Lodger Viewings & Interviews

Lodger viewings and interviews may seem daunting, especially if it’s your first time and you’re not particularly comfortable with strangers in your home. Most lodgers are complete strangers, so any doubts or fears are completely understandable.

But in reality, it doesn’t need to be a formal process, and it usually isn’t. Most viewings are extremely casual, and that’s how they should be.

Arranging viewings

Hopefully you’ll have an influx of enquiries and potential future lodgers lined up to view your property after advertising your spare room. So the next step is to arrange the viewings with the applicants, so you start the process of finding a well-suited living partner.

Scheduling lodger viewings

If you’ve received a large volume of enquiries, it’s usually sensible to organise the viewings during one or two days/nights, and stagger them appropriately- that way you’ll get through the process relatively quickly.

The majority of viewings shouldn’t take more than 30-45mins each. Also, bear in mind, most people work during the day, so most people won’t be able to make it until after 5pm during a week day.

However, that said, it’s important to be as flexible as possible with your viewings, because ideally you want to see as many prospective lodgers as possible, that way you will stand a better chance of finding your perfect match.

The viewing / Interview 1

The first viewing is essentially an interview- not just for you, but also the prospective lodger. Remember, the lodger will want to ensure you’re a good match for them just as much as you’ll want to ensure they’re a match for you.

Not only is the first viewing an opportunity for your applicant to look around the property and your spare room, but it’s also the perfect time to ask the lodger and yourself some preliminary questions, such as:

  • What they do for work and what their working schedule is like?
  • What does your gut-instinct tell you?
  • Can you imagine living with this person?
  • Would you feel comfortable leaving this person alone in your house?
  • Would their lifestyle be compatible with yours? Do they keep similar hours to you or will they be coming in while you’re trying to asleep?
  • Were they polite, or were there any mannerisms you found particularly annoying?
  • Were they well-presented and hygienic?
  • Do they have a partner? If so, do they expect their partner to be able to stay over? If so, how often and would you feel comfortable with the arrangement?

The more questions you ask the better, because it will give you a better idea of who is best suited to your lifestyle and who is most likely to meet your expectations. If you have any important requirements, it’s also important to mention them during the ‘viewing stage’ (i.e. before any agreements are made), because each lodger will have their own requirements, and your environment may not be suitable for them. It works both ways.

The quicker and sooner you whittle down your list, the better.

Lodger application form

During the viewing, it’s a good idea to get all prospective lodgers to complete an application form, which includes details like their name, DOB, contact details, all their references (employers and previous/current landlords), and a declaration of any criminal records. The latter may seem like an odd and intrusive request, but it’s an important question, especially when it comes to landlord insurance- your provider may ask if your lodger has one, and false information may make your policy invalid. More details available on the landlord lodger insurance page.

Processing your applicants

Once you’ve gone through your viewings and gathered all the relevant information, it’s time to filter out the applicants that didn’t match your criteria. Then you’ll be left with the best prospectives, which is usually anywhere between 2-3 applicants.

For those that didn’t make the shortlist, you should courteously inform them that you went with someone else. If you don’t want to do it over the phone, you can do it via a text-message or email.

It’s recommended to invite the remaining probables for a second interview (if they were just as interested as you), that way you’ll put yourself in the best position possible to find the most suitable future lodger.

Second Interview

This is the perfect opportunity for you to get to know your remaining applicants a little better, but to also go over your house rules and expectations.

Based on the second encounter and the reactions/feedback to your house rules, you should be in a good position to choose your most suited lodger.

IMPORTANT! Before notifying your chosen lodger!

It’s recommended not to make your final decision until you have done some thorough lodger referencing, such as checking proof of ID and employment.

Also, as a final tip, remember to get a lodger contract signed and take a security deposit and first months rent upfront.