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The Dynamics of Being a Successful Live-In Landlord        

If you own a property and are thinking of renting out a room or part of your home while you’re also living there, you will become a "live-in" or "resident" landlord.

 

Definition of a Live-In Landlord

A ‘live-in landlord,’ also known as a ‘resident landlord,’ is a homeowner who rents out a room or section of their home within their residence to a tenant or lodger while continuing to live there. The term ‘resident landlord’ can also refer to tenants who sublet rooms in their rented homes, provided their tenancy agreement permits it.

This decision can bring in some extra income, but it pays to be aware of the procedures you need to follow.

While most traditional landlords rely on renting properties as their primary income source, live-in landlords often tend to approach this role more casually. Some live-in landlords opt to lease out a room or unutilized area in their residence for additional income. Likewise, others simply enjoy the companionship that comes with having a lodger.

Criteria for Being a Live-In Landlord

However, if you do not legally reside at the property, you are not classified as a ‘live-in landlord.’ This situation may arise if you decide to rent a room to a friend or family member in your vacation home. In such cases, you become a landlord and must fulfill all the regular responsibilities and legal requirements.

So you are not a live-in landlord if:

  • The property consists of purpose-built flats, with the landlord residing in a flat apart from the tenants.
  • You are not legally recognized as a ‘resident’ at the property.
  • According to the law, as the landlord, you must use the property as your primary residence both at the beginning and throughout the letting period.

Technically, it’s possible to have two residences – for instance, you could own a primary residence and lease out a portion of it to a lodger while also owning a vacation home you occasionally visit.

However, being a live-in landlord means having only one main residence. This is important because if you rent out a room in a property that is not your main residence, you should cover your tenants with a regulated or assured tenancy, which gives them greater rights.

Distinction Between Tenant and Lodger

While people sometimes use these terms interchangeably, a distinction exists between the two.

An occupant is a tenant if they have exclusive access to one room within the property. This implies that the live-in landlord cannot enter the rented space without notifying the tenant.

If the landlord has unrestricted access to the whole property, then the occupier is a lodger. Instead of holding a tenancy agreement, a lodger simply has permission to occupy the space.

Different Types of Tenancy with a Live-In Landlord

1. Excluded occupier

Consider tenants who are excluded occupiers; they are lodgers who rent a part of the property where their landlord or a member of the landlord’s family also resides. This typically happens when a lodger, who rents a bedroom, shares a bathroom and kitchen with the live-in landlord.

2. Occupier with essential protection

These tenants live in the building with their landlord but have private living space and do not share common areas except stairs or storage spaces. Unlike excluded occupiers, they have more rights, and landlords must follow proper eviction procedures if they want them to leave.

Excluded Tenancy or License

A tenant’s rights are determined by whether their tenancy is excluded or non-excluded.

In an excluded tenancy, the tenant shares areas of their living space, like the kitchen and bathroom, living space, or garden, with their landlord or a family member. However, they have exclusive possession of the room they rent.

An excluded tenancy agreement is a type of contract in which the tenant does not enjoy the same protections as tenants in assured or regulated tenancy agreements. Essentially, this means that the landlord has the authority to evict a tenant without following the usual legal process. Excluded tenancy agreements are common when the tenant resides in shared living quarters with the landlord, such as a roommate scenario. Typically, lodging arrangements cater to excluded tenants.

How does it work?

Unlike a standard tenancy agreement that grants tenants the right to quiet enjoyment of their space, excluded tenancies differ significantly as landlords have unrestricted access to the tenants’ living space. Due to the absence of regulations, excluded tenancies rarely extend into long-term arrangements; they typically remain short-term agreements.

Often, there are situations where a tenant resides part-time or full-time with a landlord and provides services beyond paying rent.

For instance, when an elderly landlord needs assistance and care at home, it’s typical for a tenant to live with them to help their living conditions. The landlord can consider the tenant’s contributions to the property as part of the value they offer, allowing them to enjoy reduced rent costs.

Excluded tenancy agreements do not qualify as assured tenancies. Tenants do not enjoy the same rights to a quiet home, so if a landlord enters your room unexpectedly in an excluded tenancy agreement, there is little you can do about it.

Rules about eviction

Typically, a landlord cannot immediately evict a tenant in an excluded agreement. The landlord also doesn’t have to go to court to evict a tenant. A one-week notice if rent is paid weekly or a one-month notice if rent is paid monthly is reasonable for termination. The landlord doesn’t need to document this notice in writing. Moreover, this practice of giving notice is considered fair and is not governed by any legislation that safeguards it.

Tenants who are excluded usually have to know the landlord’s regulations, typically outlined in the excluded tenancy contract they signed.

For instance, one excluded occupier might hold an excluded tenancy license that must expire for the landlord to evict them. On the other hand, another tenant might have a periodic tenancy, which can be easily terminated without prior notice.

For example, excluded license lodgers can be evicted with notice. Therefore, evicting a tenant immediately would not usually fall under this category. In other agreements, landlords cannot evict tenants even if they are not meeting their rent obligations. A landlord can typically evict a tenant within a week if the tenant pays rent monthly. This applies to an excluded tenancy.

While you don’t have to create a tenancy agreement for these tenancies, it is recommended when renting out your home in France. This contract can quickly help resolve any conflicts that may arise in the future.

The Difference Between a Tenancy and A License-to-Occupy

For a tenancy, the occupant must exclusively use at least one room. The agreement between the occupant and the landlord will also specify that the landlord cannot enter the room without the occupant’s consent.

For a license to occupy, the landlord must offer some services requiring unrestricted access to the occupant’s room. These services may include cleaning, waste removal, changing linens, or preparing meals.

If the landlord needs to access the room without restrictions to provide these agreed-upon services, then the occupant does not have exclusive use of the room. As mentioned above, this scenario typically labels the occupant as a ‘lodger.’

Furthermore, when an occupant has to share a room with someone they didn’t choose to live with, it falls under a license-to-occupy arrangement.

A lodger agreement

As a live-in landlord, you don’t necessarily need to make a tenancy agreement with lodgers as they don’t receive the same level of protection as tenants. Instead, landlords typically request lodgers to sign a license agreement, but a lodging agreement isn’t mandatory.

A lodger agreement is a contract that both a landlord and a lodger sign when they live in the property and share living space. Even though this agreement is informal, landlords should include certain details similar to other rental agreements.

  • The amount of rent and how often it should be paid (monthly or weekly);
  • Inclusion of expenses like Wi-Fi;
  • Break clauses in the contract;
  • Responsibilities for shared living spaces and appliances;
  • Landlords’ eviction rights and conditions;
  • Type of tenancy.

If you’re doing a fixed-term agreement, there is no minimum or maximum length, so the lodging agreement can be as long as you’d like.

Types of agreements

Fixed-term agreements

Fixed-term agreements involve paying a fixed amount of rent for a fixed duration during which the landlord cannot evict a tenant, and the lodger cannot leave.

Periodic agreements

Periodic agreements have no fixed end date. The lodger continues to pay rent on a weekly, monthly or quarterly based on the agreed terms.

Excluded tenancy

In excluded tenancies, the lodger shares living areas with the property owner, and the owner is not allowed to enter the lodger’s room.

Excluded licence

Excluded licenses restrict lodgers’ access to shared areas of a property while allowing landlords to enter their rooms as needed.

Non-excluded tenancy

Non-excluded tenancies occur when a lodger lives with a homeowner. They live in separate flats or buildings without sharing living spaces.

Ready To Rent: Top Tips for Renting a Room in Your Home

  1. Set your rent
  2. Tenant vetting
  3. Protect your income
  4. Document an inventory report
  5. Draw up an agreement
  6. Set the ground rules
  7. Ask for a deposit

Live-In Landlord Responsibilities

  • Room and board maintenance                              
  • Cleanliness
  • Adherence to local housing laws
  • Meeting safety and security standards
  • Rent collection

How Much Rent Can Live-In Landlords Charge?

Landlords have the freedom to set the price for renting out a part of their property. The rules around renting for excluded occupiers should be based on whatever the landlord agrees to let the room out for. Usually, a marker rent must be followed so the landlord cannot charge too much above the area’s average rent. Landlords are also allowed to increase the rent. However, this can only happen once the current tenancy agreement has expired and a new tenancy period commences.

When a tenant signs a lease for a fixed period, the landlord cannot raise the rent during that time. The rental income remains stable. However, if a tenant is on a month-to-month agreement, the landlord has the flexibility to increase rents at any time, by any amount.

 

Please note: This article does not constitute legal advice – the information on this page has been prepared solely for your information. As we are not a law firm and act as a platform, we can and may share our estimations, but we cannot give you legal advice for your individual further proceedings.

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