Frequently Asked Questions - Hosts

Note: If you are a student, please navigate to FAQ - Students

questions Potential Host

Q: What is Homestay?
Q: How does it work?
Q: How much do I get paid?
Q: Is homestay family income taxable?
Q: How close do I have to be to a school?
Q: How do I apply?
Q: What does the placement process involve?
Q: What are my responsibilities?
Q: What do I have to offer students?
Q: How long do I have to host a student for?
Q: How much do I get paid in case of a termination within trial week?
Q: What support do I get from Homadorma?
Q: What should I do before the student arrives?
Q: What should I do on the day that the student arrives?
Q: What should I do in the first week (trial week) that the student stays with me?
Q: How is my privacy protected?


questions Actual Host

Q: What should my student call me?
Q: My student says they have no dirty washing but they have been here for a week.
Q: My student is using too much water. Is it ok for me to ask them not to do this?
Q: I told my student to ‘help themselves’ to food but when I arrived home my student had eaten all the treats in the larder.
Q: I told my student to ‘help themselves’ because I was going out but when I arrived home they had not eaten.
Q: My student said on the Profile that they do not smoke, but I can smell it.
Q: My student goes drinking with their friends and comes home intoxicated.
Q: My student does not want to help with the washing up after the evening meal.
Q: My student has questioned the ‘use by date’ on packaged and frozen food.
Q: If I take my student out do I have to pay for them?
Q: Is it ok for me to go in to my student’s room when they are not there.
Q: I think there is some money missing from my home (and/or items) and I think my student may be responsible.
Q: I let my student use my computer but now they are using it all evening and I want to use it myself.
Q: My student is up nearly all night and disturbing the rest of the household.
Q: My student leaves the light on all night which wastes electricity.
Q: My student says they are cold/hot.
Q: My student gets home before me each day and I cannot give them access because of our security system.
Q: What should you do if the student’s parents wish to stay?
Q: My student asked if they may bring a girl/boy friend home to stay the night. I don’t want my student sleeping with a girl/boy friend in my home.
Q: My student does not come home for several days. They tell me they have a boy/girl friend but their parents want them to stay in homestay.
Q: What should I do when a student informs me they are leaving?
Q: What should I do on the day that a student leaves?




questions Potential Host

Q: What is Homestay?

A: Homestay is a cultural exchange between a local individual or family (called a host) and a visiting student. The student lives as a guest in your home.

Q: How does it work?

A: As a host you would generally be required to provide the student with all their basic needs, including their own room, food and space to study. Over the period of their time together the host assists the student to become familiar with the local area and customs in a relaxed and friendly household setting. The student is also encouraged to share with the host information about their home country and culture. This interaction is what makes homestay ideal for students and hosts looking for a unique cultural experience.

Q: How much do I get paid?

A: At Homadorma, we believe every homestay family is different. Setting the same rate for everyone is not a true reflection of the difference among homestays. Instead, you have the rights to set the price. The price could also be updated. A general rule of thumb is to stay competitive in the market place.

Q: Is homestay family income taxable?

A: Homestay income is a taxable income in Canada, with any related expenses deductible. Please discuss with your accountant how to report the income to CRA, or simply call CRA at 1-800-959-8281.

Q: How close do I have to be to a school?

A: A thirty-minute journey as an example. Often you may find you actually live closer when you include not just schools and universities, but also private education providers.

Q: How do I apply?

A: Click the “Become a Host” button at www.homadorma.com. Once you have filled in and submitted the application form, an email will be sent to your nominated email address within 2 business days. Our staff will be in contact with you regarding student placement.

Q: What does the placement process involve?

A: All information will be stored in our database after the application is completed. Our placement staff will then match your situation with the needs of the incoming students, with criteria including but not limited to distance to school, price, family member situation, washroom sharing, etc. When a match is found, we will then schedule a home inspection. After you pass the home inspection, we will then check your availability every time we try to place a student. We then contact the student to confirm their decision. You may leave the room open to other students during the confirmation period. We will confirm the reservation with you by email to finalize a placement.

Q: What are my responsibilities?

A: It is expected that hosts accept students in to their home and provide a safe and caring environment.

Q: What do I have to offer students?

A: Hosts must be prepared to spend time with the student and display a friendly, flexible attitude. The student requires their own bedroom, bed, desk, chair, study-light, cupboard space and up to three meals per day. The accommodation offered to students will need to be clean, orderly and in good repair, and not currently being renovated. It must comply with current council building regulations, be properly furnished, within the family living area, and private.

Q: How long do I have to host a student for?

A: This is up to you in discussion with our placement staff. Most initial placements are for one month with the first week being the trial period. You are not obliged to take any student for periods longer than you agree to.

Q: How much do I get paid in case of a termination within trial week?

A: The first week of stay is trial week. Should student felt a must to change homestay family, the student may contact our company within the 1st week. We would then begin looking for new suitable homestay and inform the current homestay family. The student would move out when a new homestay becomes available (usually in 1 or 2 weeks). The homestay family could terminate the stay within trial week in the same way. The homestay family will receive homestay family income prorated based on the number of days students spend in your household. Homadorma reserves the rights not to pay the homestay family in case of serious complaints from the student.

Q: What support do I get from Homadorma?

A: The Homadorma community has access to full management support with a local placement staff during business hours and a 24/7 assistance line for emergencies that may happen after hours and at weekends.

Q: What should I do before the student arrives?

A: Prepare the student’s room with fresh sheets and towels and make sure the room is properly aired. If it is hot, provide a fan. If it is cold make sure there is enough bedding and supply a heater if necessary. Purchase enough food for the first day or so making sure you have items for a lunch box.
In addition you can choose to familiarise yourself with the customs and culture of the country where the student is coming from so you can understand your student a little better from the beginning of their stay with you.

Q: What should I do on the day that the student arrives?

A: Be available to greet your student and organise to be home for the day or have a family member stay with the student. Don’t greet the student, tell them to ‘help themselves’ and go to work. Students are young people, often away from home for the first time. They are nervous and have travelled for many hours. Even if they sleep they should not be left alone. Treat them as you would like your own family to be treated if they were travelling overseas. Offer them a drink and biscuit, show them their room and the bathroom facilities. Ask your student if they would like to take a shower and make them welcome generally. Later in the day take the opportunity to orientate the student to your home, explain mealtimes and introduce them to other family members.

Q: What should I do in the first week (trial week) that the student stays with me?

A: Confirm with the student that they are happy and can use the bus or train to their education provider, local shopping centre and your nearest city. Ask if they have made some friends and generally enquire as to their wellbeing. It is good practice to do this for the first two or three weeks.

Q: How is my privacy protected?

A: Homadorma is governed by Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act to protect your privacy.
The following personal information is not released to anyone other than the student living with your family and their parents and custodian, the placement staff and the database administration staff:

The following information with no connection to your personal information may be shared with potential student and education partners: The following information with no connection to your personal information may be available to public:


questions Actual Host

Q: What should my student call me?

A: This is your choice. It can be formal i.e. Mr or Ms or casual i.e. your given name or simply Mum and Dad.

Q: My student says they have no dirty washing but they have been here for a week.

A: You may have offered to do all your student’s washing but they prefer to do their own. Renegotiate with your student, remembering that female students will not want their underwear on public display. Explain current water restrictions.

Q: My student is using too much water. Is it ok for me to ask them not to do this?

A: Yes, explain the current water restrictions in your area.

Q: I told my student to ‘help themselves’ to food but when I arrived home my student had eaten all the treats in the larder.

A: It is a good idea to keep a container with ‘snacks’ written on it so the student knows exactly what they can take. There can be two containers, one in the larder and one in the fridge.

Q: I told my student to ‘help themselves’ because I was going out but when I arrived home they had not eaten.

A: Some students, especially when they are new to your household, will not do anything that they might get wrong. Consequently they will not take food or use equipment or help with washing up simply because they do not have the skill.

Q: My student said on the Profile that they do not smoke, but I can smell it.

A: Students do not always admit to smoking because they know that in Canada it is not always acceptable. Show your student a place outside that is away from the home where they may smoke and give them a container for cigarette butts. Explain that it is their responsibility to keep the area clean and tidy. Explain they may not smoke in the home.

Q: My student goes drinking with their friends and comes home intoxicated.

A: If your student is over 18 and is well behaved then it should not be a problem. However, if they are causing problems then speak with your Homadorma placement staff. If they are under 18 alcohol is not permitted. If you are a household where alcohol is not acceptable then you contact your Homadorma placement staff and make sure you have indicated this.

Q: My student does not want to help with the washing up after the evening meal.

A: It is possible that your student may not know how to wash up. It may be better to give them a different job to do e.g. clear the table or lay the table prior to the meal.

Q: My student has questioned the ‘use by date’ on packaged and frozen food.

A: If you buy in bulk and freeze or you buy ‘specials’ always check the label is current. It is not advisable to give your student food passed the ‘used by’ date.

Q: If I take my student out do I have to pay for them?

A: If you want to take your student out, explain where you are going and how much it will cost. Your student then has the opportunity to decide whether or not to go with you. Do not expect your student to pay for other members of the family.

Q: Is it ok for me to go in to my student’s room when they are not there.

A: Privacy is important. The student’s room should be private to them during their stay with you. If you plan to clean the room then let the student know when you will do this.

Q: I think there is some money missing from my home (and/or items) and I think my student may be responsible.

A: Contact your Homadorma placement staff in the first instance. It is better that you do not confront the student yourself.

Q: I let my student use my computer but now they are using it all evening and I want to use it myself.

A: Communicate with your student about internet usage. This applies to telephones too.

Q: My student is up nearly all night and disturbing the rest of the household.

A: Many students do this. Students from some countries sleep when they arrive home from school and speak to their friends on their mobiles during the night. Explain to your Student that they must be quiet and not disturb other people. If the behavior continues you may have to give them a time (say 9pm) when they must not make further calls.

Q: My student leaves the light on all night which wastes electricity.

A: Most students do this because they fear spirits. It is best to buy a low wattage bulb or give them a night light.

Q: My student says they are cold/hot.

A: Most of the city Bylaw issue requirements for indoor temperatures. For example, the Toronto Bylaw requires the host to be responsible for providing heat to a residential dwelling so that a minimum air temperature of 21 degrees celsius is maintained from 15th day of September to 1st day of June. If Air conditioning is provided, it should go on from June 2nd to September 14th to maintain an indoor temperature of not more than 26 degrees celsius. For more information, please check local bylaw enforcement.

Q: My student gets home before me each day and I cannot give them access because of our security system.

A: This is a difficult situation but one that has to be negotiated. You cannot expect a student to wait outside your home indefinitely.

Q: What should you do if the student’s parents wish to stay?

A: This is your own decision. Be prepared for the fact that the parents may not speak any English. It is ok to say ‘no’ and ask that they stay in a motel nearby. You can then make arrangements to meet them or invite them to your home. If you agree to them staying and you plan to charge them make it clear to the student how much this will be and what it will cover. Make the family welcome and ask your student to translate for you.

Q: My student asked if they may bring a girl/boy friend home to stay the night. I don’t want my student sleeping with a girl/boy friend in my home.

A: It is your home. Explain to your student that this is not acceptable in your home. However if your student has a friend and they would like to invite this friend to stay overnight i.e. at the weekend, then this should be arranged to suit all parties. Check with your student that their friend has let their Homestay host know.

Q: My student does not come home for several days. They tell me they have a boy/girl friend but their parents want them to stay in homestay.

A: If this concerns you notify your Homadorma placement staff and explain the situation.

Q: What should I do when a student informs me they are leaving?

A: Ask them the exact date and advise your Homadorma placement staff so that any monies due can be finalised. Ask them for their forwarding address so you can send on any mail that arrives for them. Ask them how they will get to their new accommodation and assist them if they need help. This does not mean that you have to transport them but they may need assistance in calling a taxi or getting to the train or bus. There is no need to feel that they do not like you anymore or that you have done something wrong. Students are young people wanting to experience different situations. You can rest assured that when students move on it is because you have given them the confidence to do so.

Q: What should I do on the day that a student leaves?

A: Make sure that the student has paid any outstanding balance.