The number of people searching for a room to rent in owner-occupied homes in London has increased by 25 per cent in a year. But the typical Londoners letting a room are no longer older couples whose children have flown the nest, but professionals in their twenties or thirties seeking a way of paying their bills.
A new survey shows 9,137 people were looking for a room in March in London, compared with 7,332 in the same period last year. “Renting a room is cheaper than renting on your own, and sharing bills makes things easier,” says Matt Hutchinson, director of spareroom.co.uk. “Everyone is squeezed at the moment and we calculate that it is 121 per cent more expensive to rent on your own, if you also include bills.”
The number of people advertising rooms to let has also increased, from 36,597 in March 2012 to 43,261 in the same month in 2013.
“We do get the cliché – older couples looking for lodgers once their children have gone to university,” said Hutchinson. “But the biggest growth area is young professionals, either single people or young couples in their twenties and thirties who own their own flat and are renting out a spare room to make some money.”
The news comes as rents in London hit an all-time high. Figures published by the Government’s Valuation Office Agency in February found the average rent in the capital rose by nine per cent in 2012 (roughly three times the rate of inflation) to £1,196-a-month.
Almost a third of London house sharers, according to spareroom.co.uk, would like to buy a property but cannot afford to do so. Four in ten say they are not able to save for a house deposit, and also believe it will take over five years to raise the capital for a deposit.
The researchers also asked house sharers what were their housemates’ most irritating habits. Number one was getting intimate with a partner with no regard for noise levels, followed by unhygienic bathroom habits. Failure to take out the bins, attempting to convert flatmates to religion, and failing to do their fair share of the cleaning also rated highly.
Top 10 most annoying flatmate habits:
1. Loud sex
2. Peeing not restricted to the toilet bowl
3. Ability to ignore overflowing bins
4. Attempting to convert flatmates to God
5. Not doing any cleaning, ever
6. Playing loud music in the early hours
7. Hoarding mugs and glasses in bedrooms
8. Moving other people into the flatshare without asking
9. Leaving dirty underwear in the middle of the kitchen floor
10. Stealing deliveries made to other flatmates