agreement was broken (or something that reasonably shouldn't be happening, even if the Agreement or Rules doesn't mention it).

Allow yourself time to calm down, then pick a good mutual time to have a talk with them and politely but firmly point out the problem - just state the facts (e.g. "I came down to the kitchen Sunday morning and found a cup and plate broken in the sink.") don't make any judgment or use offensive terms (e.g. "you were obviously drunk/careless etc" - you don't know they were drunk, unless you saw or heard them!). Try to come across as understanding - assuming it's not something pretty serious or something that keeps happening - "I'm not having a go at you, we've all had accidents and broken something in the past!". Next, tell the lodger what you want done about it "Could you tell me in future if you break something? Then I know what's happened and it doesn't come as a total shock!". Also give them the opportunity to raise any grievance they have with you (although if they do, breaking the Agreement or behaving unreasonably is not the way to deal with it!).

However, what if they keep on breaking things every time they come in after a Saturday night out - and either don't even inform you, or offer to pay for or replace the items they've broken? Keep notes every time it happens - then confront them with your evidence (though again, don't say anything judgmental or accusatory beyond what they've actually done wrong). In our scenario, you might then tell them you not only expect to be told, as agreed before, when they break something, but as it's happening so often, you want them to pay for the breakages.

Most likely they will apologise and offer to change their behaviour. Write to them on an informal, friendly basis - by email, ideally, summarising what you have agreed and saying you trust there was a good reason for the behaviour, but you're sure this will be the end of the matter. Attach a copy to the Agreement - and keep copies in any case of the letter or email and your notes of the incidents.

If they haven't improved in a month, and the fault is serious enough (or a load of small things that put together are really getting to you), again you might want to consider serving notice.

If, however, they refuse to stick to the Agreement (or stop the unreasonable behaviour), and it's something that you're not prepared to tolerate, you really have no choice but to serve notice on them - in writing, citing your reasons and the date of your talk - however, if the lodger is likely to argue, or become defensive and dig their heels in before moving out, just write them an email, telling them you need the room back by a specific date (usually the next day their rent would fall due - ideally, giving them a month - see Lodger's notice periods) as you will need the room for someone else - you can invent an aunt, cousin or old friend who's coming from abroad for a long term stay - assuming you're not within a fixed term period of your Agreement OR the lodger's behaviour isn't so bad you need them out straight away. If you do serve notice within a fixed term, although the lodger doesn't have the protection of S1(2) Protection from Eviction Act 1977 that an assured tenant (a tenant under an Assured Statutory Agreement - the most common type of tenancy) does, your Agreement (whether written or verbal) is still subject to contract law, and a lodger could challenge this or any other breach in the small claims court.

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

Next - I need to change the Agreement