The majority of people who flat share tend to be students or eager young professionals who’ve moved to a new city to find work. Rarely do you find married couples renting a room in a shared flat.
Or at least that’s how it used to be. Today it’s a different story thanks to millions of young couples being priced out of the first-homes market – not through the rising costs of property (in fact it’s coming down) but the inability to access mortgage finance.
Recent benefit changes which are set to come into force in April this year are also expected to increase the shared room market by around ten per cent over the next two years. Certainly, here at www.housepals.co.uk we’re gearing up for it.
It all centres on the government’s decision to increase the age for people who can claim benefit for their own house or flat from 25 to 35 years of age. Thousands of people are expected to be turned down and will instead look to renting a room in a shared tenancy.
If you’re part of a couple it’s not the greatest start to married life or a budding lifelong partnership. But it’s unavoidable today and, let’s face it, definitely a step up from living at home with the parents.
Jenny Stevenson, 27, moved into an apartment with her fiancée Alan, 28, in August 2011. The home, in Wimbledon, is shared with one other woman, Moira, 54.
“We didn’t have a choice,” said Jenny. “We wanted to stay in Wimbledon but no way could we afford the deposits mortgage companies were asking for and at our age we weren’t prepared to move back home. There was nothing else for it in the short term but to rent a room and save up.”
Jenny and Alan spent just two weeks looking at rented rooms in shared properties before finding Moira’s house and liking it straight away. When they learned that she was employed as a nursing sister at a nearby hospital and worked ‘unsociable’ hours such as nights and weekends, it signed the deal.
“It’s actually ideal,” added Jenny. “Alan and I have office-based jobs and are timetables are similar so although we don’t see a lot of Moira, we are often in the house together just ourselves.
“Having said that on the few occasions where we have all spent a night in the house together, Moira has been great company. And, of course, it’s always nice knowing there’s a nurse in the house!
“We love flat sharing and would recommend it to anyone who’s hesitating right now about taking the plunge to a shared room tenancy. If you’re not sure you’re going to like it, just sign for six months then move on it if doesn’t work out until you’ll find a home that does. We certainly did.”