Renting out my spare room – what do I need to know?

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  • Renting out my spare room – what do I need to know?
  • andrewh
    Member

    Hello,
    I’ve got a spare room to rent (16 miles from Innerleithen/Golfie, 20 from Glentress if anyone is interested? 25 from Edinburgh centre)
    Anyway, I’ll have to let the council know as I won’t get the single-occupancy discount on my council tax any more, I should probably mention it to my house insurers. It’s under the threshold to pay tax on the income.
    What else should I think about, any rules I need to know? Who’s done it and what did you have to do? I’m thinking things like deposit schemes, public liability insurance, safety certificates, that sort of thing. Do any of these still apply if it’s a room in your own house (which you still live in)? Anyone recomend any standard contracts I can just amend to suit my purposes? Things like notice periods (I’m looking to sell in the next few months) or how to get rid of them if I just don’t like them or they stop paying?
    .
    Thanks all.

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Subscriber

    If you are looking to sell in the next few months, I’d just stick it on AirBnB. that way you don’t have to do all the admin associated with proper renting, can probably charge more, and can sell as and when suits.

    andrewh
    Member

    Had considered that. Bit more faff with people coming and going meaning I have to be here at certain times I guess, also a bit more random who you get, at least with a flatmate I can meet them first and decide if I like them. What’s people’s real-life experiance of Airbandb, any good? Anyone done that and proper flatmates, what did you think?
    Similar questions I suppose, where would I stand with insurance, safety certificates,etc? Do they insist on anything, (private bathroom for example, it will be shared with me, just one in the house)

    sofaboy73
    Member

    Don’t know if it’s different in Scotland, but in England there’s very little you need to do if you live the property as well other than get gas safe certificates for boiler etc. I rented my spare room out for many years to subsidise mortgage over lean times, initially to friends and then ransoms. Let council, mortgage co and insurance co know. Gumtree is the best bet for advertising usually. Never bothered with a contract as I was living there ad always took the view that if housemate turned out to be a weirdo I’d be able to get them to leave / dump all there stuff outside & change the locks. Have a chat & cup of tea with the people when they come round to view and go with your gut feel, if you don’t think something is right, don’t rent to them. Ultimately it’s a bit potluck but out of the half a dozen people I rented to over 10 years only one caused me issues. Remember when they move in your sharing your house not just giving them a room, it’s there home as well

    hels
    Member

    AirBnB was great 4/5 years ago when it was about hosting visitors, who wanted to meet locals and stay in their spare room. I met some really interesting travelers.

    Now sadly it is about high turnover self catering for maximum cash by landlords. The first time a guest said to me “so where do you live?” I unlisted.

    So yeah, ask around for a lodger, where do you stay, walkerburn?

    Keva
    Member

    not sure if it’s the same in Scotland or not but in England if the lodger doesn’t sign any sort of contract and it’s just a verbal agreement all you have to do is give them 28days written notice to move out. After the 28days are up you have to keep any belongings they’ve left in the property for two weeks after which you can dispose of as you wish. So the best thing to do is to make sure they don’t bring too much stuff in by furnishing the room yourself. I made the mistake of allowing one clever cloggs of a lady to bring in a load of flat packed furniture, a bed, chests of drawers and various other bits. I couldn’t see how much of it there was until it was all set up. She had so much not all of it would fit in the room and she put a huge table in one of the other rooms which then took her two weeks to shift it out after me repeatedly telling her to get rid of it. After asking me if her boyfriend could stay once or twice a week to which I agreed she began bringing him round five times a week and he then started turning up when she wasn’t there so I never knew who was going to be in my house when I got home! and they both seemed a bit weird to me so at that point it was time to kick her out. It also depends on how good you are at sharing your space with strangers, the layout of the house can have a big impact. The best thing to do really is to share with someone who you know and can trust.

    andrewh
    Member

    Thanks guys.
    Sounds simple. I think the main message is be picky about who you let to. I’m fortunate that I’m not desperate and can take my time to find someone, just need a bit more cash to fund biking trips, so I can manage without if it takes a while to find someone nice.
    It’s in Stow, so not too far from Walkerburn if you’re interested Hels?
    Not many folks looking for rooms round here, but also not many for them to choose from, will see how it goes. There’s a university campus in Galashiels, mature-student a likely tenant or does this come with problems? Not going for an 18yr old undergrad! Probably means I have it to myself again for the hols too
    No gas, so no safety certificate to worry about. Solid fuel heating, wood burner with a back-boiler, proper STW-style, not sure if that would put folks off, bit of a faff and no timer but I like it. It will be furnished.
    I’ll have a look at that video when I’m not at work JV

    I’ve had a few, most have been great, with their own little quirks (one decided to pressure wash my rear patio, threading a leaking hose through my house… and also decided to trim my neighbours hedge as it was scratching his car, without asking them…).

    My last one was quiet, no bother, but she didn’t understand the concept of a toilet brush, had a meat-heavy diet, and also at times failed to realise that some things don’t always want to sink first time round. She lasted 3 months before i gave her the boot…

    nike5
    Member

    – Have a contract (they need to be seen as an ‘excluded occupier’ other wise you might get stuck with them).
    – A year contract (to stop you increasing rent) but to have a notice period (normally a month)
    – They have their room, but they must NOT have sole use of another room, as this can change their status.
    – Make it clear from the start what you don’t want – ie smoking inside house? pets?

    Have a read of below government website.
    https://www.gov.uk/rent-room-in-your-home

    Be wary of references, are you speaking to previous landlord, or their mate.
    Re their work reference, don’t use contact they provide, use google and contact company directly.
    If they’re a nightmare lodger, will their current landlord give them a bad reference? or a good one to get rid of them quickly.

    Talk to them. Could you spend time with them, as you’ll end up sitting in the lounge with them.
    Noise can be pain, work out when they expect to be there – do they work opposite shifts to you (each of you creeping around house to avoid waking the other), or will they be working from (your) home (so they’re always there).
    Are you renting the room to them, or their girlfriend(s) too.

    Life is about compromise, and it’s a great experience.
    Normally works out, but be choosy. As after a days work, you don’t want awkwardness.
    They wont look after the house as well as you, but should not be treated as a hotel – you’re not their maid.

    Editing to say, don’t know if rules are different in Scotland?

    Vader
    Member

    Yeah I do this in scotland, in fact I have done it for about 7 or 8 years and had a variety of lodgers, some amazing, some awful.

    I’d recommend doing a lodger’s agreement – you can download examples and then modify to suit your needs. Basically it outlines the rules, the cost, what they get and the dates they pay rent, the dates they move in etc and the notice period. Sign them, keep a copy each and then there’s no quibbling or forgetting. There’s good advice on the Shelter website IIRC.

    No matter how lovely they are, they will do things that annoy you a bit. If you have things that are extremely precious to you, put them away where they can’t be damaged. My number one rule is ‘if you break something or something breaks, tell me straight away and we’ll sort it out.. It probably won’t matter, but I don’t want to find it in pieces under your bed when you leave’.

    I’ve had youngsters who have been excellent, grown adults who are utter dicks. It’s a bit of a lottery but I try and go for friends of friends or recommendations via people I trust.

    Do you expect to sit and watch telly with them? Or do you expect them to stay in there room mostly? Will you eat together? That sort of thing is worth thinking about. Some lodgers love interaction, others don’t

    edit Keva up there has some good advice and similar experiences to me!

    andrewh
    Member

    Thanks again guys, some good thoughts there.
    .
    Somethig which hadn’t occured to me though- The wife and I are splitting up, I’m buying her out so I was talking to the mortgage broker about this earlier today and mentioned letting out the spare room. He said that a lot of mortgage lenders object strongly to people letting rooms and that the vast majority won’t go near Airbandb with a sterilised barge pole. Anyone had any trouble with their mortgage company? Anyone even checked before they just went ahead and did it?
    Looking like I’ll be remortgaging through NatWest if anyone has specifically used them, are they friendly as far as housemates go? My thoughts were that having more income makes me less risky (the room rent will cover about 2/3 of my mortgage payment, which is mad in itself, what a difference a deposit makes!) His explanation was that it’s harder to reposess if there’s more folks living there, and Airbandb falls foul of all sorts of ‘not running a business from your home’ clauses.
    Looking at somewhere like Edinburgh and the vast number of rooms to let there I can’t imagine they are all mortgage-free surely? Is he talking rubbish or a lot of people just not asking their lenders and doing it anyway?

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Subscriber

    I imagine the folk with mortgages got the mortgage then the lodger, not the other way round. Easier to ask for forgiveness than permission etc

    Or simply didn’t tell them.

    Premier Icon seosamh77
    Subscriber

    sofaboy73
    I rented my spare room out for many years to subsidise mortgage over lean times, initially to friends and then ransoms.

    Tell is more, this sounds lucrative? 😆 How many people did you need to kidnap to cover your mortgage?

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Subscriber

    Tell is more, this sounds lucrative?

    It’s great till Liam Neeson’s kids ‘move in’?

    TheBrick
    Member

    From a practical point of view I ended up viewing it as being paid for cleaning. The one guy I rented to was not terrible but I still had a fair bit of extra cleaning to do. As above you are sharing the house as much as renting a room. If you live in major city it best as you can get mon-friday renters. Less so in the country side.

    Premier Icon mrwhyte
    Subscriber

    The only bit of helpful advice I can offer is to make sure they’re not a nut case. My old lodger was bonkers.

    First morning after moving in I was performing my daily expunge and she started banging on the door asking how long I was going to be. Now, no one interrupts me while I am on the loo. Turned out she suffered from this strange anxiety that when someone went to the loo she would start to panic and wonder how long they may be and what happened if she needed to go while the other person was in there. Suffice to say I took plenty of literature in there with me after that.

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