Frequently Asked Questions
What is the typical duration of a homestay?
The duration of a homestay does vary depending on the academic purpose of the guests' UK visit, their age and the objective of the sponsoring institution. Stays generally range from 2 weeks up to 4-5 months. As a host, you can indicate the length of duration you would prefer to provide a homestay for at any given time and we will keep this in mind when making placement and allocation decisions.
What happens if there is an issue with a guest?
Guests are responsible young adults and as with their hosts are instructed to comply with our terms and conditions, including any additional house rules set by the host family. In the unlikely scenario that you find yourself in a situation that cannot be resolved, we will instigate procedures to try to mediate and resolve any issues. If issues cannot be resolved, we will consider moving the guest to alternative homestay accommodation.
Who can become a host?
If you are a friendly individual, have a spare room and are interested in meeting new people from other cultures then hosting overseas students is for you! The room should be furnished with a single/double bed, a wardrobe, chair, study desk and a lamp. If the room does not have a study desk, a table in the living room made available to guests will be acceptable.
Can I host more than one student at a time?
Yes, of course! You may host up to 2 guests in a twin room, 3 in a triple room and 4 in a quad room provided they are from the same group. Our hosts can earn more by hosting 2 or more students at a time.
What are my responsibilities as a host?
We expect our hosts to help create enjoyable experiences for our guests. This means being friendly, ensuring the property is in good order, meals are of a high standard, helping guests to practice their English and providing friendly guidance as they adjust to life in the UK. As guest safeguarding and well-being is very important to us, our host families are expected to adhere to our Health and Safety rules which we may check from time to time.
Will the guest need their own key?
Yes, the guest should be provided with a spare key, allowing hosts to carry on with their lives as usual and guests will never be locked out!
How safe is a homestay?
All of our guests are travelling for academic purposes. We know who they are, where they are coming from and exactly what they will be doing during their stay in London.
Who is responsible for cleaning and changing bed linen?
The Host should provide clean bed linen/bed sheets once a week and the room should be kept clean and tidy by the guest.
Can guests bring their friends to my home?
Guests may, from time to time, ask to bring a friend to the home. This might be a friend or family member who perhaps already lives in London, a classmate, a boyfriend or a girlfriend. Guests are informed that they can bring a guest only if they have the advance permission of the host family. It is strongly advised to make this clear in your House Rules.
What if I have particular house rules?
We strongly recommend that you create your own house rules to give to your guests when they arrive.
Am I liable for income tax on earnings?
Under the government’s Rent a Room scheme, no tax is payable unless you earn more than £7,500 per annum through hosting lodgers. Amounts higher than this may be subject to tax depending on your personal circumstances. We advise that you seek independent advice.
How can I maximize my earnings as a host?
There are several ways you can increase your earnings as a host - by being friendly and caring and getting great reviews. Being more flexible in terms of meal plans offered and open to fulfilling specific requirements can enable you to receive more placements. You will also earn more by having more than one bed in your available room, allowing for the comfortable placement of 2 or more guests in a room. Our Referral Programme is also another way to increase your earnings.
Who are the guests and where do they come from?
Most Host Family Stay guests are students or interns between the ages of 16-28 and many come from EU countries. They visit the UK to either study English, get work experience or participate in a semester abroad, Erasmus or other exchange programme.