When I bought my flat, I decided on a two-bedroom place, as I didn’t want to live on my own, and I figured I could rent one of the rooms out, taking advantage of the government’s tax-free Rent a Room scheme. Having lived in lots of shared, rented accommodation myself, I felt like I had the experience and understanding of both the rental market and the needs of a potential tenant.
Good Friends and Extra Cash
I’m pleased to say that it's worked out well for me so far, and I’ve had the double benefit of, overall, living with some pleasant lodgers, who’ve become good friends, while bringing in some extra cash to help towards the mortgage and bills. However, I also have friends who’ve taken in lodgers, and the situations has swiftly descended into a nightmare scenario. Back in my renting days, I also lived with a couple different landlords who made my life hell, and clearly weren’t enjoying the experience of having someone share their home. And that brings me on to the one sign that you shouldn’t take a lodger under the rent a room scheme.
Don’t Do it if you’re Desperate
Ultimately, it comes down to this: don’t take a lodger if you’re desperate for the money but can’t stand the idea of sharing your home with a stranger.
If you’re at the point where you need to get some extra cash sharpish, or risk losing your home, then renting out that spare room might seem the obvious choice. And it’s a good plan if you’re prepared to be tolerant and actually enjoy the company of someone else in your home.
However, if you see a lodger as a potential cause of trouble from word go, and feel uncomfortable about having someone live with you, save yourself a lot of stress and hassle, and find another way to get the money. The problem is that if you see it as just your home and not a home that you’re sharing, your lodger is going to sense this, and feel uncomfortable from the off, and this will lead to miscommunication, tension, and difficulties. If you’re likely to be very bothered by an unwashed coffee cup, or a light left switched on, it may be best to accept that sharing accommodation is not for you.
Other Ways to Bring in Extra Cash
Obviously, if you’re desperate for the cash, it may be difficult to see that there are other options. However, it might be best to think about renting the room out as storage (possible nowadays with websites such as Store at My House), or renting the whole place out and temporarily renting a room or studio flat for yourself.
What if I do Fancy Sharing?
As I mentioned, with the right attitude, the Rent a Room scheme can be a very positive experience. Next week I’ll cover some tips on how to successfully take in a lodger, creating a win-win situation for you and your new housemate.