A free information service from spareroom.co.uk

Taking in a lodger

If you're thinking of taking in a lodger there are a few things you'll need to consider. Some of it is just plain common sense but there are a few things you might not have thought about so, starting with the basics, here's our guide to taking in a lodger.

What is a lodger?

A lodger is someone who rents a room in your home without having exclusive rights to any part of the property. Lodgers can have extra services (such as cleaning, laundry or meals) included by agreement with the landlord.

Who can take in a lodger?

Most homeowners and council tennants can take in a lodger but there are several factors to consider before you go ahead. You may need to inform your mortgage lender or local authority and you'll almost definitely need to alert your insurance provider. If you claim any benefits these will almost certainly be affected if you take in a lodger. For a more detailed look at this see our step by step guide to taking in a lodger.

What will I need to provide?

In the simplest terms you'll provide a furnished room plus use of communal areas. Other benefits such as cleaning and meals are up to you. Our what should I provide? page looks at this in detail.

How much can I charge?

That all depends on where you live and what your property is like. Have a look on www.SpareRoom.co.uk at other rooms available in your area to get an idea what the going rate is likely to be.

Can I evict someone if it doesn't work out or I need my room back?

Generally speaking it's easier to evict a lodger than a tenant but you will need to give 'reasonable notice' if you intend to evict. We strongly recommend a written agreement between you and your lodger(s) so the conditions are agreed upon in advance. See our evicting a lodger page for more on this.

How can I find a lodger, is it difficult?

The advent of online flatshare listings has made finding a lodger easier than ever. With an online listing on sites such as SpareRoom.co.uk you can include photos and video of your room so prospective lodgers can see what's on offer. You can also check out who's looking for a room in your area. Our guide to advertising your room has plenty of advice on how get the most from your listing.

Will I be taxed on my income and do I have to declare it?

Under the government's 'Rent a room' scheme you can earn up to £4,250 tax free by taking in a lodger. See tax and finance for full details.

Do I need to comply with the new Tenancy Deposit laws?

So far the law only applies to Assured Shorthold tennancies so you can take a deposit without having to use the scheme.

I'm thinking of buying a property, can I get a bigger mortgage if I'm going to take in a lodger?

Some mortgage lenders will let you borrow more based on rental income. Generally they will let you add £4,250 to your salary before any calculations - that being the amount of tax free income you can earn under the 'Rent a room' scheme. See our tax and finance page for more on this along with a list of mortgage lender who offer these products.