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Homelink lodgings

Did you know that both homeowners and tenants can rent a room in their property? You could help reduce homelessness in east London and earn 4,250 tax-free per year.

"I started to rent out a room to a lodger in my two bedroom flat, getting some extra income. I was a bit worried at first, but now I find it actually really nice to have someone around in the house." 

- Tim, public sector worker.

You can find out more about how Homelink worked by reading the information below.

Homelink is a charitable project that has linked lodgers with spare rooms. We have helped tenants and home owners to access:
  • reliable lodgers
  • tax-free rental income
  • a guarantee to cover arrears or damages
  • free support and advice

Why take a lodger?
Renting out a room in your home can be a great way to boost your income. Under the government's 'Rent a Room' scheme, you can earn up to 4,250 per year tax free. People also take in lodgers because it is secure and sociable with someone else living in the property.

"I have offered rooms in my home to people over many years. As well as the obvious financial benefit, I've enjoyed the diversity & company of people sharing my home. We were never in each other's pocket." - Ross, private tenant.

How am I protected?
A written lodging agreement signed by you and the lodger ensures that all parties are clear about the rent and any other arrangements. We provide sample lodging agreements free of charge and will help you adapt the terms and conditions as necessary. Homelink also provides a written bond guarantee, providing cover for you as a deposit would.

Is it just for homeowners, or can anyone rent out a spare room?
Councils and housing associations also often allow their tenants to take in a lodger. If you rent privately, this might be the case too. In order to find out, simply check your tenancy agreement. We recommend contacting your landlord also, just to make sure you won't breach your contract.

Homeowners will need to check with their mortgage lender and leaseholder about permission to rent out a room.

How does it work with housing benefit?
Lodgers can claim housing benefit. Homelink supports the set up of housing benefit claims and can arrange for the lodger's housing benefit to be paid directly to the landlord, in most cases. We have strong links with local housing benefit offices, helping us to ensure claims are processed speedily and any queries resolved swiftly.

You might be affected if you are receiving benefits or a single-person council tax discount, but you may still be able to earn extra income by renting out a room.

Reliable lodgers
The people we support to access housing are carefully assessed and reference checked. People are supported to prepare for lodging and only those who want the benefit of living in a home and are appropriate will be suggested to you as potential lodgers.

Ongoing support
Once your lodger has moved in, Homelink continues to offer two-way support to you and your lodger for 12 months, during which you will receive a personal service from our dedicated team. We'll help to make sure the experience is smooth and trouble-free for both parties.

What next
If you want to talk things over with us, please don't hesitate to get in touch. We are happy to answer any questions, explain more about how we work and arrange to meet with you to view your spare room to assess its suitability. 

Download our comprehensive Lodging Information Pack, which is available to serve as an example of our materials. The contact details contained within the pack are not live. 

Our Homelink service was closed in 2013 but we are continuing to explore ways that we can support people into housing, including partnerships with other organisations. If you'd like to know more about this or think that your organisation could work with us, please contact Ramona Doherty by email
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