More live-in landlords put their spare rooms to use

The number of live-in landlords has increased by 19% in the last six months, with a 5% increase between January and February, according to flatsharing website Easyroommate.

It said that in February the number of live-in landlords – home-owners trying to let out spare rooms – rose to 34% of the total number of Easyroommate users currently searching for flatmates.

Director Jonathan Moore said: “With the vast number of home owners looking to boost their incomes during the recession, a growing number are waking up to the income trapped in their spare rooms. This is also compounded by the vast majority of people reluctant to downsize due to the loss of equity in their homes.”
Average flat share rental asking prices across the UK have also remained consistently at £368 for the last three months, following a marked increase in rents towards the end of 2011.

Rents in London have bucked the trend, increasing steadily since last September to stand at £542 per month.

A similar picture is painted by the website Spareroom.

It reported a big spike in lodger registration numbers in early January, resulting in almost 6,000 home owners renting out spare rooms by the end of the month.

January was a record month for new lodger numbers, up 15% on the previous record month last August. New lodger numbers in January were also up 83% on December 2011 and 22% higher than January 2010.
The site says that with families struggling to keep on top of their mortgage payments, utility bills and accumulating personal debts, renting out a spare room on a short or longer-term basis has proved an easy way to earn extra income.

It puts the average UK room rent at £398 per month, and in London £677 per month.
Matt Hutchinson, Spareroom director, said: “It’s not surprising that the lodger population is expanding so rapidly as home owners look for ways to boost their incomes.

“With the Government’s Rent A Room scheme allowing people to earn the first £4,250 per year without declaring any tax on the income, it is still one of the easiest ways to earn some extra cash.

“For some people, the monthly income from a lodger will be the difference between losing their home and keeping it.

“In parts of the country such as London, where demand for rented accommodation is soaring, live-in landlords are helping to ease the pressure on the rental market by providing an additional supply of rooms to meet increasing tenant demand.”