I’ve got a new lodger!!
I’d had three enquiries within a couple of days of dropping the price, but none of them had come to anything. And then the fourth one came along.
My last lodger moved out back in November. I knew I probably wouldn’t find another one until after Christmas but I’d sort of thought there might be a flurry of interest in the week or two after Christmas.
This sounds awful, but a lot of couples split up at Christmas or just after. I should know – my husband told me he was leaving on 8th January… And following a break-up, one half of the relationship has to move out. And they have to live somewhere.
Hah! It didn’t happen.
I dropped my price. And then, like number 9 buses, three came along at once. Four, in fact.
The first three were non-starters for one reason or another.
And then Number Four made contact. We met for coffee on the Saturday. He came to view on the Sunday afternoon and he liked it so much he signed the contract there and then.
I told him I needed the deposit immediately, in order for him to secure the room – once paid, I would take the advert down. I also needed the first month’s rent the day before he moved in. This gives me time to check that it has in fact been paid before he turns up on the doorstep with all his bags and boxes.
He paid the deposit and the first month’s rent that evening, and moved in the following day!
He’s been with me a week now. Life is good. He’s normal, civilised, respectful. We get along fine.
And I’ve dropped back into my ‘life with a lodger’ routine. Remembering to close the bathroom door. Remembering to take my dressing gown with me so I don’t have to streak back to the bedroom after a shower. Keeping the kitchen clean all the time.
Which reminds me, I need to clean the cooker today.
Remembering to keep the doors to ‘my’ rooms (my bedroom, the office, my bathroom) closed – he has to walk past them to get up to the attic.
It’s quite nice knowing that there’s someone else in the house. Also, a bit odd. But mostly quite nice. I hear him moving around upstairs, or I hear him come in or go out.
It’s always hard to know how much or how little contact they want. I want him to feel welcome in my home – in fact I want him to feel it’s his home too. I don’t want him to feel isolated up there in the attic, and I always make him feel welcome when he comes into the living room (sharing the living space is part of the deal if you’re a lodger or have a lodger). But mostly he spends his time up in the attic – and as long as that’s fine with him, it’s fine with me too.
I get monthly rent, of course, and it’s tax free thanks to the Rent a Room scheme. But it’s not pure profit. There are costs involved in having a lodger –
- I lose my 25% single-person discount on the Council Tax
- I have to have a gas safety certificate. It won’t come as any surprise if I tell you that they charge landlords more than they charge private individuals for gas safety checks.
- There’s inevitably more gas, electricity and water used.
- I’m more than happy to wear thick socks and put on an extra jumper, but I can’t expect him to do the same – so the heating has to be up higher and on for longer than it would be if I was on my own.
- And there’s always the potential for some damage. My last lodger broke the loo seat…
If anyone out there is thinking about letting rooms, I would highly recommend SpareRoom.com. They don’t just do the advertising, they provide lots of useful information and guidance for both landlords and lodgers, and practical things like pro forma contracts. If you’ve got the space it’s a fairly painless way of earning a bit more money.
For the removal of doubt, SpareRoom.com haven’t paid me to say any of that!!
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