Will court help me kick out my lodger?

If relations with my lodger break down how much notice do I have to give them to leave the property? If they refuse to do so, can the courts back me up and if so, in what way?

Question:  I have had a lodger for about six months. Can you tell me what to do if, despite taking standard precautions, the relationship with my lodger breaks down? How much notice to quit should I give them? And if they fail to leave even though I have given notice, will I have to take them to court? If so, how long before the case is heard — and how long can the court allow the lodger to remain in my house?

Answer: I would hope that in the first instance you would be able to talk to your lodger to see whether an amicable solution could be reached.

If you would find talking to your lodger about certain issues difficult, or if talking has failed, then you could write a polite but firm letter.

Hopefully you have a written agreement with the lodger. Really the options available to you are dependent upon the nature of this lodger agreement. If the first letter does not work, or the situation is so bad that you just want your lodger to leave as soon as possible, then you must write a formal letter giving notice in accordance with the terms of your lodger agreement.

Generally, the standard notice period for lodgers is not less than 28 days, finishing at the end of a rental period. If the lodger agreement provides for a longer notice period then do make sure you give your lodger the correct notice.

If your lodger fails to heed the notice and does not leave, you can make an application to the court for an order requiring them to quit. If this step becomes necessary, it could take six to eight weeks before your lodger is evicted.

If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, please email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk  or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, London Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually but we will try to feature them here. Fiona McNulty is a partner in the residential property, farms and estates team at Withy King LLP (withyking.co.uk).

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These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor. 

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