If you have one or more rooms that you are not using, you might want to consider whether you want to rent a room as a way of making some extra money. One big benefit is that renting out a room has tax advantages – you can earn over £80 per week from your room before you need to pay any tax, that’s over £4,000 per year!
If you are located close to a university or college then students seeking accommodation may be a potential client group. Overseas students often like to rent a room with a host family in order to make social contacts and improve their English.
If you want to rent a room you may have to consider furnishing it before thinking about letting it. Students will obviously expect to have a bed and storage space, such as drawers and a cupboard or wardrobe, but they’ll also need good lighting and a desk or table, with a comfortable chair. Online small-ad sites like Gumtree, Snaffleup or Freecycle can be a useful source of cheap or even free furniture.
It’s important to make sure that the contents of the room are included in your house insurance. You may also need to consider whether or not your tenant’s belongings should be included or whether they will be expected to insure their own property.
Once you decide that you’re ready to rent a room you’ll have to think about the best way to advertise it. You can place ads on small ad websites, put cards in local newsagents or put up posters at nearby universities or colleges, but all of these take time. One option well worth considering is registering with a homestay accommodation agency, such as Hosts International, who will handle advertising for you, as well as ensuring that you have a good supply of tenants and that you are paid regularly.
You’ll need to think carefully about the household rules that your tenant will be expected to adhere to, for instance any restrictions on the hours at which they can come or go, whether or not they will be allowed to receive guests and whether or not smoking is permitted inside or outside the house. Even if you have a first-class tenant there is always the possibility that you’ll encounter problems, so there should be a set procedure for discussing and resolving these before molehills turn into mountains.
The amount of money you can make from your room will vary, depending on the standard of the room and the location of your home. Agencies like Hosts International can advise you on how much you can expect to make and can inspect your room to ensure that it meets the standards specified by the British Council. They can also advise you about the advantages and disadvantages of renting a room.
You should think carefully about the pros and cons before deciding to rent a room to an overseas student. The most obvious advantage is that it’s an easy way to make some money that can help defray your household expenses. Your guest may prove to be good company and introduce you to a new group of friends. However, if you value your privacy and don’t like the idea of sharing household facilities with a stranger, then offering to rent a room may not be for you. If you do decide, after considering everything, that you do want to go ahead and rent a room it might add an interesting new dimension to your life!
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