Interview Questions Continued

  • Cleaning - what is their viewpoint on this? Do they share your viewpoint? If one of you has a very relaxed attitude to cleanliness and order, and the other is extremely houseproud (especially if the houseproud party is the landlord) the arrangement is unlikely to work. By the way, the lodger is normally only responsible for sharing the cleaning of common areas in the home that they actually use!

  • What do they do for a living? You do not need to go into exhaustive detail about their finances, because if you shortlist them, the security check will cover this, but if they aren't working full time or are self employed, how will they cover your rent? Will they be able to provide a guarantor if necessary (in which case, the guarantor will need to pass a credit check)?

  • Will they be spending much time at home? Do they go out to work or college - or do they work from home? Therefore, what impact will their lifestyle have on your bills, and how much will their presence impact on your way of life? If they work or study at home, you might want to consider an unlimited broadband contract, or at least one with a generous data allowance. You might also want to consider charging bills separately - even if you don't, you will need to have a frank discussion about this. Work out what your average bills are, and have copies to hand at the interview. If you don't charge bills separately, make sure your rent will adequately cover the extra cost, while still allowing you enough profit. However, you need to bear in mind that most lodgers are looking for a fairly uncomplicated arrangement - part of the attraction of living with someone else is not having to worry so much about paying bills - so they may be put off by separate bills!

  • Ask them about their hobbies and lifestyle. Are they a night owl? Does their daily pattern fit yours? Do they work nights or evenings or stay up late? Do they go out each evening and come back late (perhaps bringing people back!)? If someone is regularly pottering around the kitchen at 2am, this is likely to disturb your sleep!

  • Do they like children or pets if you have them? Do they have a pet themselves, or children who might visit?

  • Do they smoke? If one of you is a non smoker, and the other smokes, this may not work even if the smoker agrees to smoke outside, as the smell and the mess will often find its way inside - I've also heard tales about smokers regularly smoking in their room - after agreeing they wouldn't smoke inside!

  • What is their attitude to drugs and alcohol? Someone who regularly takes drugs or habitually drinks to excess is likely to be a problem to live with.

  • Do they socialise often? Will they expect to have a lot of friends around, or perhaps people they've just met (which really isn't on in any kind of house share)? If one of you is a party animal, and the other leads a quiet life, it's unlikely to work.

  • What are their hobbies? Do they play a lot of music (perhaps loudly) or tend to have their TV on loud (a possibility if they're hard of hearing). A possible solution is wireless headphones, which most music lovers possess anyway, but if they don't, they can be picked up for under £30 from Amazon.
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