Taking a lodger
One option if you're affected by the welfare reforms is to take in a Lodger.
If you are thinking of taking in a lodger, there are a few things that you should consider...
What is a lodger?
A lodger is someone who rents a room in your home and who shares some facilities with you such as your kitchen or bathroom.
Am I allowed to take in a lodger?
Check your tenancy agreement. Most agreements do allow you to take in a lodger. But you usually need to ask for permission from your landlord first. If you are unsure, contact us.
How will my benefits be affected?
Having a lodger may mean that as your extra bedroom is being used, you would not be affected by the bedroom tax. But, any money you receive from the lodger (apart from the first £20) will be seen as income and this may affect the amount of benefits you receive.
When your benefits are transferred to Universal Credit, the lodger will no longer be counted as occupying a bedroom and the rules for bedroom tax may then affect you and your benefits may be reduced. However, the income you receive from the lodger will no longer be taken into account and will not affect your benefits.
If you take in a lodger, you will need to inform the DWP and your local authority. Find your local authority here.
If you pay council tax, you will need to let your local authority's tax team know that you have taken in a lodger.
In some circumstances taking in a lodger may affect your Council Tax benefit. Check with your local benefit office first.
What should I charge?
This is up to you and in agreement with your lodger. You may wish to check the local paper or www.SpareRoom.co.uk to get an idea for what other people are charging in your area.
Do I need to let my contents insurer know?
Yes, you should advice your insurer as it may affect your policy if you claim and have not informed them.
How do I find a lodger?
There are a number of options that you may wish to consider, including:
If you have access to the internet you could place a free advert on www.SpareRoom.co.uk.
Place an advert in the local paper
Looking at adverts in the local paper for people seeking a room
Word of mouth - your friends or relatives may know of someone.
What should I consider before deciding who to take in as a lodger?
Take your time and make sure that you chose the right match for you and your family and your lifestyle. Remember this person will be sharing your home with you.
There are some good tips on this on the SpareRoom website.
You may wish to do some checks on your lodger for your own safety and peace of mind. You could speak to the previous landlord(s) or get references that show your lodger would be able to meet the rent you are charging.
You may also wish to set some rules for your lodger, so everyone is clear. You could agree which parts of the house the lodger can use, what appliances (such as washing machine etc.) the lodger can use, if your lodger can have overnight visitors or guests or an agreement on times when there should ne no noise and when your lodger can come and go at night.
You may also wish to agree if you provide other services such as meals.
Can I ask the lodger to leave If I need the room back or it doesn't work out?
Yes, this is your responsibility, but you must provide your lodger with a reasonable amount of notice. When you take in your lodger it is a good idea to write up an agreement or licence that you both sign and agree to. Make sure that you do not offer your lodger more security than they are entitled to. A standard agreement is available for a small fee at the SpareRoom website
Your lodger can only continue living in your home whilst you have a tenancy there.
If you are thinking about taking in a lodger, make sure you talk to us.