Struggling to pay the rent?
What happens when, as a flatshare tenant or lodger, your situation changes and paying your rent becomes a struggle?
If you become unemployed, and can still manage to cover your rent from redundancy pay or savings whilst looking for a new job, you probably won't need to tell your landlord. Check your contract though, just in case there's a requirement to inform your landlord.
You should be upfront with your landlord about your employment situation, especially if you're not able to pay the rent in full. If you've previously been a good tenant they're likely to want to help you through this difficult time and may be flexible on the rent - it's possible you may be able to split or delay rent payments for a while.
If you need to claim housing benefit you'll need to be upfront with your landlord about this. If you fall into arrears you could face the possibility of eviction. If a delay in getting your housing benefit paid is the cause of the arrears, you should definitely let your landlord know, as it's not your fault. Contact your nearest Shelter Advice Centre or Citizen's Advice Bureau, who can help you to negotiate with your landlord and the Council.
Most private tenants will have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, even in flatshares. In this situation your landlord can try to evict you because of the arrears or because your tenancy has come to an end. The rules are different depending on what grounds are being used so it's very important to get advice. Lodgers don't have ASTs but should have a lodger agreement. We'd suggest you talk to your landlady or landlord and try to come to an arrangement if you're going to have trouble paying the rent. On the whole, however, you have fewer rights as a lodger, as it's your landlord's home, so you may have to find yourself somewhere new to live if you can't continue to pay the agreed rent. See our guide to tenancy agreements for more on the different types of agreement.
If you become self-employed, or you're on probation in a new job, you should check your flatshare tenancy terms to see if there's an obligation to inform your landlord. Generally speaking though there shouldn't be any requirement to tell him or her about the change.
Need more information on eviction?
Whether you're living as a lodger, a tenant or just couchsurfing at a friend's place, Shelter's eviction rights checker helps you establish your tenancy rights with relation to eviction.