Great new London area info tool

Where to live in London

Choosing an area in London can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you’re new to the city. Most people either end up in one of the few areas they’ve heard of or choose somewhere based on where their frinds are or to be near work. There’s nothing like a bit of local knowledge though when it comes to living in a new city – luckily, with hundreds of thousands of Londoners using SpareRoom every year we’re not short on local knowledge.

So, to take advantage of this (and make things easier for you), we’ve now added a new ‘area info’ feature to SpareRoom’s London ads. This shows you the average monthly rents for a single and double room in the area (including bills), plus a handy list of the tube and train stations you’ll find there. The best bit though is information on what each area is like based on real feedback from SpareRoom users who live there. Whether you’re looking for somewhere leafy, chilled, good for pubs or multi-cultural we’ve taken the recommendations of thousands of Londoners to help you decide where to live.

Every London ad on SpareRoom now has an area info link (next to the postcode at the top of the details):

.

.

Click the link and it’ll take you to the info for the area in question (in the example the area is Brixton).

.

.

If you know the area already there’s even a link so you can tell us what you think.

Happy hunting – don’t forget to come back and let us know what you think of your area once you’ve moved in!

Cheers

Matt

Raise the Roof campaign update

After more than a year of campaigning for an increase to the Rent a Room Scheme tax threshold it looks like this won’t be happening any time soon. We always knew it would be tricky to convince the government to tackle this issue head on but, despite a negative outcome, there has been much to be proud of.

Not only did we manage to bring the issue to the attention of the housing minister (both the current minister and his predecessor) we also had the opportunity to meet with Treasury officials and make them aware of the need for change, even if that change doesn’t happen now. In a time of severe cuts across the board it was always going to be tricky to get this through.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank every single one of you who signed our petition, urged your MP to sign the EDM and helped us with anecdotal evidence. We’d also like to thank Shelter, Sarah Beeny, The National Landlords Association, Landlordzone and Zoopla for their support for the campaign.

Having made inroads and helped raise awareness this is an issue we will be returning to – after all, the out of date tax allowance will only become further undervalued as time progresses.

In the meantime thanks to all of you, we really do appreciate your help.

Cheers

Matt

Win a month’s free rent plus signed CDs and gig tickets

To celebrate the launch of Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo’s new album Almanac (which SpareRoom.co.uk helped to fund – more details here) we’re running a competition. Alongside our regular Live Rent Free competition we’ll be giving away signed copies of the CD and two sets of tickets to the gig of your choice on the band’s upcoming UK tour.

The winner will receive a month’s free rent* plus a signed CD; two runners up will receive a signed CD and two tickets to the gig of their choice and two further winners will get a signed copy of the CD. Entry is open to all SpareRoom.co.uk users as well as those on Emily’s own mailing list.

To enter all you need to do is enter the competition on SpareRoom.co.uk, where you will also find full details of how to improve your chances of winning with additional free entries

Good luck!

* The prize is the average rent for a double room (including bills) in the winner’s postcode – calculated according to SpareRoom’s Room Rental Index

SpareRoom.co.uk helps Emily Barker fund her latest album

We’ve known Emily Barker and the members of her band The Red Clay Halo for a while now – a couple of us have played in bands with accordion player Gill Sandell for the past 10 years and we regularly ran into Emily at gigs along the way. The band’s last album, Despite The Snow (recorded over a snowy Easter weekend of 2008 in a 16th century barn in Norfolk) was one of our favourites on the office stereo last year and we weren’t alone:

“Stripped free of studio frippery and all the better for its carefree simplicity” **** – Q Magazine

“The hills have yet to be emptied of gold if you know where to look.” – The Times

When we were chatting to Emily and the band about the follow-up we discovered they were aiming to raise all the funding themselves so were more than happy to get involved and lend them a substantial chunk of the budget to get things moving.

That was back in spring/summer 2009 and we’re pleased to say the album is now ready to go. We’ve had an advance copy to listen to and are happy to report that the songs are every bit as beautiful as the artwork (see right).

To celebrate we’re going to be giving away 5 signed copies of the CD along with tickets to 2 shows on Emily’s upcoming UK tour and….a month’s free rent!

Emily says “The Red Clay Halo and I know the SpareRoom guys through the alternative folk music scenes of London and Cambridge. Gill Sandell (Red Clay Halo accordionist and flautist) has played in bands with Rupert and Matt and we’ve shared many a summer stage with them.  SpareRoom.co.uk have very generously helped us fund our latest self-released album ‘Almanac’ which is due for release on February 7th. We hope you enjoy it.”

Watch this space for details of the competition in a few days time