It’s not only buy-to-let landlords who get to make a fortune from renters, as the government is about to relax the tax threshold on the amount you can earn from getting a lodger in under your own roof.
- From 6 April 2016 the tax free allowance for a lodger increases from £4,250 per annum to £7,500 meaning that any household with a spare room or three can benefit from some extra income.
Given that information from the Office of National Statistics suggests that there are approximately 16.1 million empty bedrooms in the United Kingdom, it’s a wonder that more property owners don’t try to use these unloved spaces to make a bit of extra income.
- There were 16.1 million households with at least one spare bedroom and out of these 8.1 million had two or more spare bedrooms.
Why don’t people make more use of these profitable spaces that are right under their noses?
Sometimes the effort required to clear out and declutter that spare bedroom is just too much. The spare room can be a monster that homeowners would like to close the door on and forget about, if only the monster in the room wasn’t spilling out so far that it’s impossible close the door!
Spare bedrooms in the UK fall into 3 categories:
- Genuine functional spare room. Contains a wardrobe, chest of drawers and a double bed for use when family occasionally visit. Obviously the wardrobe in this room is supposed to be ‘spare’ but it does contain at least 14 pairs of shoes and the winter coats. This is also the room in the house most likely to contain fluffy animals as though any relative visiting will be made to feel more at home by the sight of a couple of teddy bears. Of course the question the homeowner with this type of spare room should be asking themselves is: ‘Do we really want the in-laws coming to stay for the weekend?’
- Home gym. Really, don’t make us laugh. That Cross Trainer being substituted as a clothes horse or the weights that are currently being used as a door stop aren’t really constituting much to your fitness drive are they? That cycle machine with half an inch of dust on the saddle has seen less use than Sir Bradley Wiggins’ sideburn trimmers. The only things that ever break into a sweat in this spare room are the homeowners when they have to think about clearing it out.
- The junk room. We love this spare room. Full of the detritus of years of non-conformist storage. Don’t put that box in the loft: throw it into the spare room. The snooker cue that hasn’t seen a baize since Steve Davis was last World Champion. The two sets of golf clubs (all golfers have more than 1 set) that have been standing next to the broken hoover that you ‘really’ are going to look at one day. Why bother to take that unused trouser press to the dump when it can be used as a hanger for that three piece suit that last fitted in 2006. Somewhere in the junk spare room is a spare double bed that hasn’t seen any use since Thomas went off the University 10 years ago – well that’s if he did go. He might still be hidden in the bed underneath a decade’s worth of unwanted Christmas presents and last week’s yet to be ironed laundry.
What do homeowners need to do to take advantage of this lodger scheme?
The property must remain your main home and you must stay there for at least some of the time – so no; you can’t get a houseful of lodgers and move to the Bahamas. Surprisingly the government claims that this scheme is also available to those renting in the private sector as apparently; ‘your landlord cannot stop you subletting on a short term basis’ – we are not sure that this information from the government is correct, so best to check you tenancy agreement first.
Obviously before the homeowner gets to this stage they might need to declutter the room and that’s where your local self storage company comes in. Go through the spare room and see which items you really want to keep. It might be bits and pieces that may have no monetary value but are special and can’t be replaced. Buy a couple of good quality boxes online or use a company who will drop a box off to you and then collect and store safely for you. Anything that you truly don’t need send to the charity shop or the dump. Make space and declutter that spare room for you perfect, profitable lodger!