Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

What Are the Pitfalls of Taking in a Lodger?

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

What Are the Pitfalls of Taking in a Lodger?

Article excerpt

Byline: Fiona McNulty OUR LAWYER ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS

QI HAVE been widowed for two years. My house is a decent size and my friends suggest that rather than rattle around on my own any longer, I should take in a lodger. Can you suggest the best way to go about this, and is there anything for me to be particularly aware of? AMOST importantly, as a lodger will live with you as part of your household and will share some areas of your home with you, such as the bathroom and/or the kitchen, be sure to choose someone you feel you will be able to live with in close proximity.

Depending on who your lodger is and how you came to choose them, and especially if it is someone you do not know at all, consider obtaining references for them. And make sure you take up those references -- don't just get the names of referees.

If your home is mortgaged you may have to get the permission of your lender to rent out a room, so notify them of your intention. If you are eligible for a single person discount on your council tax you will probably lose that if you take in a lodger, although you may keep it in certain circumstances, for example, if the lodger is a student.

It would be wise to have a brief written agreement with your lodger containing house rules. Prepare an inventory of their room contents and take photographs. You may also wish to take a deposit from your lodger.

Tell your buildings and contents insurers about your lodger, as your premiums may be affected. And if you pay tax, you are allowed to earn up to PS4,250 a year tax free under the government Rent a Room scheme.

Make sure your electrical appliances and the house wiring are in good order and safe, and you will need an annual gas safety check. Furniture must comply with fire safety regulations.

QI LIVE with my long-term partner and saw in the news that the rules regarding intestacy have changed recently. Neither of us has made a will. How do the recent changes affect us? …

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