Renting a spare room in your home to a lodger can be a good way of earning extra income, up to £4,250 a year tax-free.
It can also give extra security, as they may be in the house when you are away. If you would otherwise live alone, a lodger can provide company and help with bills.
It is a slightly less formal and flexible arrangement, and is attractive to both homeowners and lodgers. Lodgers will benefit from not having to rent out a whole property.
Choosing to be a landlord in your own home can be daunting, so here are some tips if you are considering taking in a lodger.
The difference between being a landlord and having a lodger
The main difference, and possibly the most important, between being a landlord and having a lodger is the added freedom you will have to end an agreement. If someone is living in your home and it does not work out, or your personal circumstances change, you have more rights to end the tenancy.
There are differences in the type of agreement you can have. These depend on whether there is shared space, or if the tenant has private use of at least one room. The legal rights of each party hang on these living arrangements.
Check if you can have a lodger
One of the first things you should ensure before taking on a lodger is whether your landlord or mortgage provider allows you to.
If you are a leaseholder, conditions of the lease may state what type of renting out you can do within the property.
If you rent privately, you will need permission from the landlord before taking a lodger. If the tenancy is through your local housing association, you could be automatically permitted to rent out a room to a lodger.
If you own your home with a mortgage, you will need to tell you lender if you take in a lodger.
If you lived by yourself before having a lodger, you may have had the benefit of a single person discount on your Council Tax. This will no longer apply, and you should notify your council of the change in occupancy.
Most standard home insurance policies do not cover lodgers. Your contents insurance and even buildings insurance could be made invalid if you make a claim. Using a specialist insurer will probably not increase your premium, but it is important for it to be noted on your policy.