10 things to consider when getting a lodger

The potential to earn tax free income may be tempting but it is important to consider carefully whether a lodger is for you and to make sure you find someone that works around your lifestyle. Here are a list of key things to consider:

  1. Set your house up ready – Based on the ideal person you are trying to attract it makes sense to set up the room with basic furniture ready. For example, if you aren’t allowing the lodger access to your living room make sure there is a TV in the bedroom, if you are trying to attract a student get a desk, clear a cupboard in the kitchen. These preparations will enable anyone who views your house to better envisage living with you.
  2. Monday – friday/ full time – Consider whether a monday to friday lodger may work out better for you, perhaps you could target someone who works near to you but travels back to their family at weekends. This would also free up the room for your weekend visitors. A full time lodger will generally mean slightly higher income.
  3. Bathroom – Which bathroom will the lodger use? Will morning schedules clash? Do you have a separate cloakroom which you would refit carefully to include a shower too and then advertise as a private bathroom for the lodger? Rooms with private bathrooms demand a higher rent.
  4. Partner policy – Would you be happy your lodger to have a partner to stay? Its important to ascertain how often this is likely to be, you don’t want to start out thinking you are letting a room to a single person and then end up living with a couple.
  5. Shared space – Be clear on where is shared space and which areas of your house are out of bounds to the lodger. You may be happy to socialise whilst cooking/eating but want your sitting room to remain private.
  6. Working hours – Consider whether you are happy to have a lodger who works strange hours. This may work well with your kitchen/bathroom times never co-inciding or on the contrary could mean you having to pay for daytime heating.
  7. Developing a good advert   – Spareroom.com is the best site to advertise on, its worth taking lots of photos and coming up with a good description to show the facilities you are offering in their best light.
  8. Pricing – Its worth looking at other rooms which are advertised in your area to make sure you are pricing correctly. I have always chosen to price competitively; this has ensured I have had multiple applicants and have been able to choose the best one!
  9. Checklist for viewings – You may find it useful to print out a table detailing key things you want to find out about each person – you can then complete this during viewings. Its also worth making a note of key features of your house which you’d like to mention to them – it may be the bike storage you are able to offer them in your garden shed clinches the deal! Lodger Viewings Checklist
  10. Contract – Having a basic contract will ensure both you and your lodger know where each other stands. Here is a simple one which you may like to use. Lodger Agreement Template