Pippa’s Guardians has a wonderful network of caring and supporting host families across the country who provide a home away from home for our students during their school breaks.

Many of our host families form lifelong friendships with our pupils and their families. The benefits these relationships afford pupils, both practically and
emotionally, is often remarked upon by schools, families and pupils alike.

As the UK still remains a popular destination for international students, and many UK families have noticed an increase in the cost of living, more families have considered becoming a host family.  The Times newspaper recently interviewed a Pippa’s host family about their experience.

To read the full and original article, visit: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/what-i-wish-i-knew-before-taking-in-a-lodger-strcfp33k


“If the idea of cohabiting with a stranger doesn’t appeal, there are variations on the lodger theme to explore. Having raised two sons, Polly and Jon Horton did not expect to find themselves parenting a tweenager again. But with a room going spare in their four bedroom cottage ten miles from Worcester, a need to bolster their finances while maintaining some private family time has led to them taking an alternative route.

They signed up with an agency that specialises in finding host families for international boarding school students who cannot get home for exeat weekends and holidays. Within weeks the couple, both 50, and their two sons, 19 and 16, found themselves sending the Easter holidays with two brothers from Hong Kong, aged 11 and 14. They were paid £52 a child per day amounting to more than £700 a week.

It was actually really lovely says Polly, a small business mentor. We had spent so much time just the four of us during the lockdowns that it was great to have some new people – we had a lot of dun.

Before being accepted as hosts by Pippa’s Guardians, Polly and Jon, who runs the independent wine merchant Addison Wines, had a home check and interview, as well as a criminal record check.

The agencies are desperate for people, and the money is really good, Polly says, Where we live is too rural to have a regular lodger, and we didn’t want people all the time. It was a perfect in between.”

So successful was the Easter stay that the Hortons are now going to be hosting the brother regularly, and have also been taken on to host a pair of Thai siblings, who will be staying for their first exeat weekend this month.

Naturally taking on teenagers is a responsibility – meals must be cooked, bedtimes agreed, bouts of homesickness appeased. We were told very clearly that they are part of the family and have to slot in with what you are doing. Polly says, At weekends they they are tired and just happy to chill but at Easter we did arrange for days out and a visit to London, which they loved.

As well as being enjoyable, the couple’s new side gig is easing the impact of the cost of living crisis on their family. Jon sells wine to restaurants and he is terrified about what (the crisis) is going to do to the business. Polly says, we have an oil tank at the house and goodness knows how much it will cost us next time we fill it up. We have empty space and we need to monetise it.”


  • If you earn less than £7,500 per year from your lodger(s) it will be tax free under the government’s Rent a Room scheme. The threshold applies even if you let a room for less than a full year. If you earn more than £7,500 per year from a room you must pay tax on the excess.
  • To qualify the room must be within your main home and be furnished. The furniture must comply with fire safety regulations and you ned to have any gas appliances checked annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
  • Before taking in a lodger check with your mortgage company that it is allowed and make sure that your home insurance covers the new arrangement.
  • Be aware that if you live alone you will lose the 25 per cent single person discount on your council tax (unless your tenant is a full time student) And if you bring in a lodger to help you to cover heating bills, bear in mind that you won’t be able to control how much extra power they use – particularly  if they work from home.