To give a bit of background the rent-a-room relief enables an individual to exempt, for the 2016/17 tax year, rental receipts up to £7,500 from income tax. These rent-a-room gross receipts include not only rent but also services. The legislation gives examples of these services being meals, cleaning and laundry. Although you might be able to argue more, as long as it’s relevant. Therefore you may include receipts under this scheme for not only the rent for the two weeks but also additional charges for linen or extra cleaning.
According to the legislation (ITTOIA 2005 s786 (1)) rent a room receipts are defined as, the use of furnished accommodation, in a residence, in the UK. In addition, the residence has to be the individual’s only or main residence for some or all of the period. It doesn’t specify that they have to be living there at the same time as the lodgers. As such if your client is renting out their main UK home, which we assume would already be furnished then these conditions would be covered.
However, would the whole home be covered? ITTOIA s2005 s787 specifies the meaning of residence as a building, or part of a building, occupied or intended to be occupied as a separate residence. As such the legislation seems to indicate that it does not need to be just a room you are renting in order to take advantage of the rent a room reliefs, the lodgers could have the full run of the house.