We’ve been retired for two years now, living on just pensions, and with the ‘cost of living crisis’ and fuel price rises, we’re, like everyone else, worried. We’ve heard that ‘space can mean money’. We’ve seen you offering decluttering tips and moving tips. Is this what they’re talking about? Or something else completely?
Gerald and Dorothy, Bournemouth
Space can indeed mean money. However, whilst some decluttering/reorganising techniques like Feng Shui are believed to encourage prosperity, more generally ‘space can mean money’ refers to creating spaces that others can rent.
A big factor, of course, is the size of your home. The bigger it is, the more space you’ll have to rent out. But even a small space with just one room or a garage can be enough to bring you in some useful extra cash. In the UK, at present (August 2022), the Rent a Room Scheme lets you earn up to a threshold of £7,500 per year tax-free from letting out furnished accommodation in your home. That’s a great boost to a pension income.
What that looks like will often depend on where you live. If you live near a large industrial firm, there may be people who are looking for somewhere to stay during the week and return home at weekends. If you live near a university, students may be looking for board and lodgings. Do a bit of research on what price rooms achieve your area. Spareroom.co.uk, Gumtree, OpenRent are all useful places to research what you could earn from a spare room.
In Bournemouth, with a student population at Bournemouth University and people who move there for the lifestyle and work, there’s relatively high demand. But as a holiday town, if you make your home appealing, you may be able to command high prices for high season on a site like AirBnB. It may even be worth moving out for a while, meaning you never have to share your space with someone.
Maybe you are lucky enough to have outhouses, fields, stables, a ‘granny annex’ or holiday rental space on your property. These can all be potential ‘breadwinners’ if you rent them out.
For the more ambitious, it may be worth building or reforming something. Within your home it might be a converted cellar/basement or attic. It could be an attached extension/addition to the house. Or it might be a separate structure like a garage or shed a pool changing room, a garden office – these spaces may be convertible and appeal as they are away from your own living spaces.
If you live in a town where parking is at a premium, you could let your garage or drive out during the day. Sites like Gumtree and JustPark will help you work out what you might get for where you live.
Meanwhile garages and those outhouse spaces may be ideal for people to store things that can’t easily be put into self storage like cars or machinery.
A few tips to make letting any space, from a field to a mansion, work well for you:
· When it comes to actually renting out, ask friends and family first if they know anyone looking. (A personal connection is often more reliable, but renting to family and friends may cause problems later if things don’t work out. One step removed is sometimes better, but that’s a judgement call.)
· Even if you know them really well, make sure you have a contract, or at very least an agreement, with your tenant. (Lots of websites offer help with this). Never assume you are both expecting the same thing.
· Ensure that the property you’re letting out meets any appropriate safety standards.
· Think carefully about bills and costs for having someone there. For example, if you live alone, having someone move in might affect your council tax. Will you trust the tenant to do their cleaning or include the price of a cleaner in the rent? What about utilities?
· Think about the emotional side of having someone share your home. Talk to any potential tenant about how they want to live (friends, eating, working hours, etc).
· Agencies may be able to help find tenants for a fee, and will help you with finding a tenant and sorting deposits and contracts.
· Clean and uncluttered, even freshly painted spaces will earn you higher rental prices. (At easyStorage we’re here to help you store things, and even collect and return things for you.)
A no obligation quote is always available online at: https://book.easystorage.com/
If you have a storage question that you’d like answered, send your questions to Alex Fulcher who’ll pick questions for the team to answer each month: Alex.Fulcher@easystorage.com or use #AskeasyStorage and tag us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram
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