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Taking in a lodger #1 - Who makes the best lodgers?

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As promised, here’s the first post in a series aimed at anyone thinking of taking in a lodger. There’s plenty more info and advice to follow but you’ve got to start somewhere so we started with a question:

Who makes the best lodgers?

Something that causes great debate between our users (and us at SpareRoom) is whether existing friends or strangers make the best lodgers or flatmates. On the surface it seems like the answer would be obvious, but in fact it’s not so straightforward. Of course, existing friends can make fantastic flatmates, but this should be approached with caution because there’s a danger of losing them if things don’t work out.

The trouble is that living with someone is a wholly different kind of relationship. When friends fall out it tends to be over the important things in life, but in a household it’s more likely to be relatively trivial things (that in an ideal world no one would ever fall out about). Things like who last bought toilet paper and the maximum time washing up should be left for. Some of us have experienced moving in with partners only to have the honeymoon period brought to an abrupt end once the bickering over domestic chores starts!

The other issue is that, if you know someone well and are very comfortable with them, you’re more likely to take things for granted and abuse the situation – often unintentionally. If, for instance, your friend is struggling for money one month, he or she might think that (out of the people they owe money to) you’re the one who would mind least hanging on. Because they’re your friend you might not feel comfortable saying ‘actually I really do need the rent on time this month because I’ve got to pay the mortgage’.

Out of 100s we polled, only 28% said existing friends make the best flatmates. Most felt that strangers were better, mainly because they’re more likely to know where the boundaries are and it makes it easier to establish ground rules from the outset.

Of course some friends end up living together and loving it so don’t be put off by any of this – all we ask is that you consider the options first as the great thing about taking in lodgers is there are plenty of options.

If you’re considering advertising for a lodger, the next post will try to answer the question almost everyone asks: “How do I know who I’m taking in?”.



Taking in a lodger series starts next week


How to de-clutter and rent out your spare room


How to rent a room part 2


How to advertise for a flatmate part 7 - Speed Flatmating & viewings