Sharing and Lodger Schemes
Twoâ€™s Company Frequently Asked Questions
Sharing Scheme The sharing scheme was introduced in June 2012. This new initiative is to help provide single people with affordable housing. • Who would qualify? The scheme is aimed at friends/relatives who are not in a cohabitating relationship being offered a two bedroom property. • What sort of tenancy would be offered? If you are a new applicant to New Charter you would be given a Joint Assured Shorthold Tenancy for as long as you are sharing. Sharers would have separate use and responsibility of a bedroom, agreed between them. The rest of the property such as living room, kitchen, bathroom, hall, stairs and landing are shared between you both. If you are already a New Charter tenant, you may be offered a different tenancy, please contact your Neighbourhood Co-ordinator for more information. • Who would be responsible for the rent? As this is a joint tenancy, each sharer will be jointly responsible for the payment of the rent. It would be the sharer’s responsibility to apply for Housing Benefit. • What would happen if one person ends the tenancy? If one sharer leaves the home, the remaining sharer will take on responsibility for the whole property until a new sharer is found, they will also be responsible to pay the entire rent. It will be the remaining sharer’s responsibility to find a replacement sharer. If no new sharer is found within three months, this may lead to the tenancy ending, but we will discuss this with you should it happen.
Taking in a Lodger • Who is classed as a lodger? Anybody who is not a dependant of the tenant of the property, for example a partner or a child would not be classed as a lodger. • Do I find my own lodger? Yes! New Charter would encourage you to perhaps offer your spare bedroom to known friends or extended family. • Should I do a background check on my lodger? It would be a good idea to do a background check on your lodger for your own safety and security as they will be sharing your home. This could be getting a reference from their previous landlord. You may also want to check they will be able to afford their rent. Please remember each person is different, so it will be up to you to decide the amount of checks you carry out. • Do I have to inform New Charter that I have taken in a lodger? Yes. We have a notification form for you to complete so our records are up to date, this can be found in our Fact Pack. Once completed, please return to any New Charter Hub or your Neighbourhood Co-ordinator. • How much should I charge my lodger? What you decide to charge your lodger will depend on what facilities you provide for them. To give yourself an idea, there are links at the end of this guide you may wish to refer to. You could also look up what other people charge in your area. • Will I have to pay income tax on the income I receive from my lodger? If the income you receive from having a lodger exceeds a certain amount known as a threshold, then you may be liable to pay income tax. We would advise you to get independent advice about these tax implications. • Would taking in a lodger affect my benefits? Possibly, however each case is individual. Sometimes having a lodger can top up your income and may enable you to afford the shortfall in rent once the Bedroom Tax is introduced in April 2013. However, if you do make the decision to take a lodger in, you will need to inform your local benefits agency straight away, as this may have an effect on the amount of benefits you are entitled to. If you don’t tell them, you could end up having to repay an overpayment. For further advice we would advise you to get independent advice from organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) or Welfare Rights. • If my lodger left how would this affect my benefits? You may be liable for the Bedroom Tax if you are on Housing Benefit, as you would have to meet the shortfall in the rent due to New Charter. • Will my council tax increase? If you claim single occupants discount for council tax, you may no longer be eligible for this if you take in a lodger. We would advise you to obtain independent advice about the implications.
• Will having a lodger affect my Home Insurance? If you have a home insurance policy, you must contact your provider to make sure you are still covered and inform your lodger if they need to take out their own insurance. • What would I have to provide for the lodger? This would be your choice. You could either charge an amount for the bedroom only where you would provide the usual bedroom furniture, or you could include the cost of the household bills in with the rent you wish to charge. You may want to include meals, however the choice is yours to make. A lodger must have access to other communal areas such as the kitchen and bathroom. Also you would need to ensure your home is safe and fireproof. See the website link at the end of this guide. • If my lodger damages my property, who is responsible? You as the tenant still have full responsibility for your home and tenancy, so you would be liable. • If my lodger causes Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB), who is responsible? As the tenant, you will still remain responsible for the behaviour of your lodger or any visitor to your property. Any action taken by New Charter would be against you as our tenant. • What happens if I decide I no longer want my lodger to stay? The responsibility lies with yourself to end the arrangement, giving your lodger a reasonable time to leave and we would suggest 28 days. When you take in a lodger it is advisable to write up a licence that you both sign and agree to the conditions of. To give yourself an idea, there are links at the end of this guide you may wish to refer to. • If my lodger doesn’t pay their rent to me? You are responsible for the collection of rent from your lodger, if they don’t pay, you will have to make the decision as to whether to allow them to continue to stay or not. Look in our Fact Pack for some do’s and don’ts ideas. • What happens to my lodger if I decide to end my tenancy? Your lodger has no rights to the tenancy or to remain in the property and they would have to vacate the premises when you do.
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How will the money I receive from my lodger affect my other benefits before and after Universal Credit? • Before Universal Credit If you have a lodger after the Under Occupancy Charge comes into force on 1 April 2013, their bedroom will be classed as occupied. As long as all the bedrooms in your property are occupied on a permanent basis, you will not be classed as under occupying your property and will not be affected by the charge. However, the rent you received from your lodger may affect benefit entitlement. The first £20 of rent received from lodgers is disregarded when calculating housing benefit entitlement. • After Universal Credit If you have a lodger after you have moved over onto Universal Credit, their bedroom will not be classed as occupied under the Under Occupancy Charge rules. This means that you will be classed as under occupying your property and will be affected by the Under Occupancy Charge. However, the rent you receive from the lodger will help you pay the charge and any excess rent you receive over and above the charge will not reduce your benefit entitlement. If you require any further information or advice regarding taking in a lodger and whether it is the right thing for you, please contact a member of staff at any one of our New Charter Hubs, or on 0161 331 2000.
Useful websites www.england.shelter.org.uk www.spareroom.co.uk www.lodgers.com www.dwp.gov.uk www.tameside.gov.uk www.newcharter.co.uk www.gov.uk
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Resource Housing Reg. No. 2111