Are you letting out a room or providing a home?

SuzanneNoble
4 min readJul 7, 2021

There’s a well worn saying, ‘You can’t have it both ways.’ Never is this more true than when it applies to letting out a room in your home, especially if you are the type of person who would rather they didn’t have to.

Like many older people, I let out a room in my house initially to cover my bills as I couldn’t afford to live in my flat without the additional income. I’d been an Airbnb host for a while, but I got tired of changing sheets and, somewhat reluctantly at first, decided to go for a longer-term solution.

As I quickly learned, when you provide someone with a room for more than a few nights, you’re giving someone a home that comes with accommodating them in ways altogether different than a short term let. If you’re a person who isn’t comfortable with compromise, then it’s unlikely you’re going to enjoy home-sharing in this way. As I’ve lived with others for most of my life, the transition to sharing with one person for a long term was not a massive challenge and turned out to be a lot of fun most of the time.

Depending on the layout out of your home, you may be sharing a bathroom, which is not easy, and I wouldn’t recommend it. Often, it’s unavoidable, especially in cities where very few homes of two bedrooms or less have more than one bathroom. Sharing an intimate space means having to deal with stuff that most of us would prefer not to — hair in the plughole, making room for toiletries, make-up, medicine. There’s negotiating the space — who has the bathroom, for how long and when.

You may find you end up with someone who likes a good soak or a long shower, which may be okay with you, but it’s best to know this before someone moves in with you. Otherwise, it may come as a shock. Whatever rules you’ve set goes both ways. Provide shelf space that’s enough for most people’s toiletries and a rail for a towel or two. It’s not on, in my opinion, to have one rule for yourself and another for the person with whom you’re sharing. There’s no better way to alienate your lodger than lay down laws for which you’re unwilling to follow.

If you’re a person who likes a lot of colour in your home and your lodger is more of the kind of person that would prefer everything was white, then I’d suggest that it’s best to compromise and let them paint the…

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SuzanneNoble

Co-founder of Startup School for Seniors & Nestful. Currently working remotely in the Gran Canaries to escape the UK winter.