A free information service from spareroom.co.uk

Lodgers today

In the past 12 months the lodger has been making something of a comeback. Newspapers, radio and television have all reported the trend and numbers of live in landlords advertising on sites such as www.SpareRoom.co.uk have soared. There are some important socio-economic factors behind this increase as well as some positive benefits resulting from it.

10 years ago lodging, and flatshare in general, was seen as something aimed at young people and students but, as attitudes and circumstances have changed, this perception has had to change too. SpareRoom.co.uk recently reported that 70% of its half a million registered users were young professionals and that the average age of users was 33. There are several factors influencing this sea change.

UK house prices have continued to rise at a greater rate than salaries and the average London property is now well over 10x the average salary in the capital. This means that, even borrowing 5 times their joint salary, the average couple would struggle to buy, so single buyers stand next to no chance without some kind of financial assistance. In addition many young people graduate with a sizeable amount of debt. The net result is that many, if not most, young professionals share for longer as they pay off student debt and try to get a deposit together. Those who can afford to buy often need to take in a lodger to help with the mortgage.

It's not just economic factors influencig this trend. In general people are waiting longer to settle down and take the big life decisions such as marriage, children and buying a property. This '30s are the new 20s' mentality is leading to many 25-35 year olds remaining single and, consequently, being unable to afford to buy or rent a property on their own.

The result of all this is more and more people either sharing for longer or taking in lodgers. This has led to a real increase in the quality of rental accommodation both offered and expected. Whilst many can't afford to buy they are still financially indepedent and, often, several years past wanting to live in a student house. Now you're more likely to see room adverts listing 'wi-fi broadband' or 'plasma TV with surround sound' than the once-ubiquitous gch (gas central heating) - such things are taken for granted these days.