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Thinking of getting a lodger? How to find a good one

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Have you been thinking about getting a lodger? There is no doubt that many people are finding their purse strings being pulled tighter and tighter and are always on the look out for ways to save on spending or earn extra cash. If you have a spare room, then one way might be to rent it out – you could earn and extra £4,250 a year tax free this way. While it might not be suitable for everyone, if it is something you could offer check out what is involved and the benefits you could gain by renting out a room.

How much can I charge?

How much money you can make from getting a lodger will depend on the size of your house, size of the room, area your live in and what facilities you offer as part of it. To get a rough idea, check out what other people in similar houses in your area are charging by looking in local papers or online sites. Under the governments ‘rent a room’ scheme, you can earn up to £4,250 tax free, which works out at around £354 a month! If you earn anything over that you would have to declare it and pay the additional tax. You might even want to consider making a little more money by charging for  additional services such as washing, ironing or cooking. Even with extra charges, if the amount including the rent is under £4,250 you won’t pay tax, anything above you will.

Thinking of getting a lodgerFinding a lodger

Finding a lodger is probably your biggest concern. If you don’t know of any friends or colleagues that you can trust, you will be opening your home up to a stranger so need to ensure you find someone suitable. You could put an advert in a local college, hospital, or company in order to find someone who already has links to your area. Ask friends or relatives to spread the word and local papers, ads in post offices or local stores are great at attracting potential lodgers. If this doesn’t do the trick, there are websites specifically there to help you find a lodger; houseladder.co.uk, spare-room.co.uk or easyroommate.com are some reputable ones.

Background checks

Once you have people interested, it’s important you feel comfortable with them so make sure you check out their background. Ask for references, preferably from their last landlord and follow up on them. Call and double check the information provided is accurate, find out firstly that they are who they say they are and whether there was any issues. Also ask for a bank reference and employer reference that will confirm their identity and confirm they have the ability to pay you. Make sure you interview them face to face as well. Ask how they spend their spare time, why they’re looking for a room, are they clean and tidy, will they buy their own food etc. Someone might seem perfect on paper but when you meet you might not click. If for any reason you don’t feel comfortable, trust your instincts and say no.

Set off on the right foot

If you find someone you’re happy to rent to, set the ground rules from the start. Agree a date when rent will be paid and set up a direct debit. Ask what extra services they may expect or that you can provide and set agreed prices for these. Agree how bills will be split and how cleaning chores will be handled. You should be clear about any additional visitors to your home and what is and isn’t acceptable.

You should be realistic about whether a lodger is for you. Lodgers and kids shouldn’t really mix unless you know them well and you should check with your mortgage lender and insurance company so they can adjust your cover or check if you’re allowed to rent a room under the terms and conditions. It won’t be for everyone, but for others it’s a great option.

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About Rebecca Robinson

About Rebecca Robinson

After spending the last 8 years juggling life as a mum of two, wife and working full time as a Project Manager for a global telecommunications company, Rebecca Robinson made the decision to follow her love of writing and took the plunge; turning her passion into a full time career. Since becoming a full time writer, Rebecca has worked with various media and copy-writing companies and with the ability to make any topic relevant and interesting to the reader, now contributes to The Working Parent on articles ranging from credit cards to teenage relationships. Ever the optimist, Rebecca's dreams for the future include a house in the country filled with children, dogs and horses in the field!

Website: Rebecca Robinson

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