Before you place that advert, you need to do a bit of homework. Here are our top five tips for getting your home ready for a lodger.
1. Check that you're allowed a lodger
If you have a mortgage, you must let your mortgage company know that someone is renting a room. Most lenders like to know who is living in the property.
If you're renting or you're a leaseholder, you'll need to check with the landlord that they are happy for you to take in a lodger.
2. Review your home insurance
Check whether your insurer will insure you if you take in a lodger. There may be a clause that says only family members can live permanently in the property. Find out more about how this could affect you below.
3. Make an agreement and put it in writing
It's best to set out up front what you expect from a lodger and what they can expect in return. That way, you both know where you stand if things go wrong.
Put down in writing:
- How much deposit they need to pay in advance
- What the rent will be and how you'd like it to be paid
- How you plan to split the bills with them
- Which rooms they can use as their own
- Future rent reviews
- How much notice you both need to give to end the agreement
4. Safety first
Having a lodger means that you're responsible for keeping your home safe and in good repair. You'll need to get an annual gas safety check on all appliances and flues and make sure all electrical appliances are safe.
You'll also need to take fire safety precautions such as smoke alarms on each landing and carbon monoxide alarms in rooms with open fires or wood burners.
5. References and criminal convictions
Your personal safety is paramount. Find out all you can about the person you plan to share your home with. Ask for references from their employer.
In particular, check for previous convictions. You may find that your home insurance isn't valid if your lodger has an existing criminal conviction.