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Blog: Would you let your spare room?

Renting out a spare room can help you pay your bills. But would you feel comfortable letting someone move into your home to earn some extra cash?

A rental agreement

As a homeowner, I find making sure I keep up with my mortgage repayments and paying essential bills often leaves little cash to spend on myself.

This is why so many Brits, like myself, have become landlords by renting out a spare bedroom to give themselves more financial breathing space.

After moving into a two-bedroom flat eight years ago, I soon found my spare room was being used to store books, sports gear and not a lot else.

So, getting someone to occupy that space and help me with my financial commitments seemed a sensible option.

Becoming a live-in landlord

The process was easier than I thought it would be, thanks to the government's Rent-a-Room Scheme.

This lets you earn up to £4,250 per year tax-free from letting out furnished accommodation in your home.

However, to qualify you must live in the property with the tenant for at least part of the time.

Now, finding someone interested in my spare room was straightforward, with a former work colleague looking for a place at the time.

Learning to share your home

We agreed a monthly rent and didn't even bother putting together a contract such was the relaxed nature of the arrangement.

However, being a fairly reclusive person, I soon found sharing parts of my home which I'd previously had exclusive rights over, a harder task than I'd imagined.

My lodger and I had separate bathrooms, but sharing the kitchen and living room brought tense periods, as we battled for TV time and oven space on a regular basis.

But she was someone I knew relatively well and the thought of letting a complete stranger move in would have been a step too far for me.

More older people renting out rooms

However, it seems many Brits are willing to take this risk, and not just young professionals like myself.

According to a new survey by More Than home insurance, one in seven pensioners are considering renting out rooms to make ends meet.

Spokesman Matthew Poll said: "After years of working, being forced to become a landlord after retiring is far from an ideal situation.

"But it's clear that many people are considering this to provide additional financial support."

Monday to Friday lets

Lodging service Monday to Friday allows homeowners to advertise a spare bedroom for rent during the working week, leaving it free for the weekend.

Hand putting house key in lockInterest in this service has risen 12 per cent in the past year, according to the firm.

Some 52 per cent of those surveyed by the company saying they couldn't cope financially without a lodger.

Site founder, Judy Niner, said: "We are finding that all sorts of people are looking to rent out their spare room.

"Younger people who find themselves financially stretched after getting a mortgage, people whose marriages have broken up, and older people looking to supplement their pensions."

Two's company, three's a crowd

Having a bit of company appeals to many people renting out a room in their home, and I did find it nice to have someone new to talk to.

But regular visits by my lodger's boyfriend began to irritate me and meant there was an extra person I had to share my apartment with.

Unfortunately my experience as a live-in landlord didn't work out, with my lodger moving out after just six months.

And the rediscovered freedom of having the whole flat to myself again put me off getting a new lodger in.

What do you think?

Overall, I wouldn't advise people against renting out their spare rooms, and the extra money in my bank account was certainly welcome.

But for me peace of mind in my home was more important than pounds in my pocket.

Would you, or do you, rent out your spare room and, if so, why? 

We want to hear from you! You can share your views on the message board below.

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Alex Cinus

Alex Cinus

Alex Cinus is a reporter at Confused.com. He started out writing for newspapers in Monmouthshire and Newport before moving to Italy to teach English. After four years in Sardinia he joined the team at Confused.com.

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