If you’re looking at improving your income, one option is to start renting rooms out. I must have been about 7 when I first realised I wasn’t related to the young people sat around the dinner table. These same young people whom, a few weeks before had landed on our doorstep, suitcase in hand, sobbing for Mum. We to all intents and purposes became their new “host” family. Hosting international students is one way to rent out your spare room.
The Governments Rent-a-Room scheme allows you to earn up to £7,500 in tax-free income by renting out a room in your home. That’s £625 per month. You can charge more, but then you would not be eligible for the scheme and have to pay tax. The prices do depend on where you live. For example, if you live in London, you can receive £625 per month, in Essex, a double room is £600 per month.
Where to find suitable candidates
If you want to rent a room to an international student, then contact the local language schools and colleges in your area. Anything within 30 minutes travelling time is best. The majority of students don’t get out bed if they can help it, so the nearer they are, the more time they have to sleep. Drop each college, school or university an email. They may already have placement schemes, but it’s always worth emailing to ask. If they don’t, they can always point you in the right direction.
What to expect as a landlord
An inspection tends to take place before you get accepted as a host family. A representative will visit you at home and will check the room. They expect a bed, wardrobe and curtains in all cases and will ask to see any insurances you have. This is to cover you against any eventualities that may arise. The discussion takes the form of an informal interview where they explain what to expect. They do like your house to be clean and well-presented, so make sure you scrub that bathroom from top to bottom. Nothing says you care as much as a big fluffy towel and clean toilet bowl. Make a good impression.
Cooking or Not?
This tends to vary from institution to institution. Some want half-board, and others need a packed lunch. You might even find that the students prefer cooking and making their own meals. Do what you feel is appropriate. We had times where the students would buy takeaways and other times they’d go, round friends. Do what you think is right for you and your guest.
Bills? Wifi? Phone?
Everyone seems to live online so it’s a given that you will have wifi available in your house for guests. These days pretty much everything is online from calling parents to working. So there’s no need to give them access to the home phone any more. One more person sharing the household net doesn’t add anything extra to the bill.
Electricity, gas and water though need paying for, so make sure you are on the cheapest tariff for them all. Set boundaries on usage. You don’t want a student taking two-hour showers every day or gaming until 3 am. Your house, your rules.
Laundry can cost quite a chunk of your rent so state exactly how many times per week you will provide it. Don’t deviate. No one wants to be still washing clothes late on a Sunday night because someone forgot to put them in the basket.
Is it worth it?
Of course! Not only financially but emotionally too. As I grew up with students coming and going, it made me more culturally aware. I got;
- My love of German Gingerbread and Danish Butter Biscuits from Amin David from Austria
- “Dave” my teddy from Joanne from Chichester
- My inane hate of tank tops from Maria from Italy and
- The love of misshapen chocolate from Suzanne Pepperell. Who worked part-time for Cadbury and whose father was a Corporal in the British Army. It’s the little things you remember.
Every single one of those students touched a part of my life growing up. They shaped my young mind and made it possible for my family to thrive when we had nothing. I am forever thankful. Although Omar (who worked for the King of Saudi Arabia) – I still don’t like silly jokes!
Love this? Pin It!