An HFS London Inspections Officer will meet with you at your home and it is imperative that you allow up to 60 minutes for the visit.
The aim of the visit is to understand your motivations for applying to be a Host Family, as well as to inspect the accommodation to ensure that it meets all the requirements of the educational institutions that we work with.
Key factors that we look at to establish suitability include but are not limited to:
- Motivations for applying to register to host international students
- The standard of the accommodation (including the guest bedroom)
- The area surrounding the home (amenities, transport, safety)
- The number of people in the home versus the size of the accommodation
- Current requirements of clients that we work with
The visit is also an opportunity for you to ask questions and establish definitively whether Homestay is right for you. In order to do this, our Inspections Officer will run through important information such as expectations of Host Families, booking procedures, different boards and meal plans, setting Ground Rules, Homestay categorisation, payment rates and procedures, procedures for extensions. The Inspections Officer will need to take photos of all of the communal areas of the home e.g. student room(s), living room, kitchen, bathroom etc.
A key part of the service that our Placements Team provide to our school clients is the matching of their students to our Host Families. As many of the Placements Team will not see your home, the photos are an extra aid for them when pairing student to Host Family.
After the Inspection Visit HFS London will write to you to inform you of whether your registration has been successful. If so, you will receive:
- A welcome letter that confirms details of your registration, categorisation and rates of pay.
- The HFS London Host Family Agreement. You will be asked to print, sign and post us an original copy in order to complete the registration.
- A copy of the HFS London Host Family Handbook.
Please note that HFS London will be your point of contact after your registration has been completed. Any student placed with you will be informed that their point of contact will be their place of study. If you have any concerns of any nature, please contact HFS London directly and not the student’s place of study.
New Host Families often ask how soon after registration they should expect to receive their first student. This will depend on many factors that include:
1. Time of Year
HFS London has students arriving all year round. However, certain times of the year are busier than others. Between January and April there will usually be many international students starting courses. During April to October it can be extremely busy with students visiting London while on holiday from university courses in their home countries. October to December tend to be quieter months than the rest of the year, but many students will start making advance bookings at this time for courses starting the following January.
2. Host Family’s Flexibility
Host Families who are able to be more flexible and register to offer all three boards, for example, will be contacted more often than Host Families that only register to offer one. Similarly if a Host Family is open to male and female students, smokers and so on, they will be contacted more frequently. As a general rule the more flexible a Host Family is able to be, the more students we will be able to suggest to them.
3. Location and Proximity to Transport
International students are usually very specific about the travel time from the Host Family to their place of study. Often this is the most important criteria. Students often prefer bus or tube over rail, but this will depend on where they are studying. As a very general rule, the closer the Host Family is to central London the more frequently they are likely to be selected.