ADVICE IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING RENTING A ROOM IN YOUR HOME
There are many advantages of renting a room out in your property:
- If you receive benefits you can charge £20 per week from a lodger without your benefits being affected.
- If you are a tax payer any income you receive is tax free if you charge under £81 per week and you are in the Government's Rent A Room scheme; this won't affect any Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit that you receive.
- If you are subject to a decrease in Housing benefit due to the Welfare Reform Changes then renting the room would stop you underoccupying and having to top up the rent out of your other income.
If the lodger is eligible for Housing Benefit, then the government would pay their full rent, or a contribution towards the cost if you charge more than the lodger receives. However if bills are included in the rent these will not be covered by Housing Benefit as this money is only claimed against accommodation costs.
You can make new friends and perhaps the lodger can help with other things, like looking after your pet whilst you are at work or when you are away.
Of course there are also other things to consider, such as:
The effect on you and other members of the household, especially if you or they already receive benefits
Whether you are happy for the new person to bring their own friends home
Whether you would expect them to contribute extra money for bills
If they are to chip in with household chores
If your spare room is in a fit enough state to let, i.e. does it have basic furniture, flooring and curtains/blinds
That your landlord would not consider the lodger liable for any issues with the management of your tenancy but the lodger must keep to the conditions of your tenancy agreement.
If you are serious about taking in a lodger and becoming a host landlord:
All of these issues can be discussed before the person moves in so it is a good idea to have some House Rules in mind, discuss them with the new lodger and both sign to say you agree to stick to them. For example you can clarify details of visitors, music, parking, smoking, laundry, housework etc. However you must be reasonable and in some cases be prepared to compromise.
You can be very specific in the advert on Pinpoint about the kind of person you would like to live with you - perhaps you are a single female living alone and would only like a female lodger in a certain age bracket, you can say if you have pets so you don't receive interest from people with allergies etc. You can also give information about your household if you wish. Click here to see other rooms advertised on Pinpoint.
The best advice is to meet the people who respond to your advert and make sure that they are the kind of person you could get on with before you make any kind of offer - there are no rules saying you have to be best friends with a lodger but it is easier in the long run if you are on friendly terms. Ask lots of questions of them and encourage them to do the same.
You should also make sure that the lodger can afford the rent that you are charging before you agree to rent the room to them.
You may wish to give a certain amount of time for your lodger to stay, such as 6 months, or keep it flexible and open-ended. You may only wish to rent to students so you rent the room during term time - for example if you have grown up children at university and they only come home in the holidays. The details of how you manage your home are up to you - you can seek advice from your Neighbourhood Officer or your landlord's specialist tenancy team and there is plenty of advice available on the internet to guide you through the whole process.
From 1st February 2016 you, as a 'landlord', will have to ensure that your lodger has the 'Right to Rent' residential property. You will have to ask for a copy of an original residency document (such as a passport) or equivalent ID. There is lots of help on the government's website for what you need to do. There is a link to all the advice here.
The lodger will not be added to your tenancy agreement or have any claim on your property - this is strictly an arrangement between you and the person you rent the room to. Lodgers are known as 'excluded occupiers' which means they don't have the same rights as a tenant but you should get your agreement in writing.
You will need to ask permission of your Housing Association landlord and provide them with details of whoever you choose to live with you but you are responsible for how much you charge per room, the rules you make for your home and the length of time that you want the person to stay. For more information visit the websites below:
The following Housing Associations are members of the Find A Room scheme. If you are a tenant of one of these landlords you can advertise your room on Pinpoint:
For further information and the documents you will need, click here