1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Lodger and Lodgings

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

LODGER AND LODGINGS. The term “lodger” (Fr. loger, to lodge) is used in English law in several slightly different senses. It is applied (i.) most frequently and properly to a person who takes furnished rooms in a house, the landlord also residing on the premises, and supplying him with attendance; (ii.) sometimes to a person, who takes unfurnished rooms in a house finding his own attendance; (iii.) to a boarder in a boarding-house (q.v.). It is with (i.) and (ii.) alone that this article is concerned.

Where furnished apartments are let for immediate use, the law implies an undertaking on the part of the landlord that they are fit for habitation, and, if this condition is broken, the tenant may refuse to occupy the premises or to pay any rent. But there is no implied contract that the apartments shall continue fit for habitation; and the rule has no application in the case of unfurnished lodgings. In the absence of express agreement to the contrary, a lodger has a right to the use of everything necessary to the enjoyment of the premises, such as the door bell and knocker and the skylight of a staircase, whether the rent of apartments can be distrained for by the immediate landlord where he resides on the premises and supplies attendance is a question the answer to which is involved in some uncertainty. The weight of authority seems to support the negative view (see Foa, Landlord and Tenant, 3rd ed. p. 434). To make good a right to distrain it is necessary to show that the terms of the letting create a tenancy or exclusive occupation and not a mere licence, where the owner, although residing on the premises, does not supply attendance, the question depends on whether there is a real tenancy, giving the lodger an exclusive right of occupation as against the owner. The ordinary test is whether the lodger has the control of the outer door. But the whole circumstances of each case have to be taken account of. A lodger is rateable to the poor-rate where he is in exclusive occupation of the apartments let to him, and the landlord does not retain the control and dominion of the whole structure. As to distress on a lodger’s goods for rent due by an immediate to a superior landlord, see Rent. As to the termination of short tenancies, as of apartments, see Landlord and Tenant. The landlord has no lien on the goods of the lodger for rent or charges. Overcrowding lodging-houses may be dealt with as a nuisance under the Public Health Acts 1875 and 1891 and the Housing of the Working Classes Acts. As to the lodger franchise, see Registration of Voters. It has been held in England that keepers of lodging-houses do not come within the category of those persons (see Carrier; Innkeeper) who hold themselves out to the public generally as trustworthy in certain employments; but that they are under an obligation to take reasonable care for the safety of their lodgers’ goods; see Scarborough v. Cosgrove, 1905, 2 K.B. 805. As to Scots Law see Bell’s Prin. s. 236 (4).

In the United States, the English doctrine of an implied warranty of fitness for habitation on a letting of furnished apartments has only met with partial acceptance; it was repudiated, e.g. in the District of Columbia, but has been accepted in Massachusetts. In the French Code Civil, there are some special rules with regard to furnished apartments. The letting is reputed to be made for a year, a month or a day, according as the rent is so much per year, per month or per day; if that test is inapplicable, the letting is deemed to be made according to the custom of the place (art. 1758). There are similar provisions in the Civil Codes of Belgium (art. 1758), Holland (art. 1622) and Spain (Civil Code, art. 1581).

See also the articles, Boarding House, and Flat; and the bibliographies to Flat and Landlord and Tenant.  (A. W. R.)