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Interviewing potential lodgers


Why interview potential lodgers?

They’ll be living in your house with you, so you’ll obviously want to know if they’re a good fit. Do two rounds of interviews/meetings to be sure – this will give you enough time to find out everything you need to know about them too.

First interviews

The first interview gives you a chance to narrow down potential lodgers to a shortlist. You don’t need to cover everything, but do ask questions that’ll give you a sense of whether potential lodgers are compatible with you and your lifestyle.

A good tip is to ask them to tell you about themselves and why they want the room – this will give you a gut instinct about whether they’re a good fit.

It goes without saying, but this is only the first chat so you don’t have to say yes to anyone you’re unsure about.

Suggested questions:

  • Lifestyle - Do they work/operate similar hours to you or will they be coming in when you're going out or be up while you're asleep?
  • Work - What do they do and what are their hours? Will they be expecting to work from home (and be in the house more)?
  • Partners - Do they expect their partner to be able to stay over? Is this OK with you? (For more on this topic see House Rules and Overnight Guests)
  • Noise and cleanliness - Are their expectations the same as yours? Will they be happy to share cleaning responsibilities?
  • Duration of tenancy - How long do they plan to stay?
  • You should also make clear what exactly is included in the rent. For example, will you be providing any additional services, such as meals or laundry? Will bills be included, and if not, how can these be calculated?

Second Interviews

Once you’ve reduced the list to just a few probables, second interviews are a great way to get to know one another better. A good tip for making second interviews more relaxed is to hold them somewhere other than your home; ask them for a drink or a coffee, as people tend to relax more in social settings.

If you live in London, one option is to invite them to a Speed Flatmating event in your area. This can be a great opportunity to see someone in a different environment and you'll be around people in a similar situation.

By the time you get to second interviews, you should be discussing specifics of living together. Make sure your lodger is clear on what you're offering and give them space to make a decision on whether they'll accept your offer. Now is a good time to bring up house rules, and ask them to agree to them.

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