More and more people are choosing to increase their monthly income by renting out a spare room to a lodger. Taking in a lodger is a great way to utilise all the space in your home and make some extra money with little work.
If you find yourself a good lodger, then it can be an excellent arrangement for both of you. However, it is possible to get lodgers who are more hassle than they are worth. If you are considering taking on a lodger and raising some extra cash, then this guide covers everything you need to know.
From finding your perfect lodger and making the tenancy legal to understanding your responsibilities as a landlord, our guide to taking on a lodger answers all you need to know about renting a room out.
Can you take on a lodger?
Before deciding on renting out your room and getting a lodger in, you should first consider if you can realistically take on a lodger and if you are legally allowed to. If you have a mortgage on your property, then check with your mortgage lender if you are permitted a lodger as some have limitations on renting out parts of your home.
If you are a tenant in your home and renting from another landlord, then you must check your lease to see if it allows lodgers; it is also worth checking with your landlord before you move a lodger in.
Your home contents insurance could also affect your ability to take in a lodger, as your insurance policy might be affected by renting out a room in your home. Be sure to discuss this with your insurance company beforehand, as otherwise, you may find that your insurance is invalid later down the line. If you are on any kind of benefits, then it is best to check with your benefit provider if they will be affected in any way by having a lodger move into your home.
You should also consider if having a lodger will fit with your current lifestyle, if you are a fairly self-contained person, you may not enjoy having another person living in your space and sharing your home’s facilities.
How to find a lodger?
Before you start your hunt for a lodger, you should set out a written agreement that states exactly what you would expect from your lodger. This should include how much rent they will need to pay, and which areas of the property they can and cannot use. If you are planning on letting the room furnished, then provide an inventory of all the items in the room, and the condition they are in before the lodger moves in.
Once this has been done, you can begin to look for the ideal lodger for your home. Advertise your home on local sites, and wait for the requests to start coming in. Be sure to vet any lodgers you are considering and ask for references from either previous landlords or an employer.
You should also chat with your potential lodgers to get an idea of their lifestyle and understand how this will fit with your own. Bear in mind you will be living with this person, and it is important that you can get along and won’t be a disturbance to one another.
When advertising your spare room, remember that it is not just the room that they will be renting. You need to market all aspects of the property that they have access to, including the kitchen, bathroom and living spaces. Try to sell your home on features such as free Wi-Fi, a nice garden, or a convenient location.
What are your responsibilities to your lodger?
Once you rent a room out in your home, you will have some legal responsibilities that you must be aware of. It is your job to provide your lodger with a safe environment to live in, and there are various safety regulations you must provide, these include:
- Working smoke alarms on every floor that are checked regularly.A valid gas safety certificate that is reviewed regularly.
- Working carbon monoxide alarms if your property needs them.
- Appropriate living conditions, including adequate sanitation and food preparation areas.
- Undergoing any repairs and maintenance required in a timely manner.
When you have a lodger, you should respect their privacy and not enter their room without consent. You have the right to enter their room for maintenance purposes, however, you should make sure you give them reasonable notice.