Could You Handle a Lodger?

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.

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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.

Everything You Need to Know About Letting a Property: Part 1

The lettings and rental market is booming at the moment as a result of the recession – fewer folk are able to prove their affordability in order to get a mortgage, which means that more and more people are choosing to rent instead of buy, so that they can still live in the postcode of their dreams without having to save up a 15% deposit. If you have more than one home (or even just have a spare room in your house), you could make a significant amount of money by letting it out. Buy to let mortgages are also an option if you have a deposit saved, allowing you to buy a house whereby the rent covers the mortgage. Once the mortgage is paid, the house is yours. Sounds simple, right? Although letting and renting is now as popular as its ever been, the market is fairly competitive across all price points, which means that you need to stand out from the crowd. Follow our guide to letting a property to learn everything you need to know and post an ad for your property here.

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Outside the House

Yes, you don’t live outside, but first impressions count and it’s very important to wow your tenants from the moment they set eyes on your front door. An untidy, dirty, messy exterior with cracked plaster and chipped paint can have an impact on the rental income, but it also sounds out a negative message to prospective tenants: that you’re not too fussed about household tasks, which means that they may worry should any issues arise inside the house.

Inside the House

The same goes for inside the house – it doesn’t need to be super modern, packed with designer furniture or even that stylish. But it does need to be clean, tidy, clutter-free and welcoming. If you’re renting out a house, your best bet is to give everything a lick of neutral paint, lay neutral carpets/wooden flooring, then let your tenant decorate (with permission). Alternatively, you could offer a range of colours that you’d be willing to use in the house, then let them have a say in how the place is decorated. If you’re letting a room in your house, the communal areas – kitchen, living room, bathroom – need to be clean, tidy and clutter-free. The space shouldn’t feel like “yours” – it’s a shared space and so it’s best not to have too many sentimental/personal items.

Make sure that everything works, too! For example, replace burnt out lightbulbs, make sure lamps/electrical goods work properly, that there are no cracked/broken tiles and that there aren’t any holes, lumps or dents in the walls or floors. Although it might sound obvious, the property should also be big enough for the number of person/s renting it from you – if you’re unsure about this, see a letting agent for advice.

Source: Prime Location

What You Need to Know About Renting Out a Room

People have been moving lodgers into the spare room for years, and renting out your attic or the box room has long been considered a surefire way to make extra money if you’re struggling to make ends meet or fancy a bit of company. But the boom in the sharing economy means that today’s renters are far more discerning than ever before – and at the same time, there is now a much larger market for single room renters. People are moving out of the family home later and later – the average age is now in the late 20s, rather than the early 20s, and rising living costs means that it’s difficult for anyone to get a foot on the property ladder. So, what does it all mean? Well, if you want to rent a room, you could make a pretty penny – the government’s Rent a Room scheme means that you don’t have to pay tax on the first £4250 per year made from renting out your room. That’s in addition to your personal allowance, which is good news for everyone, really! Rent a room London today.

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  • Get out your notebook and pen or just set up your laptop and get planning. You’ll need a spare room big enough for at least a single bed and furniture with power outlets. There should also be a lock on both the inside and outside of the door so that your renter has privacy, and you should also follow the relevant fire safety procedures. Ask your local council authority for more info.
  • If possible, offer a room with an en-suite. You’ll be able to charge more and there won’t be any arguments in the morning over who gets to use it.
  • When you come across a tenant that you think might be a good fit, check their references. It sounds silly, but hardly anyone bothers to check references.
  • Go to a solicitor and draw up a contract. Talking about what you expect doesn’t really mean anything: there is no way to prove who said what or when. Include in the contract when the rent should be paid, how it should be paid, and house rules. For example, if you have young children, you wouldn’t want a tenant stumbling in at 3 in the morning, drunk. You’d ideally want them to be quiet by about 11pm. That isn’t unreasonable, and you’re allowed to set down ground rules. You should also make it clear that you’ll give a warning by popping up and knocking on their door if they’re being particularly noisy.
  • Be open, communicative and clear about what you want and how you want the rental to go – whether you want it to be formal, as in the tenant spends their time in the room (you do have to provide communal areas), or whether you’d be happy for them to spend time with you as a member of the family.
  • If you live close to a university, consider contacting the accommodation office to offer your room to students or professors. Generally, students will be willing to snatch your hand off especially if you have a nice house, with a spacious room and decent communal spaces as student accommodation is just generally a bit rubbish.

Source: MSN.com