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Anyone had a lodger - need advice and top tips

42 replies

foxcub · 28/07/2007 13:21


We have a spare room and need some extra cash so we are thinking of letting the room.

We have three DCs aged 5 months to 7 years and its a lively and noisy household.

The room is very pleasant - double loft room with seperate shower/bathroom and overlooks a peacful back garden etc.

We are thinking about students as I think a young person would feel more comfortable with living in a family with young children. We are thinking of doing the rentaroom scheme to avoid paying tax, so would charge £350 per month, though the market rate here for this type of room is about £400.

Does anyone have any advice or top tips for someone who hasn't done this before: about having a lodger, contracts, the rentaroom scheme etc?

Also - I am a bit worried about what "groundrules" to set, particularly around things like use of phone, use of my computer/internet, and the times I will need to use the kitchen to cook the DCs meals.

Any tips?


OP posts:

DelGirl · 28/07/2007 13:59

I'm just waiting for my 2nd foreign student to arrive/ Whereabouts do you live? are there any language schools nearby.

We have only had one student so far, she left this morning and I feel quite sad. She was only here for 3 weeks, but very nice, a pleasure to have around. She was hardly here though, so maybe that helped. She stayed for 3 weeks, the next one is here for 3 weeks also. If you don't get on, at least you know it's not for long. For these types of students, they are here on holiday as well, she only studied for 15 hours a week, and apart from meals and shower, she was never here. Perfect guest

Can you look into that as so far, I would really recommend . You have to provide breakfast & dinner and lunch at the weekends but thats about it.


DelGirl · 28/07/2007 14:00

rate duting the summer is an average of £100, winter £80/90. You can double up though with twin beds and get just under double rate.


DelGirl · 28/07/2007 14:01

per week that is


foxcub · 28/07/2007 15:15

DelGirl we're in west London and there is a local language school.

When you say "provide" breakfast and dinner - do you mean prepare it all for them and stand by asking "more toast?" or is it Ok just to put cereal etc out for them so they can help themselves. I just can't imagine myself having time during term time to prepare an extra brekkie.

Also what kind of evening meals do you provide and at what time? Again, its juggling in with kids etc

OP posts:

ivykaty44 · 28/07/2007 15:30


No you don't "wait" on them. I have a Spanish student at the moment and in the morning I put out all the breakfast things - toaster, butter jams, cereal and milk and she helps herself. I have had a few student as well as a lodger in the past.

All the students have been happy to help themsleves to breakfast and in the evening I just cook as I normally do but obviously cook extra for the student.

When the school visit they usually ask if you are prepared to take vegaterians - I always say i would rather not. I do though ask when they arrive if there is any food they don't like. My spanish student can't eat eggs, I had two french students and one didn't like butter or yogurt. Usually though they seem to eat everything put in front of them.

Having students is nice as after three weeks or so they go home and you get a break before taking in more, if one gets on your nerves a bit you know it isn't for ever. With a lodger you get a regular income but they are always there.


ivykaty44 · 28/07/2007 15:32

Also with students it is nice for the children to meet people from other cultures, my two dd have always enjoyed them staying. One french student has stayed in regullar contact with my dd on msn and we are trying to arrange another private holiday swap.

I have had Japanese students and they have always cooked us dinner aswell, something traditional - rather good.


itwasntme · 28/07/2007 15:40

Foxcub, get in touch with the local language school, they will tell you the criteria they have for host families. Alternatively, look for homestay agencies ... even if there are none in your area, they work all over London. They usually advertise in local papers.

I worked in language schools organising accommodation for students with families, and it is absolutely not necessary to prepare all meals for them, though most include breakfast, which can be just left out for them.

If you want to provide dinner, you can also put yourself down for this option, but is by no means necessary and most students IME do not choose this option.

Now is the peak season for language schools, and I can guarantee that you will be inundated with offers if you start now! We could never find enough families!

BTW, don't limit yourself to local language schools... schools in Central London place students with families all over London. Look at the British council website for lists.

Depending on where you are (zone 3 or zone 4) you should get paid at least £100 per week.


DelGirl · 28/07/2007 16:10

My student just helped herself, she didn't have an enormous appetite thankfully. If I had a 'greedy' one I may keep an eye out . I cooked what I would have done anyway but did ask her her likes/dislikes. Even if she didn't like something she still eat it though and told me after if she didn't like it (if I asked). She cooked us lunch yesterday, it was lovely. She was full board but she prepared her own lunch too, just a sandwich, fruit & crips. She was a 'mature' student 23. The next one is 25. I will stick with older ones I think.


DelGirl · 28/07/2007 16:13

I've just emailed her to insist she comes and stays as a (non-paying) guest next time so she can see more of the country. With this awful weather we've had, she didn't see it at it's best.

The other good thing with it, is if you don't want a student or have a busy time you don't have to have one. I shan't have another after this one until possibly October as i'm away a fair bit. I was only considering doing it for a few weeks but after the 1st experience I may well do it for longer.


kiwibella · 28/07/2007 16:20

Hi Foxy... we have had a paying foreign student before too (at home in NZ) and it was rewarding for our family. Just like all the other stories, she mucked in and helped herself as and when.

These seem like short schemes so it might not be an issue but our girl was a school student who stayed about 18 months (going home for the summer). Apart from the school contacts, we never knew that she had a sponsor too - who came to sort her out after a couple nights of staying out and not letting us know where she was.


DrNortherner · 28/07/2007 16:24

Hi there. We habe our first Spanish student staying with us atm, she has 1 week left. WE get £98 a week. We give her brekkie (she gets her own cereal or toast) packed lunch on a weekend and dinner every night. I have done a bit of washing and ironing for her as she is only 16

She is a pleasure to have here. So polite and respectful, she has a boyfriend who comes round and they both adore my ds.

She is hardly ever here. Goes out at 8.30am to college, finish college at 3.15pm but her and her mates wander around town, she comes home for dinner at 6pm then goes out again and is home for midnight.

Easy money


divastrop · 28/07/2007 18:07

my mum had a student staying for the summer when i was about 3.i think she was spanish,i dont remember that much but i know she was nice and it didnt feel strange to me having somebody else in our house.i dont know why she was there,i think it was somkething to do with the church.

anyway,just thought i'd share that with you.sound
s like the perfect solution.


divastrop · 28/07/2007 18:08

oops,the kitten jumped on the keyboard just before i posted that


IlanaK · 28/07/2007 18:18

We have lodgers in our spare room. We use a company called Doctor in the House. They place doctors who are coming into London for courses at Royak Colleges and also in hospitals. We have been doing it since January and it has been really good. We get £27 a night and have to provide breakfast, but I just have to bring them a tray with cereal , toast, juice, on it. They are rarely here as they are on a course all day and then often go out to dinner.

We have two boys aged 3 and 6 which I thought might be a problem, but the only question they asked about hem was if they slept at night (which they do) so they would not be disturbing the doctors.


foxcub · 28/07/2007 22:31

Ilana/itwasn't me - it sounds very good - do you have any specific contacts/websites we can advertise on?

The local language school advertised in the local paper and a I called them. When I said the room has its own bathroom they got very excited and said rooms with ensuite are at a premium etc but then they never even bothered to call us back!! . That put me off a bit.

What about groundrules - any tips as to what is/isn't important.

Diva I like your story

OP posts:

spongecake · 28/07/2007 22:45

where are you foxy? i have a nunber of lovely young french chefs looking for a room with a family. they are always at work, speak english as well, and are excellent cooks at a fine dining restuarant! they are used to living with family as they are just out of catering college.


mummylin2495 · 28/07/2007 22:48

i also have just had some students for 11 days,they have now gone but i have two more in the morning,over the years i have made some lovely friends,we email a lot.I had a finnish boy about 4 yrs ago who came to visit us privately last November and i also this week had an email from a young German who has been here twice if he can " live by you " next summer ! i am not saying they are all perfect but as a previous poster said they are not here for long. The school i use have students for eleven,seven and five days so its not too long for them to get under your skin.My students are usually about 16 when they first come here and I have found that if you treat them as you would like your own son/daughter to be treated,its a great way to earn extra income and make new friends.


foxcub · 28/07/2007 22:49

Hi sponge - we are in Kew Gardens (well not literally...). We are on the District Line, Silverlink and also the waterloo-Richmond main line.

Would I have to cook my fish fingers in secret though - lest they laugh at me?

OP posts:

mummylin2495 · 28/07/2007 22:59

My students have full days arranged by their school so when they come home for their evening meal they are only here for about an hour and a half,and my dh isnt home when they eat so if it was a similar situation for you ,you can happily cook your fish fingers a bit later !


spongecake · 28/07/2007 23:05

ooh, its a bit far for them, but i will try and remember if anyone takes a fancy to working in london, and let you know. don;t worry, i still hide chips in my freezer and pretend someone put them there when i was out

why don;t you contact virgin or BA? you are ideally placed for LHR and a pilot or hostie ! never there and when they are, they sleep. perfect! and they are already checked and have a responsible career. my friends husband is a long haul pilot for ba, shall i email her? the pilots are often looking for a room they can keep near there and go to when they are tired (one pilot, not lots!)


foxcub · 29/07/2007 16:17

Sponge - yes would be very interested in tired Pilots!!

Any other tips/contacts/suggestions very welcome too!

OP posts:

foxcub · 29/07/2007 22:00


OP posts:

foxcub · 30/07/2007 12:52


Do I need to provide a desk for students to work on in their room? Any other things I need to provide? Thanks

OP posts:

mummylin2495 · 30/07/2007 13:21

i have found that my students just lie on their beds or will come down in the dining room and do any work on there.But mine dont get a lot to do.I suppose it would depend what students you had.If you had college students i guess they would need a desk ,but foreign students no.


DrNortherner · 31/07/2007 08:53

Well I got my student fom our local language academy and they come and inspect th room and give you a list of what is needed, which is:

Bed (ovbiosly!)
bedside table
Good lighting

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