When I first decided to take in a lodger, I’d sort of thought I would prefer to have a woman lodging with me. Then I realised that men probably make up a larger proportion of people looking for lodgings, so it would be silly to reduce my chances of finding one by limiting myself to women only. I decided that what I really wanted more than anything else was a decent human being.
And in fact, once I started to do some research into the subject, I discovered that I’d accidentally made the right decision!! You see, when someone enquires about becoming a lodger with you, you have the right to vet them. You can ask for references, you can search for them on Facebook, you can check their credit-worthiness and whether they really do work where they say they work. You can exercise due diligence. They are coming to live in your home, so you can be very picky indeed.
However – you can’t exercise the same caution when it comes to any girlfriend or boyfriend that they may have. And of course, if they are making their home with you, you can’t really ban them from having friends round. And to put it bluntly, you’re more likely to get grief from a woman’s boyfriend than from a man’s girlfriend.
It’s coming up two months since my lodger moved in.
I’d put all of my details on Spareroom.com, and I’d had a few enquiries. My lodger made contact in July. We met for coffee (never invite them to the house before you’ve met them!). We arranged for him to come and view the rooms a couple of days later. He was happy with the set up, and happy with the price. It’s quite a big house, so basically he has a floor, I have a floor, and we share a floor.
I gave him all the paperwork to look at and asked for a one month deposit to secure the rooms. He paid the deposit promptly, we arranged a moving day, and all was good.
On moving day, he arrived at the time agreed. There was a bit of an issue at this point – the rental money hadn’t arrived in my account, although he’d told me he’d set up a standing order for it. He looked extremely embarrassed and puzzled as to why it hadn’t happened and rang his bank there and then. It turned out we’d both forgotten that this was the Sunday of Bank Holiday weekend, and so nothing was going to happen until the Tuesday…
I could have refused to let him move in – but, well, I was happy that he had indeed set up the Standing Order.
The money arrived on the Tuesday.
And so we settled down to life as landlord and lodger. I’ve not been a landlord before, and he’s not been a lodger before, so there’s been a bit of adjustment needed. But he’s quiet, polite, respectful and helpful – and normal, which is really all you want from a lodger.
He always lets me know if he’s going to have visitors round, I hardly hear him when he comes in late or goes out early, he knocks before he comes into the living room, and if the kitchen bin needs emptying or the cat’s water bowl is empty, he deals with it.
And he likes the cat, which is a relief. He doesn’t mind her going up to the attic, and she spends some of her time asleep on his bed – he knows he can throw her out anytime, but he’s happy for her to be there. And the cat certainly doesn’t mind!!
To begin with we were both a little wary around each other, but we’re shaking down and getting used to each other now. We’re getting into something of a routine.
And also, it’s really nice to have someone else in the house. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about that – I’m used to being on my own (even when we were together, my husband worked away a lot). But I hear him moving about upstairs, and it’s quite nice to just know that there’s someone else around.
So – it’s all very civilised. And financially it’s very useful.
Getting a lodger was one of the first major decisions I made after my husband left. And it’s worked out well. I can earn up to £7,500pa tax free through the government’s ‘Rent a Room’ Scheme – why wouldn’t I want to do that!!
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