If you’re considering renting out a spare room, you probably have lots of questions and concerns, and a lot of those questions are likely centred around security and safety. If you’re a parent, and your children are still living at home, you’ll definitely want to ensure you’ve put all safety measures into place before inviting anyone to live with you and share your space.
Renting a Spare Room in Your Home
Although the safety aspect can be daunting, renting out your spare room has many benefits:
- Added income and extra money
- More company around the house
- A chance to learn about new people and cultures
- A chance for your children to meet new people and learn new things
Background Checks and Referencing
If you’re taking in a full time lodger, and going about organising it yourself, the obvious safety checkpoints are referencing and checking their background before accepting any commitment to rent. Two key checks are from their previous employer and their previous landlord, but it’s also worth asking for a couple of characters references too.
Bear in mind that there are now legal “Right to Rent” checks that live-in landlords have to do when renting out a spare room. These ensure that anyone renting has the right to reside in the UK. So, you’ll want to meet them in person – to ensure their documentation and ID match up. It’s a good idea to introduce them to your children too, in a neutral setting, to see if they get along.
Making your Home Safe and Secure
After initial background checks and referencing, you’ll probably want to put a few safety features into your home, just in case. These can include:
- A privacy lock on bathrooms
- A privacy lock on children’s bedrooms (if they’re old enough)
- A safe (to keep valuables)
- Remove any shared online access to bank details or passwords from household devices
You’ll also want to take a security deposit from your new lodger, sign a lodger agreement, and update your home insurance too (the policy will need to change slightly).
Set House Rules
When your lodger has moved in, you’ll want to set out some house rules to ensure everyone feels safe and comfortable with the new living arrangement. This can include ‘out of bounds’ areas, such as children’s playrooms and bedrooms, so your children still feel like they have privacy and their own space. You can also communicate to your children that the lodger’s space is out of bounds to them, as that is their personal space.
You may also want to talk about alcohol storage (where it should be kept away from children) and leaving gates and doors open, returning home late, etc.
Renting your Spare Room through HFS London
Renting out a spare room through HFS London is a great way to rent out your extra space in a safe and organised manner. A lot of our host families prefer renting their spare room this way because it feels safer for their children.
At HFS London, we rent spare rooms in London to students and work experience placements, usually coming from abroad. We work on behalf of London’s top language schools, universities and educational institutions, and every year thousands of overseas students are placed in homestays and accommodation that we organise.
These are students who are looking for a ‘home from home’ experience in the city, and they’re looking to learn from you, chat to you and make friends with you. This is especially great for host families with children, as it means your children can learn new things, new languages and cultures too.
The students we place are usually on short courses at language schools in central London, and the study time is around 4-6 weeks. We find this works well for our host families, as it allows them occasionally privacy in-between placements – rather than having a full-time lodger all year round.