Warm Welcome aims to provide students with a comfortable, friendly and supportive homestay experience. We aim to provide hosts with exactly the same level of service and commitment. We want you to be happy hosts and part of our team.
These resources are designed to help you understand what is expected of you as a host and to help you decide whether hosting is right for you.
If you have any questions or concerns or simply want to find out a little bit more about us, feel free to get in touch for a chat.
Below are some common questions from our clients that may very well give you the answer you are looking for.
Homestay is a living arrangement where families, couples or single people offer a student/guest a private room in their home for a short period of time. This is typically from one week to three months, depending on the nature of the visit. Some guests choose to stay for a longer period of time, which may sometimes extend for up to a year. Long-term guests are usually completing a degree, studying an Academic English language course, or on a work internship/placement.
Homestay accommodation is generally requested by English language schools and universities, who offer their international students a package of English language lessons and homestay accommodation, as this helps to improve their English. Just as importantly, students also have the opportunity to experience British culture and establish long lasting friendships with their hosts.
Host families/hosts provide bed, breakfast, and evening meal (optional but most popular choice for students) and should have easy access to local transport links to and from the student's school and provide a stable, safe and supportive environment. Prospective hosts must submit an application form and will be visited at home by one of our team.
Absolutely! Our hosts come in all shapes and sizes and we welcome applications from single professionals/retirees, married/unmarried couples, single parent households, empty-nesters, and families with small children.
Yes, you will.
As part of Warm Welcome’s and our partner schools’ commitment to safeguarding under 18’s and vulnerable adults all hosts wishing to accommodate students aged 16 and 17 must have an Enhanced DBS certificate issued within the last three years.
If you do not already have an Enhanced DBS certificate Warm Welcome can assist you in making your application at a cost of £39.00 (deducted from your first week's payment)
Once you receive your certificate, you will be advised to join the DBS Update Service at a cost of £13 per year paid by direct debit. This will ensure your certificate remains valid year after year and transferable so can be used for other roles that may require such certification – we can assist you through the whole process.
We will contact you by telephone or email, to discuss and offer you a booking. We will provide background information about the student including details such as age, gender, nationality, length of stay, course of study, college attending, family background, hobbies and interests. You are not obliged to take a booking and you won't be sidelined from future hosting opportunities if you do decline offers, we completely understand that sometimes it is simply inconvenient.
Payment is guaranteed by Warm Welcome Homestay Limited. You'll be paid weekly. The first payment is made 7 days after your student guests arrival.
You are allowed to earn upto £7500 per year from renting your room to a student/guest without having to pay any tax. Once you reach the £7500 threshold you are then liable for tax. You can earn this £7500 separately from any other income you may receive from your regular job so it is a great way to boost your income.
We will keep you posted on arrival times via your preferred choice of telephone, text, whatsapp and/or email. Once the booking is confirmed we receive full flight details from the school, agent or family and arrange the airport transfer to your home address.
We advise students to arrive at the weekend as we realise that most hosts are out at work during the week. If a student does arrive during the week, we recommend that the arrival time at your house is no earlier than 6pm and no later than 10pm. But again, we sometimes have to be flexible.
We would expect to provide you with at least one week's notice if a booking gets cancelled and find a suitable replacement, subject to matching criteria.
We urge you not to take the decision to host a student lightly and to remember that once a booking is made, it is very problematic if cancelled. We understand that there may be times of family emergency and therefore cancellations are unavoidable.
If a student tells you that they would like to extend their stay, please ask the student to contact the office to formally continue the agreement. We cannot pay for stays that have not been agreed with us in advance.
Warm Welcome Homestay Limited is not responsible for any loss of or damage to property. We will endeavour to recoup any costs for broken or damaged property from the student during their stay should they break or damage any of your property. We recommended you check with your home contents insurance provider to see if your cover extends to paying guests.
Students aged over 18 are allowed to stay out late or overnight. They should, however, always advise you if they are going to be late for meals or home very late as a matter of courtesy.
Warm Welcome’s curfew time for students aged 16–17 is 10.30pm, unless otherwise agreed with their school and their parents have signed a parental consent form allowing this.
Host families should allow the student use of the washing machine for two cycles (once for light coloured laundry and once for dark coloured laundry) each week free of charge. The loan of an iron and ironing board would also be welcomed. Some hosts insist on doing the laundry for their student guests and others are more keen to encourage them to be independent and do it for themselves.
With a warm welcome, of course! Time can play a factor though. If they arrive in the late afternoon/early evening, a light meal is a great way to break the ice, build a rapport and discuss house rules. But sometimes it's a late night arrival and then there is limited time. A cup of tea and a quick tour of the house before bedtime should do it, house rules can wait til morning.
Remember that for some students this will be their first experience in a British home and they'll be in a slight state of flux emotionally - tired, anxious and a little homesick so the warm welcome they receive will play an important part in helping them to settle in.
If you host more than one student at a time in your home, please consider that students who speak the same first language should not be placed in the same household because we want them to practice and improve their English language skills - that's why they are here after all. However, if the student or visiting group request it or their families insist, then we can make an exception.
It is also important to note that no more than four students can be accommodated in a single homestay.
Please let us know if there are any changes to your accommodation so that we can update your host profile and ensure we are providing accurate information at all times. Changes to accommodation can include such things as a new family member moving in, an additional room becoming available, a new pet or an extension/home redecoration.
Students must be allowed to use all communal areas of the house just like the rest of the family. Bedrooms are strictly private and students are aware that they must not enter family members bedrooms.
Communal areas as well as the kitchen and bathroom should always be kept clean, tidy and most definitely hygienic.
Students over the age of 18 must be provided with their own door key, which should be returned to you when they leave. Students can come and go as they please but must ensure they are quiet and respectful especially at night. If a student loses their key, they will be expected to pay for a replacement. If locks need to be replaced, that is also the responsibility of the student.
It’s at the discretion of the host to determine whether door keys will be given to students aged 16–17.
Yes, central heating should be provided throughout the winter. Students are made aware that central heating is expensive in the UK and not to be used during the day when you are at work and they are at school. Sometimes, it is a good idea to provide extra blankets especially as some of our guests are used to much warmer climates and may feel the cold more than we do.
The student's room should be nicely decorated, not deteriorated and have a good source of natural lighting. Rooms should have comfortable, clean beds with bed linen laundered each week. The room should have ample storage such as wardrobe, clothes rail and chest of drawers for your guests belongings and not have family items stored in the room in order to avoid any damage to property. A desk and chair is important too so that your guest can do their homework unless there is another convenient place in the house for them to study. Please do not allow pets to enter the student's room as many students are not as keen on pets as we are. Students are asked to keep their rooms tidy but are not expected to clean it.
We recommend you clean the bathroom meticulously prior to the students arrival in order to set the bar high. Once your guest sees how clean and tidy your bathroom is, the more inclined they will be to keep it that way.
It's important to note that some students are used to wet rooms at home and they consequently create a lot of water on the floor which can be a cause for concern for hosts. We advise having a mop and bucket in the bathroom for students to clean up after themselves. Hosts should provide soap, hot water and toilet paper at no extra cost to the student. and you should also provide a bin for the disposal of feminine sanitary protection for female guests. Your student guests are not supposed to clean the bathroom but they are expected to keep it tidy.
The host is responsible for providing the student with two towels - one for everyday use and a spare.
If you have a shared bathroom, which most hosts do, please agree a schedule with your guest when they arrive so that your family can continue to work in harmony.
Those students who are on a bed and breakfast basis may be allowed light use of the kitchen . This is at the discretion of the host and normally discussed during the initial meeting with our Homestay Manager. Some hosts are happy for students to have full use of the kitchen but others are less willing. Students who are allowed to use the kitchen are expected to buy their own ingredients and are not allowed to help themselves to your food.
If kitchen use is allowed, please provide a space in a cupboard and refrigerator for students to store their food.
Students who are allowed to use the kitchen are expected to clean up after use and to use the kitchen at times agreed with the host.
You choose which board option(s) you wish to offer: 1) self-catering 2) bed and breakfast, 3) bed breakfast and evening meal or 4) bed, breakfast, packed lunch, evening meal
Indeed. Today's students expect a good quality internet connection in the home. It is their primary source of communication with family and entertainment in the form of TV, movies, and social media.
Whilst students often enjoy bringing their friends over to meet their host family or share a meal , it is entirely up to you. Students must ask your permission first and you are perfectly at liberty to refuse. Overnight stays are not allowed.
No, it isn’t. Students should be treated as a member of the family. Younger students should be treated like one of your children and older students as a regular member of the family - you could get them to do a few chores but don't overdo it. Part of being a host is to chat with the student regularly so that they can practise and improve their English speaking skills, it's the reason they're here.
Meals are to be eaten with the host and family, preferably in a dining setting and not in front of the TV.
Students should not be expected to eat alone, except when they arrive home later than the regular meal-time and then food should be left in the refrigerator for them to reheat.
There are two meal options and the food that should be provided for each is detailed below:
Room and breakfast/self-catering
For breakfast we recommend offering a continental style ‘help yourself’ breakfast: cereal, toast/jam and tea or coffee. With this option, the student is allocated cupboard and fridge space and is allowed to use the facilities in your kitchen to make their own meals in their own time with their own food.
Room, breakfast and evening meal
With this option students are offered breakfast as above plus an evening meal consisting of meat or fish with potatoes/rice and vegetables or pasta dishes, hot or cold dessert: yoghurt, cake or fruit and a drink: cold water or fruit juice.
We will inform you at the time of booking if the student has any special dietary requirements: vegan, vegetarian, halal, gluten free, dairy free, nut free etc.
Students are made aware that they should inform you if they are to be late home for dinner or wish to miss a meal and make their own meal arrangements.
Our homestays are booked by schools, agents, directly by students themselves and private organisations who want to experience the local community and culture of the place they are visiting. You decide who stays with you and when. There is absolutely no obligation to accept a booking.
If you are not getting on with your student, you should contact us directly so that we can help resolve any misunderstandings. If mediation is unsuccessful we will endeavour to find alternative accommodation for the student within 7 days.