Homes with Income

PUBLISHED: 13:57 21 June 2008 | UPDATED: 15:17 20 February 2013

Illustration by Peter Daly

Illustration by Peter Daly

Spare room? Inviting tenants into your home can provide companionship - and tax breaks. Handled correctly, this can be an income-boosting way of providing a good home for your tenant and making the most of the space you have available. So advantag...

Making sure that a home is the right size for its occupants can be tricky. The trouble is not the house itself, but the changing number of family members who choose to live in it at any particular time, and the changing use they make of the home. A young family will naturally need bedrooms for each child, space to house all the toys, hobbies, equipment and the assorted possessions that go with family life. Home-based workers need office space; dogs and children and keen gardeners want outdoor space. For much of the time, the bigger a house is, the better for everyone concerned.

Then the years pass, the fledglings fly the nest and all that space can become a little too empty. The choice at that point seems clear enough - learn to enjoy the space and tranquillity, or sell up and move to something smaller. This is a momentous decision, especially if it concerns a much-loved family home. Yet there is another option, and it is one the taxman smiles upon.

The taxman looks favourably upon anyone who rents out a room in their main home. Subject to certain conditions, highlighted in the Rent a Room scheme, up to £4,250 in rent can be received tax-free when you rent a furnished room to a tenant living in your home. To qualify for the Rent a Room scheme, the property must be your main residence and you must share the main living areas, such as kitchens and bathrooms, with the lodger.

A good income can be generated, as well as good relationships for mutual benefit, with the new occupant adding to the sense of security and 'life' in the home.

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