A boarder is someone who rents a room in your home, for example, a student or an older single person who cannot afford to or does not want to live by themselves.
While a boarder may help out with general cleaning, more commonly you can expect them to keep their own room and the bathroom they use tidy and clean but leave the rest of the cleaning for you.
A boarder will normally expect their room to be furnished (this may include bedding and towels). However, they will not expect, and may not want, any of your personal belongings in their room. They should be able to lock their bedroom door for their own privacy, and they should be able to access and leave your house at any time, so they will need their own house key. Also, clear them some space in your kitchen cupboards and fridge so they can store their own food.
Before anyone moves in decide how you wish to share common areas in your house. Also clarify if any parts of your house or any of your possessions are 'off limits' before your boarder agrees to move in.
Your rights and obligations when you let a room in your house to a boarder are not covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 1986. Make sure you have a boarding agreement with your boarder. There are two options if you have a disagreement you can't resolve: mediation or the Disputes Tribunal.
It may be best not to let the boarder store any of their things in other parts of your house (eg, your garage, even if it's empty) because you do not want to be responsible for their possessions if they move out and leave things behind or if there is an accident that damages their possessions.
You may like to seek a boarder yourself or you could work through a service that will match you with people looking for accommodation.
The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) have helped develop some important questions you need to consider before deciding to have a boarder:
Be clear with anyone you chose to share your home with that you retain the right to decide on a future housing arrangement that is good for you.