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Mary-Jane

Please contribute to the Dos and Don'ts of having lodgers...

...even if you've never had them, but have a suggestion Very Happy

I'd appreciate comments/suggestions on the following in particular:
Food
Fridge/freezer space
Laundry
Cooking/meal times
Late night TV /music (I get up very early for work)
Bills - included in room rent, or share?
Bebo

Flat rent inclusive of bills except the phone. We put in a payphone. If they've got a mobile and it works where you are they may not want / need to use it anyway.
Mary-Jane

Flat rent inclusive of bills except the phone.


How do you work out what is 'reasonable' for inclusive of bills? Is it as simple as looking around and comparing to similar in the area?
Bebo

Divide your council tax by the number of people living in the house and do the same with the rest of the bills. Then add this on to whatever rent you plan to charge.

Then compare this with what other people are charging in the area and adjust until you feel comfortable with it.

The only reason I suggest you do it inclusive is it saves arguing when the bills come in. You don't want your lodger saying 'I didn't have the radiator on in my room so I'm not paying that much' and it causing resentment.
Jamanda

But remember the bills will go up with and extra person to have baths and they may want the radiator on in their room which wouldn't generally need heating as a spare room.

Also as you will have to share the kitchen what will you provide - breakfast? Evening meal? Or will you prefer them to cook from sctatch for themselves using only their own ingredients.

Milk?
Mary-Jane

Also as you will have to share the kitchen what will you provide - breakfast? Evening meal? Or will you prefer them to cook from sctatch for themselves using only their own ingredients.

Milk?


Confused What's the usual form for this sort of thing?
Mary-Jane

Divide your council tax by the number of people living in the house and do the same with the rest of the bills. Then add this on to whatever rent you plan to charge.

Then compare this with what other people are charging in the area and adjust until you feel comfortable with it.

The only reason I suggest you do it inclusive is it saves arguing when the bills come in. You don't want your lodger saying 'I didn't have the radiator on in my room so I'm not paying that much' and it causing resentment.

Point taken.
dpack

set the rules with the lodger pre moving in

what those rules should be depends on both parties

remember it is your home but be fair
Mary-Jane

Divide your council tax by the number of people living in the house and do the same with the rest of the bills. Then add this on to whatever rent you plan to charge.



So essentially I tot up all my monthly direct debits in respect of the house and divide by 3?
Mary-Jane

set the rules with the lodger pre moving in

what those rules should be depends on both parties

remember it is your home but be fair

Should we meet up on neutral territory first to see whether we like each other? God - it's like internet dating Embarassed
sean

Don't wear a Rigsby t-shirt...

Mary-Jane

*Titter* Laughing Ty Gwyn

Remember this is West Wales,unless you can find someone on a good salary,by adding on all the extra`s on top of 95 for a room you may price yourself out. NorthernMonkeyGirl

As a veteran of shared houses, I suggest:
Meeting up first neutrally, if you get on then view the room etc
All rules upfront - discuss what's negotiable and what's not
Emphasise privacy - they can't put a lock on "their" door so make it clear you won't go snooping (and hopefully expect the same)
Own cupboard in kitchen/shelf in fridge if they're fully self catering.
Perhaps a "kitty" for coffee, tea, milk?
Consider use of laundry/drying areas (though with only two of you should be easier - harder with 5 girls!)
Discuss visitors / someone sleeping over /pets?
Better to start off overly strict/formal and relax into it, than start off a bit slack then try to tighten up on things Smile
alison

Maybe some rule about portable electric heaters.

We don't rent the caravan out here after Oct, because too often they bring an electric fan heater with them, and leave it running for the whole week, even when they are out.
Nicky Colour it green

I'd say only have someone you believe you can trust - as there is always trust involved in having someone in your home. and then don't be over strict - you don't want to be the evil landlady, but rub along nicely together.
One place I lodged, the system for the phone was making a note of your calls and paying for them - with modern online bills etc, it is easy to work out who did what calls.

I think it is normal for the lodger to expect use of the living room, kitchen, bathroom and laundry machines.
dpack

set the rules with the lodger pre moving in

what those rules should be depends on both parties

remember it is your home but be fair

Should we meet up on neutral territory first to see whether we like each other? God - it's like internet dating Embarassed

might be a good idea ,in a previous life i had to explain to a very naughty lodger it was time to leave a chaps home .

ive had various strays over the years which is a bit different to paying lodger ,tis best to set clear rules and know who is about to share your home
Mary-Jane

Remember this is West Wales,unless you can find someone on a good salary,by adding on all the extra`s on top of 95 for a room you may price yourself out.

Yes, that's what I was thinking too.
Katieowl

And you can rent a two bed house in St. Dogs for 400 a month... Mary-Jane

And you can rent a two bed house in St. Dogs for 400 a month...

Well quite.
Pilsbury

And don't forget if you want to do t under the rent a room scheme you can only charge 81 a week before you need to start declaring It for tax, as you already have accountant that shouldn't be to much trouble but my uncle has just advertised a room for 80 even though the going rate is about 100 but he figures he can pick carefully cos he will have loads of people apply and he doesn't have to worry about te tax stuff. Cathryn

After you have met on neutral territory, go with your gut instinct. If you have any reservation about the person probably better to say no.

What about girlfriends, other friends visiting them? Are you clear about how you feel about this?
Pilsbury

We rented to good friend for a year or so and it was quite easy cos we all ate together, watch tv and it was generally easy, she was happy for us to dump her dry washing off the airers on her bed so we knew the room wasn't trashed but we didn't make a point of going in regularly to check.
Her rent included bills and she took her turn in cooking and we all just mucked in with cleaning up and stuff like that and it worked really well for us.
The rent was ridiculously cheap mind but it was defiantly mates rates and it was all extra money to us at the time.
Went

Having a lodger in your house requires a whole new mind set over and above the practicalities of food, fridges, etc.

What about their visitors - would you allow overnighters?
No more wandering around the house semi-nuddy or even popping to the bathroom - depends on the lay out.
Smells- it can be a problem
Different levels of conscientiousness on things like cleaning, clearing, wiping down.
Additional set of washing hanging around
Your future relationships
Cars - unless drive is big enough - car moving becomes a potential problem.
Storage - they may have additional items that will not fit into a small room.
Lorrainelovesplants

We rent the large room as single occ only. Its 90 PW. We have nothing to do with community charge and he has no access to phone. He has a mini kitchen in there with fridge.
All elec is included as is heating.
We said no smoking, no pets, no changes to room, occassional overnight visitors by prior arrangement only.
We also printed off a contract - he has a signed copy as do we. We also took a 200 deposit.
If we have a greivance we deal with it sooner rather than later in a friendly but no nonsense way.
We did phone interviews (you can usually identify 'strange people' prior to inviting them to view, and then had a 20 min chat on what we expected and about their circumstances.
As he was employed as a license holder (at the time) he has to be free of criminal convictions. This was good enough for us to shortlist him.
madcat

consider the impact on any household animals, I have a ban on visiting dogs because we are a dog free house and want it to stay that way.
Make sure the lodger isn't wierd. Boris's daughter had problems with innapropriate texts from the lodger and other creepy stuff.
Make sure you can get rid off them easily if you need to,see above!
Can you put up with a 24/7 stranger or would a Monday night to Friday morning person be better,are there any working away from home people in your area that might need a place to stay.
stumbling goat

And don't forget if you want to do t under the rent a room scheme you can only charge 81 a week before you need to start declaring It for tax, as you already have accountant that shouldn't be to much trouble but my uncle has just advertised a room for 80 even though the going rate is about 100 but he figures he can pick carefully cos he will have loads of people apply and he doesn't have to worry about te tax stuff.

But, if you go over this figure can you can not factor in all the extra costs involved to reduce your liability? Council tax, additional electricity, gas and washing powder?

sg
Pilsbury

And don't forget if you want to do t under the rent a room scheme you can only charge 81 a week before you need to start declaring It for tax, as you already have accountant that shouldn't be to much trouble but my uncle has just advertised a room for 80 even though the going rate is about 100 but he figures he can pick carefully cos he will have loads of people apply and he doesn't have to worry about te tax stuff.

But, if you go over this figure can you can not factor in all the extra costs involved to reduce your liability? Council tax, additional electricity, gas and washing powder?

sg
Have a look at the pdf link Richard posted, I think you can but you still have to go down the route of declaring the income and then submitting pu costs and so on.
If your under 80 a week you just don't have to bother telling anyone about it at all.
stumbling goat

And don't forget if you want to do t under the rent a room scheme you can only charge 81 a week before you need to start declaring It for tax, as you already have accountant that shouldn't be to much trouble but my uncle has just advertised a room for 80 even though the going rate is about 100 but he figures he can pick carefully cos he will have loads of people apply and he doesn't have to worry about te tax stuff.

But, if you go over this figure can you can not factor in all the extra costs involved to reduce your liability? Council tax, additional electricity, gas and washing powder?

sg
Have a look at the pdf link Richard posted, I think you can but you still have to go down the route of declaring the income and then submitting pu costs and so on.
If your under 80 a week you just don't have to bother telling anyone about it at all.

Oh, I understood the situation that you declare ALL income, even where it will be allowed free of tax, and note that it is under the RAR scheme, and it is then taken into account but not counted, if that makes sense?

I had not seen the pdf, I will go look.

sg
stumbling goat

Forgot to add that the website, lodgerland is worth having a look at for guidance.

sg
Pilsbury

As I understand it if you don't have to do a tax return you don't have to tell anyone about it.
At least trays what my uncle had said and that's,the reason he is charging less, he has the space but its not worth the hassle of having to do tax returns every year.

Sorry, link was in the other thread
http://forum.downsizer.net/viewtopic.php?t=75727&start=15
Chez

I think, generally speaking, living with an adult is different from student-sharing nightmares you may still be revisiting.

IIRC, we actually had spare space for a second fridge and they used that; it saved a lot of hassle. And I just made sure that I charged enough that I didn't feel put upon deep-cleaning round once a week (not their room) and keeping everything sanitary. I found that making the mental leap from having a weekly cleaning routine directly to the income we got from them made me a lot less cross about cleaning communal areas; although of course they cleaned up after themselves.

I recommend rules about overnight guests; and that can be whatever you are comfortable with. It's your space you are inviting someone else in to, so you set the ground rules.

If you wanted to, I guess you could have a list of housekeeping tasks that one week you did and the next week they did. Or something like that?

Re rent, don't forget that if the did rent a house for 400 a month, they would still have to find full council tax and all the bills on top of that. So paying you a share of the bills would be less for them. I would work out what extra you think they are likely to use and add that on to the rent rather than divide your bills by three.

Also, don't rule out people having some of their rent paid by the local authority. Not everyone on housing benefit is a skank; and it's guaranteed income. Your LHA weekly rate is 59.50 per week, which should give you an idea about what rent to charge. I think a third of prices are supposed to be less that that figure.
Katieowl

No but if they were getting HB they'd more than likely be in the house all day using leccy... when MJ wasn't there.

They'd also probably need to be working to have some kind of transport, cos' MJ's a hike from the shops!

Kate
Jamanda

Many working people also claim housing benefit. toggle

http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/tenancies/majority-of-new-housing-benefit-claimants-in-work/6521183.article?MsgId=50359

that would include 90% of new claims.


pilgrim and i get HB, that i still got some while I was working 70 hour weeks and he was also working says a lot about the level of wages and rent.
Chez

Many working people also claim housing benefit.

Sorry, wasn't heavy enough on the irony there. We claim it and get the full applicable amount. I'm probably a skank, though, if the Carpet Auditing Police did a check.
Katieowl

Chez, I would be the last person to cast any stones about benefit, you know that's not me.

There's not much in the way of work here at all, let alone full time and well paid work, as my kids are all finding to their cost, and my comment was more a reflection of our local economy.

You'd be far more likely to be getting it as a family, or a couple where only one of you was working, or under-employed as they rather euphamistically call it, if you are on your own as far as I can see they'd quite happily let you sleep in a cardboard box.

Kate
Chez

Gosh, no, sorry Katie, I didn't mean that at all. Jamanda's response made me think that I hadn't been clear enough in my own post.

I was talking to some people today who are in the Carmarthen area (not ds-ers, although I hope I managed to convince them to try us out) and we got to chatting about farmers' markets; and how it's not really ideal to be trying to sell stuff from farmers markets to the locals, because people who are local just don't have enough spare cash. I get 1.30 a box minimum for my eggs; I reckon that that would drop to 1 in W Wales, just because of the economy. It's a horrible situation Sad
toggle

there's nothing stopping single people claiming housing benefit, that just depends on the sums of what you're earning and what the LHA rate you're entitled to is. which is dependent on where you live and is supposed to be linked to local rents.

the only difference in being single is that you're very unlikely to get social housing.

(and special rules apply if you're considered disabled)

if single working people are unlikely to be able to claim HB, that might say something about the average level of rents in your area.

although there are plans to remove HB for under 25s
Katieowl

Eggs here are 1.50 a half doz in the market.

We have a bit of an odd local market though. There's a lot of people who've moved to the area, who still have and loads of hippies who want 'real' food, my 'market' with the GF and vegan stuff.

The locals (Wink) are as tight as a duck's bottom...and probably don't buy free range. There are a lot of really expensive women's clothes shops too...and I still haven't figured out who shops there Confused

Kate
toggle

round here, that's the tourists and millionaire retirees. Katieowl

there's nothing stopping single people claiming housing benefit, that just depends on the sums of what you're earning and what the LHA rate you're entitled to is. which is dependent on where you live and is supposed to be linked to local rents.

the only difference in being single is that you're very unlikely to get social housing.

(and special rules apply if you're considered disabled)

if single working people are unlikely to be able to claim HB, that might say something about the average level of rents in your area.

although there are plans to remove HB for under 25s


I think the biggest problem would be that there wouldn't be anywhere to rent Toggle. A place in town is around 400 a month - private sector. That will be anything from a studio to two bed depending on where abouts and how decent. As both the DD's have found out to their cost some of the housing is not fit for purpose. The HB removal for the under 25's makes me Twisted Evil as I know a couple of people here who would fall into that category...just grrrr that's all!

Kate
Chez

(and special rules apply if you're considered disabled)

That's against the 'applicable amount' though, isn't it? I am ferreting through all the regs at the moment, because although we are 'entitled' to a two bedroom house, because we have two children under ten, there is an argument to be made - and a precedent set by a court case last year - that because the children cannot share a room because of the nature of Nen's disability, we are entitled to a three bedroom place.

The 'applicable amount' is different, as far as I can get my head round it, with various allowances made because we are a couple, we have a severely disabled child, because I get carer's allowance and all that.

Which is thread-creep, really, for poor MJ. Embarassed
toggle

sorry, but the post i replied to didn't seem to be talking about the availability of places to rent, it read a lot more like a claim that HB wasn't available to single people.

and for young people, they are already looking at a houseshare anyway. Which can work out better. we would get the rent on this place fully covered if we were 2 single people, not a couple. although you can be expected to proove you're not 'living as a couple'
stumbling goat

I got it wrong.

apologies, CAB site says that if it is not taxable you do not have to declare it at all.

VERY SORRY!!! Crying or Very sad

sg
thi

CAB site says
"It is important to know what income is non-taxable and can be ignored for tax purposes. You only pay tax on your taxable income so you do not want to include any non-taxable income in your calculations. You do not have to tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) about income which is non-taxable so you leave it off tax returns and any other forms HMRC sends you asking about your taxable income. When you are working out your taxable income you also need to know about tax allowances and tax reliefs."

Link to the rest -http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/tax_e/tax_what_is_taxable_income_e/taxable_and_non-taxable_income.htm
Ty Gwyn



The locals (Wink) are as tight as a duck's bottom...and probably don't buy free range. There are a lot of really expensive women's clothes shops too...and I still haven't figured out who shops there Confused

Kate


There is only one expensive ladies shop left in Lampeter since BJ`s closed a few years back,it run by a local farmers sister,

I`d bet its the same case with the Cardigan ladies shops to this one here,the customers look a million dollars,but eat crap.
Jamanda

Is it worth considering whether you'd feel more comfortable with another woman in the house? Presumably Jack will be away to uni himself this year? Nick

Can you choose lodgers by gender? I don't know. Jamanda

Can you choose lodgers by gender? I don't know.

I'm not sure if you can advertise that way, but if you have to choose one person to live in your house from a number I think it would be as valid a factor as any others discussed here.
Nick

Same as a job interview, you mean? Jamanda

Same as a job interview, you mean?

No. It's not the same.
Ty Gwyn

2 Women in a house is asking for trouble. toggle

Can you choose lodgers by gender? I don't know.

I'm not sure if you can advertise that way, but if you have to choose one person to live in your house from a number I think it would be as valid a factor as any others discussed here.


you see loads of ads that specify gender


and there's a huge difference between employing someone and letting them live in the same home as you.
onemanband

CAB site says
"It is important to know what income is non-taxable and can be ignored for tax purposes. You only pay tax on your taxable income so you do not want to include any non-taxable income in your calculations. You do not have to tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) about income which is non-taxable so you leave it off tax returns and any other forms HMRC sends you asking about your taxable income. When you are working out your taxable income you also need to know about tax allowances and tax reliefs."

Link to the rest -http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/tax_e/tax_what_is_taxable_income_e/taxable_and_non-taxable_income.htm

I had friends as lodgers for 15 years
On self assessment forms I allways used the "income from property" sheet and ticked the first box "I am claiming relief under the rent a room scheme"(or something like that). Tick that and nothing else to do.

Also the allowance is per year, not per week or pro rata. So for this financial year it won't matter what you charge and similarly if you let for only part of next year.
VM

I did same as onemanband re: the tax return - I'm sure that's right.

I've always included bills with rent rather than divided them up - apart from phone - much much less hassle.

You don't have to be equal opportunities about this - as said above, it's not the same as employing someone. In Manchester, where I'm not anymore, but where we used to have lodgers, there are always lots of room adverts in local shops - often specify, man, woman, or also often gay or lesbian if the other people in the house are.

I think with things like late night TV/music, it's more important to be clear and suss the person out rather than have rules - i.e. say that you get up early so if they are someone who stays up late then it may not work. Better to be realistic at early stage.

I think it's most usual for people to have their own food and cook it - but we always tried to find people who were happy to chip in and share food because I knew it would drive me mad having someone else trying to use the kitchen when I was cooking, as I cook a lot.

For some reason I've just remembered the lodger we had who said she was vegetarian when she wasn't - something about how I asked the question about food made her think we were veggie (we're not) and so said she was because she wanted the room. So I spent quite a few weeks cooking veggie food for her and then very puzzled when she cooked spag bol for us!
Hairyloon

I don't think my lodger experiences are relevant. We are rarely in the house at the same time.

But I'd suggest that at the beginning, you schedule a regular meeting to iron out any teething troubles (from either side).

saves you having to say "look we need to talk about...", which I think can often up the ante of a conversation to start with.
stumbling goat

I don't think my lodger experiences are relevant. We are rarely in the house at the same time.

But I'd suggest that at the beginning, you schedule a regular meeting to iron out any teething troubles (from either side).

saves you having to say "look we need to talk about...", which I think can often up the ante of a conversation to start with.


As is your want HL do you start the conversation, "Does it really matter that......."

Laughing

sg
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