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Hosting Foreign Students

Do you have a spare room in your London home?  Why not get paid to host foreign students, make new international friends and share our language and culture at the same time?

London was very recently named TripAdvisor’s best rated tourist destination in Europe and the second best destination on earth.  Over recent years it has also won countless other awards as an international tourist hotspot.  Whether it’s sightseeing, shopping, green spaces or nightlife, London really does have it all.

The reasons that draw tourists to London are many of the same reasons that draw in foreign students.  At any one time, there are tens of thousands of international students studying at London’s language schools, colleges and universities.  It is estimated that these overseas students, in London alone, contribute in excess of £2.3 billion to the UK economy and support nearly 70,000 jobs here too.

Every year thousands of British people in London open up their own homes and get paid to host foreign students.   Offering “homestay” or hosting overseas students is a great way to earn some additional income and make the most out of any excess space in your own home.  Host families do not need to be “families” in the traditional sense.  Hosts can be single parents, couples or empty nesters.  The most important criteria is that you have a spare room in your own home and a willingness to provide a “home from home” environment to your foreign student guests.

How Much Can You Get Paid to Host Foreign Students?

In London, the pay varies depending on different criteria.  Most of London’s educational institutions are based in central London zone 1.  So, the closer you are to central London, the more Host Families can get paid.  It also depends on where exactly the home is, so homes on or near the underground are generally more in demand than homes on the rail.  If you can allow foreign students access to a private bathroom and/or can provide meals (e.g Half Board), then you will also likely be paid more.

Similarly, Host Families who take in students aged under 18 (“juniors”) will be paid differently.  With younger students, there is a lot of demand for areas out in zones 3 and 4.  Younger students tend to come in groups and on shorter stays (around 1 week).

The British Council allow up to 4 overseas students in a home and many homestay agencies/providers in London will place large groups of international students around this criteria.  This can be in 2 twin rooms for example or in 4 individual rooms.   You do need to be careful not to set things up so that the homestay is more like a hostel.  How you set up you home needs to be in the spirit of “home from home” (i.e. not akin to some form of independent self-catered accommodation).  Any more than 4 students in one home is considered by the British Council to be a “Private Home” and not a “Homestay”.  Bearing this in mind, if you can accommodate groups (over 18s and under 18s) with up to 4 students in your home, then you will be paid more for hosting students.

To find out more about getting paid for taking in overseas students, contact us to discuss your accommodation set-up and likely rates of pay.

Tax Free Earnings

The Rent a Room Scheme, which applies to Host Families taking in overseas students, lets you earn up to a threshold of £7,500 per year taxfree from letting out furnished accommodation in your home.  This was recently increased from £4,250 as the government has tried to encourage more people to open up their homes and benefit from the so called “sharing economy”The tax exemption is automatic if you earn less than the £7,500 threshold.  This means you don’t need to do anything.

Can We Help?

HFS London is an experienced provider of Homestay (“Host Family”) accommodation to many of London’s best educational institutions.  We are recommended by most of London’s universities and have contracts to supply homestay to students at many of London’s top accredited language schools.  We are ourselves registered with the British Council as a provider of Homestay accommodation.

If you are interested in getting paid to host foreign students in London, then we would love to hear from you!  Start by taking a look at our info pages for prospective host families.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you need more information!

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