First things first, you need to find out whether or not you’re eligible to take in a lodger. If you’re a tenant, you may be able to take in a lodger to help with the rent – just ask your landlord. If you own the home, you may have to get the permission of your lender, and if you’re in a leasehold property or part of a shared ownership scheme, you’ll need to get permission from the landlord or the board of directors. Once that’s settled, you can get started. Post an ad to find a lodger, or, if you’re a lodger looking for a room, click here.
The demand for lodgings has dramatically increased year on year, with as many as 100,000 people now looking for a room. Lodgers can either live solely in their rooms, using the facilities in the rest of the house as they choose, or they can become part of the family, sitting and watching the soaps with you in the evenings. But how much, or how little they choose to engage is really up to them, although if you have a preference either way it’s important to make it known from the beginning.
Keep in mind too that you can make up to £4,250 each year tax free by taking in a lodger under the government’s rent a room scheme. This is a great financial incentive, and it makes an excellent contribution to your mortgage or rent. However, that room must be furnished. When it comes to pricing your room, be reasonable. Your lodger is not there just to pay your bills. Of course, that is part of the reason you’re taking one in, but if you’re simply thinking of them as a cash cow, you don’t really have the right attitude and your relationship with them could be frosty at best. Generally, you’re looking at around £50 to £150 a week dependent upon the area (the upper price range being inner London, for example). Ask your local council or other landlords in your area for advice if you are unsure.
New rules also apply whereby you must check that the lodger has a right to be in the country. If you fail to do this and it is later found that your lodger is in the country illegally, you could be criminally charged for aiding and abetting a criminal and failing to disclose criminal status of an illegal immigrant. Again, double check with your local council.
Once you have the legalities sorted out, there are other things to consider, too – such as decor, furnishings, who’s going to cook and do the washing up and most importantly, who’s going to decide what to watch on TV! Come back next week for part two.