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Tips & Advice

A reminder to be kind(er)

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As things open up again in the UK, we’re seeing a big shift in the rental market. Last year there were plenty of rooms but hardly anyone looking. Now there's plenty of people looking, especially compared to the number of rooms being advertised.

That can make moving house a fairly stressful situation, especially if you’ve been stuck in the same place for 18 months and really need to move.

We’ve heard from quite a few people over the past month who are feeling that stress, so we wanted to share some thoughts on how we can all help reduce it.

The first thing to consider is that, if you’re the one advertising a room and choosing who gets it, you hold all the cards. You might be going through a stressful time too, but the reality is, you’re in control - you get to decide whether someone gets your room or not. If you’re the person on the other end it can be disheartening to keep getting turned down or, in some cases, not even get a reply to your message, when you can see it’s been read (especially if you’ve been chatting to someone about their room and they stop responding).

The bottom line is, you get to choose who you live with, and that’s how it should be. But there are things you can do to reduce stress all round (whether you're advertising a room or looking for one) which is something everyone probably needs after the past year and a half!

Let people know what's going on

Try and respond to every message, even if it’s just to say the room has been taken or you're no longer looking. There are some neat bulk reply features in the SpareRoom messaging system that let you send a quick auto-response to lots of people in one go, to let others know if you're currently going through enquiries or have let your room. They're available on desktop and the mobile site (not apps yet).

Here's how they look - once you start selecting messages you'll see the bulk reply option appear.

screenshot

You can then reply to multiple people:

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If you’ve been chatting to someone about a room but have decided they’re not right, or you’re going to give it to someone else, make sure you let them know. Communication throughout the process is key.

If the room has gone or you've found somewhere, deactivate your ad (you can do this from the My Ads screen). If you've had lots of responses, you can always take your ad down while you go through them. This stops your inbox filling up with messages you’ll have to respond to or, worse still, just ignore. It also means you won’t leave people wondering if the room’s available or you're still looking.

Put yourself in their position

Try and remember the person you're replying to may well be stressed about finding somewhere to live, so be kind. It’s never nice telling people they can’t have your room, but it’s possible to do it with kindness. Put yourself in their situation and treat them how you’d want to be treated.

Almost all the feedback we get of people feeling like they’ve been treated unfairly are really just down to everyone being stressed and forgetting some of these simple things.

All of this applies if you're looking for a room too. Treat people with kindness and respect and the whole house hunting process will be easier all round. You can't avoid the occasional person who's just a pain to deal with - but you can avoid being that person.

House hunting can be stressful. So can finding a new flatmate. We’ve all been through a difficult year and a half, so every bit of kindness counts double right now. If we all remember that we’ll be fine.

Image credit - Dayne Topkin

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