SpareRoom reports a massive rise in shared accommodation adverts

SpareRoom reports a massive rise in shared accommodation adverts

10:14 AM, 26th September 2012, About 12 years ago 5

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House shares with six or more bedrooms are the fastest-growing property type on the SpareRoom website as landlords react to increased demand for lower rents. But as the cost of living soars and demand for rooms in larger properties increases, the trend could lead to a growth in unlicensed ‘houses in multiple occupation’ (HMOs).

Over the past year, SpareRoom has seen a 59% surge in rooms available in bigger house shares with six or more bedrooms, a 51% increase in rooms in five-bedroom house shares and a 43% rise in rooms in four-bedroom house shares. In London, SpareRoom’s figures show a massive 79% hike in rooms in properties with six or more bedrooms and a 74% increase for rooms in five-bedroom properties.

Larger flat shares are becoming more prolific in the current financial climate as people look to reduce rental and living costs. In the UK as a whole, room rents for two and three-bedroom flat and house shares cost an average £426 per month, while rooms in four to six-plus bedroom house shares cost an average £397 per month, according to rental figures from SpareRoom. That’s a saving of £348 per year on rent. In London, the average monthly rent for a room in a two-bedroom flat share is £809, but in a house share with six bedrooms or more, tenants will pay just £710, a sizeable saving of £99 per month or £1,188 per year.

But this surge in supply could lead to a growth in unlicensed ‘houses in multiple occupation’ (HMOs). Landlords of larger properties have extra legal responsibilities and must register with the relevant council for a licence if they have five or more unrelated people sharing and the property is at least three storeys high. In some cases, local authorities can demand licensing for other types of property. This is why it is important that any landlords keen to enter this growth market familiarise themselves with the regulations surrounding HMOs, before they rush to rent out larger properties to sharers.

Matt Hutchinson, director of, comments: “Faced with stubbornly high living costs, jobs uncertainty and, in many cases, reduced incomes, renters are increasingly looking to make savings wherever they can, and sharing a larger property with more people is a simple way to do that. Not only is the rent cheaper, but monthly bills are lower when divided amongst a bigger group, too.

“Landlords can reap higher yields from larger properties and tend to rent by the room in bigger house shares, as it can be difficult to find a big enough group of sharers that will move in altogether, unless their property is located in a university town or city and they are targeting the student market.

“Landlords of larger properties should check if they require an HMO licence, so that their property meets the appropriate fire safety standards. There is useful information about HMOs on website

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14:44 PM, 27th September 2012, About 12 years ago

Surge in availability does rather equate to lower not higher demand - perhaps from the student sector (given the time of year) not being fully taken up this year.

16:19 PM, 27th September 2012, About 12 years ago

The actual change recorded by SpareRoom shows a faster growth in large properties being advertised compared with smaller properties, which is in response to demand. Alongside more rooms in multi-bedded houses being offered, there are also more roomseekers using the site to rent the rooms, but that data won't show demand for a particular size of property.

2:21 AM, 28th September 2012, About 12 years ago

Surely these properties for sharing are illegal HMO's.
spareroom should not permit houseshare ads if no HMO licence is available.
These houseshares are obviously getting cheaper rental costs as the LL is not complying HMO regs.
How will councils identify all the illegal houseshares which should be licenced HMO's?
This is unfair competition for LL who have gone to the expense to ensure their houseshare is fully compliant with HMO regs.

11:57 AM, 28th September 2012, About 12 years ago

Paul, there is no indication that SpareRoom's listings are full of illegal HMOs at all, that's a false conclusion to draw, I believe. The reason they are cheaper per room is because more people are sharing common facilities. Most landlords do follow the regulations, but tenants should be aware of the regulations and challenge landlords who appear not to follow them, for the sake of their own safety.

7:24 AM, 29th September 2012, About 12 years ago

Would it not be better that the ad indicates whether the property is an HMO.
If not then surely occupants using common facilities is an HMO!!!
I'm not too sure about all HMO regs.
I have heard that on gumtree ads are going in for the same type shared house.
These are HMO's as far as I was aware.
It is a confusing situation and I can see tenants not being aware of the way things should be with a large shared property.
Do councils have different definitions of what they consider is a HMO!?

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