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How to earn an extra £7,500 this year

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Are you a homeowner with an empty spare bedroom that’s slowly gathering dust? Are you just using it as a place to store your overflowing wardrobe/record collection/old uni books?

While we appreciate it’s hard to say no to extra storage and a bed for guests, would you say no to £7,500 of tax-free cash? We’re guessing not… according to new research UK workers would ideally need a £7,200 pay rise for a comfortable life.

Thankfully we’re not suggesting you go and ask your boss for a rise - you could earn up to £7,500 a year (tax free) just by taking in a lodger to occupy your extra space. The Government’s Rent a Room scheme boosted the tax-free allowance back in 2016, following SpareRoom’s successful six year Raise the Roof campaign. The rule applies whether you’re in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Fancy it? Here’s how to get started.

Where can I find a lodger?

Right here, obviously. SpareRoom has almost 90,000 live ads right now, which means a HUGE pool of potential lodgers to choose from. We also have a number of advert features to suit your needs – whether you’re looking for a Monday-Friday tenant, a short term guest or want someone for a year or more.

What kind of person should I look for?

It might be tempting to offer your spare room to a friend, but this should be approached with caution – if things don’t work out as flatmates you’re in danger of losing them for good. Living with someone is a different relationship to being their friend, and being flatmates can reveal less flattering traits of their personality. And there’s nothing like a dispute over taking the bins out to kill a friendship…

Living with a stranger, on the other hand, gives you a chance to get to know someone new – and set those flatmate boundaries as you get to know each other. This can often make for a more harmonious and understanding relationship, as you’re both starting from scratch and working out the best ways to get along.

But don’t just take our word for it – 59% of SpareRoom users we asked decided that strangers (or friends of friends) make better flatmates too.

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How much should I charge?

This is one of the most common concerns – and depends on a number of things. The location, type of property and condition will all affect what your room is worth and how much you should charge.

Do your research and find out what other people in your area are charging on SpareRoom. This will give you an idea of average rents for something similar, and let you work out what’s the fairest price to charge a lodger. Don’t forget to work out the cost of bills, and decide if the rent will include this too.

What are the benefits?

Aside from the obvious (extra money), there are loads of great things about taking in a lodger. We’re passionate in the belief that life is better shared – and taking in a lodger that you really gel with can give you a friend for life too. Over the years at SpareRoom we’ve seen it all – from lodgers and landlords ending up married, or overseas lodgers teaching their flatmate a new language.

And let’s face it, they’ll probably be better company than the books you were keeping in the spare room anyway…

Want to find the perfect lodger for your spare bedroom? It all starts by placing an ad. Good luck!

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