Jump in numbers renting out spare room

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The Independent Online

There has been a 27 per cent jump in the number of people looking to rent out a spare room since the beginning of the year, research showed today.

House share website Spareroom.com said 2,487 people had placed adverts on its website looking for lodgers during the first two weeks of January, 27 per cent more than during the same period of 2009.

It said the number of adverts posted since the beginning of January was already higher than during the whole of December last year.

Two-thirds of people who are looking to take in a lodger said it was because their finances were overstretched, and the extra cost of Christmas had forced them to take action.

The group said it had seen a record number of people advertising for lodgers during 2009, and it expected the trend to continue this year.

The average weekly rent charged for a room in a shared property is currently £87, the equivalent of £4,524 a year, the first £4,250 of which is tax-free under the Government's rent-a-room scheme.

Matt Hutchinson, director of Spareroom.co.uk, said: "It seems that Christmas has acted as a tipping point for many homeowners whose finances have been stretched to the limit by the impact of the recession.

"With Christmas over and done with, homeowners are using the start of a new year as the motivation to get their finances in order.

"As a result, we have seen unprecedented levels of live-in landlords advertising in the first two weeks of 2010."