A birthday win for Andy

Our latest winner of the Live Rent Free Competition, run by SpareRoom every month for the last few years, is Andy McSkimming. Not only was Andy lucky enough to be picked out of our enormous hat, he was jammy enough to get the news on his birthday! Andy won with one of his 31 loyalty entries – yes that’s 31! – which are extra free entries we give out for entering the competition regularly.

Congratulations to Andy, who lives in SW17 (Tooting) in London, and wins £585 – the average rent for a double room inclusive of bills in his area, according to the SpareRoom Rental Index.

Andy responded to the announcement with delight, saying:

“This is absolutely fantastic news! I’ve diligently entered this competition for a few years now and not only did this news come through on my birthday, but I’m also in the process of looking to move from SW London to the East, so the news is both wonderful and amazingly timely. I’ve loved sharing over the years with friends, strangers who became friends, and also living on my own, but sharing for me is my preferred living style. Not only can it help keep costs down but, when you get the right bunch of people together, it really gives me a great sense of a home feeling; somewhere to truly relax in and not just somewhere people are living together in a house!”

Andy’s prize takes the total we’ve given away in the past 41 months to £25,676.15!

Live Rent Free in October

Our Live Rent Free in October competition is now open so Enter Now for your chance to win October’s rent.

Don’t forget, if you entered last month’s competition, you’ll get an extra entry added if you enter this month, virtually doubling your chances. You’ll get 3 entries next month and 4 the month after so it really pays to keep entering. At SpareRoom we believe it’s good to share, so for every friend who enters, you’ll get another free entry.

Enter Now

(Closing date is 12PM 30th Sep)

Why proposals to extend tenancies might not be welcome

Recent proposals published by The Housing Voice Alliance, in their report into ways to fix the ‘broken’ housing market, include extending tenure in the private rental sector from six months to 24.  The call was intended to improve security of tenure, particularly for families with children, who are currently vulnerable to eviction at the end of a fixed tenancy and have a need for greater stability. But could this proposal have a negative impact on a growing contingent of tenants in the private rental sector?

A SpareRoom.co.uk poll conducted over the last couple of days has revealed a strong preference amongst flatsharers for shorter tenancies. Mostly young professionals in their twenties and thirties, over 300 tenants have voiced their opinion so far, with nearly 80% saying they would view the proposals negatively.

Our Facebook page has received a torrent of comments on the subject, explaining why flatsharers are coming out against the proposals:

“That could be totally impractical for a lot of people who rent. Especially younger people who are maybe working their way up the job ladder and may need to move to different locations based on their work,” says one respondent.

However, the response also reveals a lack of understanding of current tenancy contracts. Many flatsharers are worried about the implications of an extended contract, and see themselves as being locked into a tenancy, with the landlord having clear rein to increase the rent at any time.

They clearly don’t want to feel stuck, as one of the benefits of flatsharing is the flexibility to move when your circumstances change. Many feel such a move would hand too much control to the landlord, and a handful even suggested shorter tenancies of just three months would suit them better.

Sharers also raise interesting points about wider implications that may not have been anticipated by the authors of the report. Could a 24 month tenancy place further restrictions on who is accepted as a tenant, with perhaps stricter rules on deposits and guarantors coming in, as landlords seek to reduce their risk? This, as one of SpareRoom’s flatsharers points out, could lead to a lot of people finding it harder to get a tenancy agreement in the first place, and further exacerbate the housing crisis.

As more and more young people are sharing, whilst the options of renting alone or buying a home outright remain closed to them for the foreseeable future, policy makers and leaders of the housing sector would do well to note their worries and frustrations. Not everyone in the rental market is a family looking for security of tenure. And if the employment market is to be truly mobile and flexible, the housing market might also need to reflect this reality.