The Legal side
Get it on the mortgage
First of all, before you buy make sure you choose a mortgage provider who allows you to have a lodger. You’d be surprised how many providers add clauses to their agreements preventing this. Tell them your plans for renting out a room upfront, after all you don’t want to the mortgage to be turned down at a later stage, potentially meaning you lose the property.
Think about the tax implications
You’re allowed to receive £4,250 tax free from renting out a furnished room in your property. Anything over this and you’ll need to declare it for tax purposes.
Set out a formal agreement with your tenant outlining things like notice periods, contribution to bills and deposits. Take photographs of your property before they move in so you can use this as evidence if they cause any damage. Finally, make sure your insurance company knows about your new tenant, so you’re fully covered in the event of a claim.
Tailor the agreement
Make the tenancy agreement as relevant as possible to you and your life. For example, if you don’t want someone to throw parties or regularly have guests over in the evening, make this clear on the agreement. This means you’ll have a strong case for eviction if your tenant becomes difficult or does things you don’t like.
Notify the local authority
If you’re a single person living in a property, you’ll currently be receiving a 25% discount on your council tax. However, if you’ve got a tenant, this no longer applies. Inform the local authority to avoid being caught out and fined.
The Life side
Choose the right tenant
If you have a young family, you’re likely to need someone who’s quiet and considerate of family life. If on the other hand you’re looking for someone to socialise with, you’ll need someone with similar interests to you. It’s important you get this right to avoid problems later on, so choose wisely and perhaps meet with a few different people before you make your decision.
Give them space
They’re paying to live in the property so have a right to see it as their home. Make sure you respect their privacy and never go into their room uninvited.
By making them feel welcome in communal areas you’ll help maintain good relations – you can do this by simply making sure they have enough storage space in the kitchen or bathroom. Plus having a time when you regularly sit down together for a chat means you can informally raise any issues before they become a big problem.
Don’t take pity
Don’t forget this is a business arrangement with a clear financial commitment on the tenant’s behalf. Don’t fall for sob stories and feel pressured into reducing rates or accepting late payments if you can’t afford it. Be clear upfront when you expect payment for the rent and bills, and if needed refer back to your tenancy agreement.
Build a contingency pot of money
As a landlord you must provide a safe environment for your tenant, keeping the property in a good state of repair and ensuring things like lighting, heating and other installations are safe and fit for use. You will also need to be prepared to quickly and efficiently deal with problems like damp, a broken boiler or damaged furniture. Always have a contingency pot of money you can use if you need it.
If you are moving house and need a reliable, approachable and experienced conveyancing solicitor, or simply want to chat about your conveyancing needs, call us on 0808 274 7557 or find your local QualitySolicitors branch here.