Laws you need to know

Laws which affect homestay hosts

Laws that may affect you

This information should be read in conjunction with Warm Welcome’s “Host Handbook”. It is intended as a general guide only.  For further information on specific legal matters and your rights, please contact the relevant official body.


INCOME TAX

You are currently allowed to earn £7,500 per year from hosting students in your home without incurring any tax liability. You only pay tax on any amount you might earn from hosting which is above that figure. For further information on tax liability, please visit: www.gov.uk/rent-room-in-your-home/the-rent-a-room-scheme


CAPITAL GAINS TAX

If you sell your home, you will not be liable for Capital Gains Tax on rooms used by students so long as meals are provided, and the communal areas of the house are shared with students.


RENT ACTS

You won't be risking having a tenant outstay their welcome because we will be able to move any guest you do not want in your home. Unlike having a lodger, hosting students means you do not risk having a 'sitting tenant' as long as food is provided as part of their stay and communal areas of the home are shared.
If you're letting a studio, bedsit or furnished flat on a self-catering basis, which is often classified as a holiday let, you are also not risking having sitting tenants who do not pay their way as long as the student does not stay for more than 8 months.


THE DATA PROTECTION ACT

The only information we keep is your name, address, telephone number, email, details of family members and a description/photos of your home. We also hold a record of the students who have stayed with you and the duration of their stay. We will not share this information with any third parties,  apart from schools, students and British Council inspectors who may ask to see details of students accommodation as part of a school's accreditation inspection. The British Council will also keep this information confidential at all times.


COUNCIL TAX 

Students aged over 18 are classified as disregarded from council tax if they are in full-time education, studying for a minimum 21 hours per week for a period of at least one year or one academic year. If your student guest is on a shorter course, you are required to contact your local council and inform them of the change in your circumstances.


DEPARTMENT FOR WORK AND PENSIONS

Under the Social Security Administration Act 1992, local DWP inspectors have the right to access any records of payments to hosts as part of their investigation into social security fraud. Warm Welcome does not provide the DWP with such information as a matter of course. However, if a request from DWP inspectors is made, we must show them these records because we are legally obliged to do so.


FIRE SAFETY

Fire safety law applies to anyone who has a paying guest in their home. Therefore, we require all homestay hosts to comply with the current law.

This means you must:


GAS SAFETY

All gas appliances must be checked annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer. The law also states that:

For further information on your responsibilities for ensuring that your home is safe, please visit: http://www.hse.gov.uk/gas/domestic/index.htm


SAFEGUARDING UNDER 18’S

The main host of the household will be required to complete an Enhanced Disclosure with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in order to host under 18’s (international students aged 16 and 17 years old) and vulnerable adults (international students aged 18-24 with limited English language skills living away from home, often for the first time) at your home.

Warm Welcome can assist you in submitting your application for an Enhanced DBS certificate at a cost of £59. We will reimburse £50 of the cost once you have hosted a student with us for 8 weeks or more.

You are advised to register with the Update Service (https://www.gov.uk/dbs-update-service) once you receive your certificate so that your certificate can be extended year on year at minimal cost to yourself. Warm Welcome are unable to pay for subsequent certificates.

All members of the household who are aged over 18 will be asked to sign a self-declaration of suitability stating that there is no reason for them not to be engaged in situations where they have responsibility for, or substantial access to, persons under 18/vulnerable adults. We will also ask for the names and contact details of 2 character references to support your self-declaration.

We can discuss ‘Laws you need to be aware of’ at our initial meeting to provide you with complete peace of mind. We are here to help.

Get In touch

Warm Welcome are here to make your life as student homestay host as easy as possible.  We are dedicated to a personalised service.  Please do contact us if you require any more information or assistance.

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