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Renting out a room in your house - your responsibilities

If you are contemplating trying to earn a spare bit of cash by renting out a room in your own home, you may already be compiling a list of dos and don'ts to give to your tenants. That may be very useful for them when they move in.

The moment that they do though, you become a landlord and you will need to have your own checklist. Here are some of the things we here at UKinsuranceNET think should appear on it:

  • make sure that the space you are letting out is clean and in a state of good repair;
  • have any gas or electrical items inspected to ensure that they are in good working order (more about your legal responsibilities are available here );
  • check the labelling on curtains and other soft furnishings to ensure that they conform to modern safety standards;
  • inform your insurance company that you are changing the status of your property - you may find that you will need to replace your owner occupier policy to landlords' insurance;
  • check the government's site to see if you would qualify for tax allowances on your rental income under the Rent a Room scheme;
  • although you may just be starting out as a landlord, you may need to give some thought to how to end your tenancy arrangement . This will depend to some extent on how much of your property your tenant shares;
  • agree in advance the rent that your tenant will pay and when . Whether you agree an allowance for utility charges to be included in the rent or have pre-paid meters installed, bear in mind that you can't charge more gas, electricity and water than you actually pay yourself;
  • if you are renting a room you are not currently obliged to lodge your tenant's deposit with an approved scheme. Always bear in mind though that it is not really your money to spend - so keep it in a safe place where it will be available when needed;
  • if you decide to rent out another room in your home then your status as a landlord will change. You home will be classed as a house in multiple occupation and there will be additional fire and safety standards that you will be obliged to meet;
  • although your tenant will be sharing your home, they are entitled to their privacy and you should ask their permission before your enter their space. With certain types of tenancy this may be a requirement of the agreement.

Becoming a landlord and renting out a room in your property can be an ideal way for you to earn some income from your spare room.

If you yourself rent your property from your local council, then be sure to inform them of your intention and bear in mind that you may need their written permission.