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Know how: Taking on a lodger

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Whether you own the home you live in or rent it from a landlord, taking on a lodger is one way of earning some extra cash from any spare room you might have – it might also be the answer if you are simply looking for a little extra company and someone who is able to share the bills with you.

The demand

With the current high demand for rented accommodation in the private sector, you are unlikely to find it difficult attracting a lodger – though, of course, you need to exercise just as much care in selecting someone who is suitable, as you might for any other type of tenant.

If you are yourself renting the property, of course, you need your landlord’s permission in order to sublet any room in the property.

In law, there is a clear distinction between a lodger and a tenant and the principal differences are described in some detail by the Citizens Advice Bureau – these differences relate principally to the need for the accommodation to be furnished, very restricted rights of lodgers in terms of tenure, and the freedom retained by the landlord to enter the lodger’s rooms at will.

Taking on a lodger also helps the underlying shortage of housing to the extent that the government has introduced a scheme – called Rent a Room – which grants a tax-free allowance on the first £7,500 of profits you make in any one year from renting out a room to a lodger.

Insurance

Because of the distinct nature and type of tenure involved in letting part of your home to a lodger, rather than the entirely self-contained accommodation you let to a tenant, those differences also need to be reflected in the lodgers’ insurance you arrange.

This kind of house insurance for lodgers is designed to protect both the structure and fabric of your home and its contents. Buildings cover is typically available for up to £1 million, for instance, with the total contents sum insured of up to £100,000. 

Because of the special circumstances and risks which may arise when you have a lodger on the premises – items stolen by the lodger, rather than through burglary, for example – lodgers’ house insurance might make a particular point of providing cover for your personal possessions or against the risk of accidental damage to your property.

Even more important than when you are living alone in your home, when a lodger is in residence, public liability cover may prove still more important in protecting you against claims of negligence if a lodger injures him or herself in your home or has their own property damaged – typical cover provides at least £1 million indemnity. 

Lodgers insurance for 5 people

As your experience as a landlord with a lodger progresses – and if there is still space in your home of course – you might also want to ensure that your home insurance for lodgers has provision for more of them. Whilst many lodgers home insurance policies are likely to restrict the maximum number to three, those we arrange here at UKinsuranceNET provide cover for up to five. 

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