We’ve previously talked in detail about how best to use your new loft space following a conversion. There are plenty of ideas there, but one that’s perked some people’s interests is the idea of renting the loft space out.
This is something you may also look at further down the line – perhaps you had your loft converted to support a growing family, but as the kids grow up and start to move out you can be left with an abundance of space and spare bedrooms.
A look at ways to rent out your loft
For those want to go down the rental route, you could be sitting on a tidy income, with many lofts bringing in over £1000 per month. Here are a few different ways to look at renting out your loft space.
Rent your loft on Airbnb
Airbnb is always one of our first ports of call for renting out loft space. This is because it can be the biggest earner among all rental methods, but it’s also very flexible for you.
In terms of the money that can be earned from renting out a loft bedroom on Airbnb, there are certain variables that will affect how much you can take in. Proximity to the centre of Brighton is a key one – most people visiting are tourists and want to be able to access the city easily. However, experiential features are also key to charging a little more. Adding things like breakfast for guests, a TV in the bedroom and WiFi means that you can bump the rental price up significantly.
Airbnb provides flexibility
Flexibility is unparalleled with Airbnb too. You choose when you’d like to list your room for. Got family coming to stay for a weekend in the near future? Just de-list yourself from Airbnb for that weekend. Perhaps you’re looking to go on holiday for a couple of weeks? No problem – it’s easy to close dates on Airbnb. Whilst other rental methods can mean giving up the space for months at a time, Airbnb means that it’s still yours to do what you’d like with, and only rent it out when it’s convenient for you.
Are there problems with Airbnb?
Airbnb is a great earner, but it’s not without its problems. The market has become somewhat saturated in recent years, especially in and around Brighton & Hove, which means that getting initial traction on the site is difficult. You may have to slash your prices in order to get some early quality reviews. Airbnb has also introduced a Superhost system for their best and most regular hosts, and Superhosts receive a lot of favourable treatment, but it can take a while to hit Superhost status.
Another issue is that it arguably requires the utmost of you as a host. Whilst you’re getting significantly more income for the amount of time it’s rented, it does tend to require a few extras from yourself. Typically, Airbnb hosts seek to communicate with guests about directions for getting to their property, provide guides for the city, and will also get caught up in discussing booking arrangements through the Airbnb platform. As mentioned, to make the most income you may need to provide some experiential bonuses – breakfast, coffee machines, laundry service and many more are among the added extras you may want to consider adding to your hosting package.
You can rent your space out either by partnering with a letting agent (who will do a lot of the donkey work for you) or going it alone and using Gumtree, Facebook, and other rental sites like SpareRoom to fill your home with paying tenants. If you take the latter route, just make sure you get all the important things such as tenancy agreements and deposit schemes lined up in advance.
Traditional rental may not earn as much as Airbnb, with prices ranging from around £400-£600 per month dependent on location and quality and size of the spare bedroom, but it can be easier for many people. You get a tenant in, they stay with you for a minimum of 6 months, and you only need to provide a minimal amount of input into the whole process to ensure it goes smoothly. We’ve known some clients who’ve had a tenant move in who’s stayed with them for several years, providing a steady stream of income.
For those who get to know their tenant and enjoy their company, traditional rental can provide other benefits. You’ve got someone who can effectively act as a housesitter if you want to go away. Spending two weeks abroad? Your tenant can make sure the house is a-okay, and see to it that the pets and plants you share your home with are fed and watered too.
Hosting foreign students
Hosting foreign students is very rewarding, and it’s incredibly easy to do in Brighton & Hove thanks to the plethora of language schools in the area. You can host with as little as a 2 week commitment, but many are looking for longer term stays. The students themselves don’t actually pay you any rent; rather, you get a set payment from schooling system (typically run by Education First). Payments are approximately £150 per week.
There are some requirements set by Education First, however, and that £150 is not pure profit. You’ll need to feed the student every evening and provide some breakfast too. Typically they won’t be present during the day, as the language schools set a 7-days-a-week activity schedule. The students will arrange their own transport to the schools, as well as in and around Brighton. There is also a 24/7 helpline available if anything does go wrong.
Students can be incredibly varied – some relish the peace and quiet and will rarely leave their rooms, whilst some may become more involved and dine with your family and maybe unwind in the evenings with you. It can be a mixed bag, and you may want to take that into account. Overall though, it’s an easy experience and can provide both a good income as well as flexibility as you’re rarely locked into a long-term rental.
Turn your loft into office space
This is becoming a more and more popular option, particularly in and around Brighton which has more small businesses per capita than any other city in the country. An office space is easy to set up, just needs a few features like fast WiFi, and then it’s good to house a few people from a new startup or a small business. The staff tend to only be around between 8am and 6pm too, meaning your evenings are completely devoid of anyone being in the space (although it won’t be able to be used for any other purposes such as for a guest bedroom).
Office space can often net a higher income overall though than a rental bedroom, so it’s worth considering. And hey, you may just get the next Google up there planning to take over the world…
Considerations when renting out your loft
In addition to the rental route you take, you may consider a few additions or changes to your loft conversion and its build if you’re planning on regular renting parts of it out.
External stairways maximise privacy
You may want to incorporate an external staircase with immediate access to the loft space in order to maximise your privacy. Be aware that this isn’t always possible but it’s something that we can look at with you. There are certain requirements if you do add a staircase externally to your house – notably, you will need a door leading into the space, but there are a number of other more technical requirements than this.
However, if it’s possible to build it then an external stairway is an excellent addition to your home if you’re looking to rent out your loft space. It ensures that you and your family get full privacy and that your tenant(s) are also granted a good level of privacy too. It actually means you can typically charge more for your rental too.
What about storage?
You may lose some storage space if you choose to rent out rooms in your loft, but rest-assured, there’s always options! Sometimes this is about getting creative with the nooks and crannies of your loft space.
For plenty of ideas of how to make the most of the storage space in your loft, check out our article on getting more storage from your loft conversion.
Building a loft for rental purposes
We’re big on the fact that a loft conversion is one of the very best investments that you can make for your home. It provides an instant increase in space, but also means that your house becomes worth more in the long-run, adding approximately 21% to the value of a home. Here’s just another way that having a loft conversion can reap dividends.
If you’re building your loft with the express purpose of renting it out, then we can plan your build in a way that provides the maximum monthly income that your property could offer as a rental. Simply drop us a line via our contact form and book in a free consultation