This research report argues that by giving homeowners more incentives to rent out room to lodgers, hundreds of thousands of spare rooms could be made available for rent.
- 160,000 rooms would be made available from a 1% increase in the number of under-occupying homes taking in a lodger
- Taking in a lodger would provide a valuable source of new income for older generations
- Lodgers generally pay less than tenants as they have fewer rights
- The Rent a Room Scheme is a win-win for all generations as the triple whammy of the cost-of-living, energy and inflation crises, bite
- By uprating rent-a-room relief by inflation to £10,000 a year, more under-occupying households would be incentivised to share their homes
- If the government doubled the relief for households who let out more than one room, even more housing supply could be made available during a time of national shortage and help to lower rents more widely
- In 2020–2021 average under-30s households spent 31% of total expenditure on housing. This was before the recent spike in rental prices and 77% more than the average share of expenditure on housing for all households.
- Around 19% of owner-occupiers in England had no savings in 2021 according to the English Housing Survey and taking in a lodger could help with bills.
- More than half of owners under-occupy their homes and more than two-thirds of UK houses are under-occupied. Space inequality has also increased, with owner-occupied homes enjoying a third more space (108m2) on average than privately rented homes (76m2) and almost double the space as a social home. Just 7% of 55–65 year-olds report a lack of outside space compared to 21% of 25–34 year-olds.