Lodgers and Lodging Houses
Lodgers are persons who rent accommodation with shared kitchen or bathroom facilities. They are not protected by the Residential Tenancy Law.
A list of lodging accommodation is available by clicking here.
A deposit may be requested. It does not need to be paid to the MyDeposits scheme. It is helpful and advisable for the landlord to provide an inventory of the contents of the room or rooms, stating the conditions and contents with any defects noted and agreed by the lodger. If there is no such inventory, it is very difficult to establish the true condition of the accommodation and contents if there is a dispute at the end of the occupation.
Details of the deposit paid, with receipt, should be given to the lodger explaining in what circumstances any or all of the deposit could be retained. If the detail is given verbally it may still be possible to take legal action at the Petty Debts Court to recover money retained in any dispute.
The landlord is entitled to increase the deposit required at any time during the occupation, and the lodger must then decide if they are willing to pay the increase to keep the accommodation.
Lodger’s rights in Private Lodgings
Lodgers may not enter into any form of lease, do not have any security of tenure and can, therefore, be asked to vacate at any time without notice, although any rent paid in advance should be refunded. There is no right to privacy, as the landlord has an unrestricted right of access to and use of the accommodation but this should be exercised in a reasonable manner.
The lodger has a right to receive the accommodation and services agreed at the commencement of the period of occupation, which should be detailed in written terms and conditions, but which is often only a verbal agreement.
Landlord’s rights in private lodgings
The landlord has an unrestricted right of access to and use of the accommodation, however this should be exercised in a reasonable manner.
The landlord has a right to receive the correct amount of rent at regular intervals, and to find their property in a reasonable condition at the end of the occupation.
The landlord should ensure that the property is in a wind and water-tight condition and is maintained to the same standards as when the accommodation was first offered to the lodger. They should endeavour to ensure uninterrupted services of utilities e.g. water and electricity. The landlord is responsible for the insurance of their own property and contents, but not for the lodger’s personal effects.
There is no statutory rent control in place covering rent in lodging houses or private lodgings and the system relies on supply and demand. Registered lodging houses set room prices which must be displayed prominently in each room and cannot be increased from one period of registration to the next. Any rent increase at a registered lodging house could be referred to the Population Office.
Rent is normally payable in advance, with a week in hand in some cases. If the lodger is asked to leave between payment dates, the landlord should return any rent paid in advance.
Lodger’s problems and complaints
Problems between lodgers and private unregistered landlords are more difficult to solve as there are no regulations in place and no regulatory body to appeal to.
Goods left behind
A landlord owed rent is not legally permitted to dispose of a lodger’s goods to recover the debt. If the landlord is owed money, he can take it out of the deposit if this was agreed at the start of the occupation or use the Petty Debts Court to get a judgement and restraint on the goods.