For the seventh year in the row the amount of homeowners that are taking in lodgers has risen, however research has suggested that thirty seven per cent of these homeowners may not be properly insured. Spareroom.co.uk conducted a survey of ‘live-in landlords’ and found that thirty three per cent didn’t realise that having a lodger could invalidate their home insurance, whilst another twenty nine per cent said their insurance provider doesn’t offer add-ons to their policies in order to cover them for having lodgers.
Between 2011 and 2012 the number of homeowners taking in lodgers has risen by more than a quarter, whilst between 2010 and 2011 it only rose by eighteen per cent. In England, the towns with the largest increase in lodger numbers are Wigan and Derby, up 23% and 22% respectively. Even though there has been a substantial increase in the amount of live-in-landlords, helped by the Government’s ‘Rent a Room’ scheme where those that take in lodgers can benefit from tax-free annual earnings of £4,250, many are struggling to find appropriate insurance.
Director of Spareroom.co.uk, Matt Hutchinson, said “The most important thing for homeowners to be aware of is that if they take in a lodger they may be in breach of their existing home policy. If you are planning to take in a lodger, never underestimate the importance of doing your homework and finding an insurance policy which gives you the proper cover that you need.”
This comes after many live-in-landlords have said that they are confused as to what type of policy they need in order to protect themselves if they take in a lodger. For example, some landlord insurance policies are only suitable for those that are renting out a whole property to tenants and not just one room. Other policies do not include cover against theft or damage caused by a lodger, or liability cover for the homeowner in case their lodger has an accident in their property. It has been argued that even though it may be difficult for homeowners to find adequate insurance once they take in a lodger, if they do not put in the effort they could suffer in the long run.