Renting a spare room in a pensioner's house in South Woodham Ferrers

Older people may find that when their children have left home, they have spare rooms that they no longer need but may not wish to downsize or go through the upheaval of moving house. Renting a spare room or two certainly make sense financially because it would add the income when relying on a pension. The room must be furnished; contain at least a bed and storage space.

The difficulty is finding the right kind of person to let the room to. A fair amount of trust is needed to take in a lodger, it needs to be someone of good character.

The right kind of person may help in other ways, perhaps in putting the bins out. It is up to the home owner to negotiate possible services in lieu of payment. Some unsavoury characters have taken advantage of vulnerable young people who need accommodation so it is essential to ensure that both parties concerned are honourable.

Privacy needs to be agreed

Every lodger is entitled to their privacy. You should have a key to the property and a lock on your door to be able to gain access to your room at all times.

Rent a room with its own en-suite bathroom. This avoids a potential source of annoyance.

The downside of living in a bedroom in an older person's house

Elderly landlords may have their downsides. Most will be fine, but some may be have too much time on their hands and try to engage you in conversation when you have things to do. Because you are likely to have a shared kitchen, you will have to meet. Keep away from topics that may cause conflict.  The usual suspects are politics, sex and religion.

They will have their standards of hygiene which may be higher or lower than yours. You may find that you have to take on the responsibility (with their consent) to clean the fridge if it does not get cleaned often enough to your satisfaction.

Mutually agreed rules

It’s important to have a set of rules and for both to agree to them. These rules should include privacy, personal space and expectations. The ideal is to have as much privacy as possible; a separate kitchen, bathroom and even entrance.

Some older people may not permit you to welcome guests in your room or to make a noise after a certain time. It is not easy living with a stranger so do discuss as much as possible before agreeing to stay.