A Landlord’s Guide to WeekDay Renting

Introduction

Renting your spare room to a WeekDay lodger is a great way to make a bit of extra money. In fact, the advantages are more than just financial. Sharing your home Monday to Friday with a lodger is not rocket science, but it does take some preparation.

We have put together this step-by-step guide to help you get started as a WeekDay landlord. We hope you find it useful. Don’t forget we are more than happy to answer any questions you may still have after reading this guide, just visit https://weekdayspace.com.au/contact-us/

Why are you looking to rent to a WeekDay lodger?

For many people it’s the extra income which can make a huge difference to the monthly budget, but this is not always the only reason. Some people want the company and security that having someone else in the house offers, others love the social aspect and making new connections.

Take a moment to think about what sort of person you want to share your home with before you do anything else as this will help you write your WeekDay listing and ensure you get a good match!

What the key factors to getting a lodger for my property?

The key factors are location, price and flexibility. Weekday lodgers want to stay near their workplace or place of study during the week. High demand areas are a short, easy commute to a work hub or place of study (by foot, car or public transport). You also need to be flexible and competitive with your pricing – this is a part time rental not full time. We have a make an offer messaging feature so that lodgers can advise you of their budget and also the nights they require. Our successful landlords appreciate they still get to enjoy their space on the weekends, have a regular income stream and don’t have the cleaning and hassle of nightly stays.

Things to do before you advertise

Depending on your situation, it is likely that you will need to attend to a few things before renting out your spare room:

  • Your home insurance policy will probably not cover taking in a lodger, so you will need to review your policy and if necessary, have it amended.
  • If you are a tenant at your property, you must have the agreement of your landlord to take in a lodger.
  • Check the relevant landlord responsibilities for your state – listed at the end of this guide

Charging rent for your room

Try our pricing guide to find out the average cost of a weekday rental based on your postcode.

It helps to compare your property to other properties in the vicinity – look for room size, facilities and amenities available nearby. Be realistic in setting the price, as there may be competition for the best lodgers. Most importantly, remember that you are advertising your room for only a portion of the week, so you need to adjust the rental level accordingly. You should be looking to charge around 5/7ths or 70% of what you would charge to rent your room full time.

For example:  If the weekly rent for a 2-bedroom apartment is $500 you may look at charging $175 for a room being rented Monday to Friday ($500/2 x 0.70). Obviously, this would be proportionately calculated if it was only 3 nights a week or a more premium rate for a short-term arrangement, or if there were added facilities for that room.

Preparing your property for a WeekDay lodger

So, you have decided to let your spare room and you have made the necessary preparations such as organising home insurance etc. You are now ready to place your listing. To make sure your property is attractive to a WeekDay lodger it should be clean, pleasant and fit for purpose. Try to develop an eye for the things that a lodger would be looking for as they search. This section is designed to help you get a tick in every box on any lodger’s mental checklist.

The spare room

A WeekDay lodger is a different sort of person to a typical lodger and has slightly different requirements. Anticipating and meeting these requirements will get you off to a head start, for example:

  • This is someone who lives a long way from where you live (too far to commute). They probably have their own home and life there, and are not seeking to establish themselves in your area.
  • Time is likely to be at a premium for them. They will spend a lot of time working (maybe in the evening too), travelling, and keeping in touch with loved ones.
  • Your lodger will effectively be treating your home like a hotel!
  • They will be looking for things like a comfortable clean bed, and a hot (accessible) shower.
  • The room should be furnished, and it should be furnished when you show them around.

In your spare room it’s a good idea to provide the following

  • Bed, dresser, wardrobe.
  • Bedside table with reading light.
  • Check with any potential lodger if they need anything else in the room (such as a desk). This shows flexibility and is sure to impress. If you have advertised the room with internet access, check this works.

If you agree to provide clean bedding and towels, then do so on a weekly basis. Decor should be neutral, white or beige. A freshly painted room gives a better impression. Carpets and curtains should be clean and again, neutral.

Check that any air conditioning/heating/fans work correctly – can they be turned off or down? Ensure that windows open and close securely. Make sure the bedroom door closes completely and easily. Don’t forget to check that there are working bulbs in all the lights!

Tips for a great listing

1. Take photos of the rooms that your lodger will be spending time in and that give a good overall vibe of the place. Hot tip: Make sure the photos are taken in landscape rather than portrait so they appear in the correct orientation.
2. Declutter – a few nice soft furnishings or plants can make a big difference, but remove any personal items from their room and make sure there aren’t any random items on the floor or surfaces – it should look exactly as it would when they come to inspect it.
3. Let there be light – open the curtains, turn on the lights (including lamps). Photos are best taken in morning or afternoon light. You may wish to pump up the brightness of your photos using many of the handy Apps available on desktop/phone.
4. Highlight any local amenities your lodger might find attractive such as closest transport, cafes, restaurants, gyms etc

**Note on image sizing and orientation – each image on your listing should be no larger than 1MB – if you take them on your phone make sure they are in landscape orientation. By emailing them to yourself  you can select “medium” image size and this will ensure they are sized correctly for upload**

Vetting prospective lodgers

Having registered and placed a listing, you should soon be getting emails from interested would-be lodgers. Alternatively, you may wish to contact someone who has a lodger listing.

Before you meet

Following the initial email contact, it’s a good idea to talk to the person on the phone. If you find you have a lot of questions, then maybe ask them if they wouldn’t mind filling in a quick questionnaire.

The viewing

All being well, the lodger will be eager to see the room. For handy hints and tips on what to consider when meeting a potential lodger please download our Checklist for meeting a potential weekday lodger. The viewing provides the all-important face-to-face meeting where you can gain an impression of the person and whether you are likely to get on. Arrange a viewing in daylight hours, preferably with a friend/relative present. Not only is this safer, but your prospective lodger will be able to gain a more complete impression of your property when it’s not dark. Your friend/relative can help with the assessment of the prospective lodger.

Reference checks

If you feel that you can offer the room to the candidate, then the next step is to check out their background. It’s professional and responsible to undertake external checks such as an employer reference and referee check.

Contact information

Ensure you have the right contact information, such as phone numbers (work and mobile), personal and work email, home and work postal address and details of next of kin.

The Landlord-lodger agreement

The landlord-lodger agreement is a document which sets out the “house rules” as well as important information such as emergency contact numbers and the details of the financial arrangements you have agreed upon. It is incumbent on you to produce a landlord-lodger agreement for a lodger and ensure that both parties sign it. You should be able to reuse agreements with little modification, from lodger to lodger.

Where do I find a tenancy agreement template that I can use for my new WeekDay lodger?

You can find a tenancy agreement and other forms and relevant information for landlords on your state regulatory body website:

NSW Fair Trading – Completing a Tenancy Agreement and checklist for landlords 

Queensland Residential tenancies authority – General tenancy agreement 

Consumer Affairs Victoria – Tenancy agreement for rented premises

WA Tenancy Agreement Residential tenancy agreement

Tasmania Consumer Building and Occupational ServicesTenancy agreement

South AustraliaPrivate rental tenancy agreement

ACT Access CanberraResidential tenancy agreements

Northern TerritoryGuide for owning a rental property 

Can the lodger leave personal effects in the room at weekends?

If so, how many? A holdall? Clothes in the wardrobe? Does the lodger understand that the room is yours and for your use at weekends? Will you have friends/relatives using the room on weekends?

What time exactly will the lodger be vacating the room/house, when will they be back?

Obviously, a little flexibility goes a long way, but it’s important to agree arrangements in advance so that things run smoothly.