House rules and overnight guests
Found your new lodger? Now its time to chat through how things will work. It can be tempting at this point to just hand over the keys and deal with issues as and when, but its far better to be clear up front, before any money is involved. Don't presume you both expect the same things!
Things to think about:
- Rent - How much and when is it due?
- Deposit - How much and when is it payable? Make sure the lodger knows what the deposit is for and what happens to it. Remember, you're not currently obliged to use a tenancy deposit scheme for your lodger's deposit
- Bills - What bills (if any) are included in the rent? If your lodger will be responsible for a share of the bills how will these be divided, collected and paid?
- Insurance - Your lodger's belongings won't be covered by your contents insurance. Make sure they know this and have arranged their own insurance cover
- What else is included? - Are you planning to include laundry or meals in your lodger's rent? What about council tax? Use of any particular facilities?
- Responsibilities - Whos responsible for cleaning what?
- Anything else - Like smoking in the property, pets, any parts of the property that are out of bounds, availability of parking etc
- Guests - Will you allow guests or partners to stay over? If so how often? This is often something people dont think about, but can easily cause conflict later on
One of the most common complaints we hear from lodger landlords is that their lodgers partner spends too much time in the property. It can be a real problem, especially if its just you and your lodger, as you can quickly feel outnumbered in your own home. So what can you do?
One idea (which came from a SpareRoom user) is the boyfriend rule. This basically means your lodgers partner can stay over as many nights a week as your lodger stays at theirs. This means the maximum number of nights your lodger can have their partner to stay in a week is three and, if this happens, theyll also be at their partners for three nights giving you the place to yourself (bonus).
Make sure you chat about this before they move in as it can be difficult to bring the subject up once a pattern has been established.