With constant inflation, bills looming and the effects of the recession still lingering, many of us are looking for a quick, simple way to make some extra money each month.
And since most of us don’t have the time for extra jobs or the patience to hold a garage sale, taking in a lodger means you’ll get a hefty sum of extra cash to boost your income and pay those bills, without having to lift a finger – sounds like a pretty sweet arrangement to us.
However, having a stranger move in with you isn’t a decision which should be taken lightly; there are many considerations that need to be reflected upon before you decide whether or not a lodger would be a good addition to your household.
What are the advantages?
It goes without saying that the main advantage is the big fat pay check at the end of each month (week/two weeks etc.… however you and your lodger decide to handle the logistics).
The government have recently put a scheme in place entitled ‘rent a room’ whereby you can earn up to £4250 from your lodger, completely tax free. This is independent of what you get from other sources, so even if you are making money elsewhere, the tax break still applies.
Additionally – although this may not always be the case – there’s a good chance that your lodger could become a friend. Coming into contact with new people is always a great opportunity to learn about other cultures/age groups and be introduced to things you would never have come across otherwise e.g. food, music.
If your lodger turns out to be into the same things as you, then this too can work in your favour. You may have just found a new partner to accompany you to cooking club or salsa night!
As with every big decision, there are always going to be positives and negatives; inviting a stranger to share your most intimate space is a big deal, and you must ensure you are comfortable with doing so before you decide to advertise your spare room.
If you have a large house, this may be an easier feat as it’s less likely you’ll be bumping into each other all the time and will still be able to enjoy some much needed alone time, however if you’re someone with a small living space then it’s more likely that you’ll see more of your lodger.
Once you have considered this aspect and decided it doesn’t significantly bother you, you then need to contemplate other factors and sort out the ‘small print’ of your arrangement, so to speak. For example, will your lodger be eating meals with you? Will he/she be sharing the household chores?
These questions and answers should be straight in both yours and your potential lodger’s heads before moving in day to avoid altercations and tension down the line; a home should be your sanctuary, hence it’s the last place you want to bring bad feeling and stress into.
Once you have decided taking in a lodger is definitely something you wish to do, there are many legalities to consider.
The majority of property owners and council tenants are able to take in a lodger, however it is necessary that you provide notice to your mortgage provider or local authority respectively.
There are minimum standards that you must meet as someone with a lodger living in their home; for example you must provide a fully furnished room (bed, wardrobe space etc.) and they must have full use of amenities in the house and the kitchen, bathroom, TV room etc.
Insurance is also required when taking in a lodger, so a suitable insurance plan should be taken out. Moreover, if you are on benefits, these may be subject to change so it’s worth contacting your local council authority before making any decisions. Taking in a lodger without letting them know you have done so could have negative consequences, so it is vital to ensure you do so to avoid complications.
Finding the right lodger…
Yes, taking in a lodger is primarily a financial arrangement, however at the end of the day you are going to be living with this person, so it is vital that you are compatible.
Personality, lifestyle, working life and social interests are all important points to consider when choosing the person who is going to be sharing your home and essentially, some aspects of your life with you.
Endeavour to find someone around the same age as yourself, with similar interests and working hours so that disturbance will be minimal. If you’re living with someone who works in a bar, for example, then it might not be the best arrangement if you’re having to get up for work at 7 am and they’re disturbing your precious sleep when coming in after their late shift.
Finally, remember, when you have a lodger you are essentially renting a property together, but you are the owner – and your attitude towards your lodger should reflect this. You should always be nice to each other, respect each other’s space and both feel comfortable using all aspects of the house.
It is a good idea to agree terms and conditions and advance with regard to cleaning, chores, general house rules and termination of the contract.
Once aforementioned agreement is in place, provided everyone sticks to it, there shouldn’t be any hiccups or problems and the arrangement should be satisfactory and beneficial for all parties involved.