Happy New Year. Or not…

2015

If you’re like most of us, you’ll be thinking about how you can improve yourself and your lifestyle in 2015. You may want to get fitter, find a new job or perhaps even get on the property ladder. You might also have financial resolutions – to save more or to get rid of debt.

One financial resolution we’ll bet you’re not considering is to pay more rent. Yet one in four landlords plan to raise their rents in 2015. Not the news you were hoping for, is it?

Nevertheless, many of you predicted it. When we asked you what you expect to happen to your rent in 2015 here’s what you said:

37% thought it would go up by more than 3%
13% said up by less than 3%
29% expected it to stay the same
An optimistic 22% thought their rent would go down

In reality, the news isn’t all bad. Over half (55%) of landlords won’t be increasing rents this year and 5% will even lower them.

What worries us though, is the threat that rents could rise by more than 3%. In 2014 average UK room rents rose 8%, from £505 to £546. If rents rise by 8% again next year, that will mean an extra £44 a month.

This is something you’ve told us you simply can’t afford – more than half (56%) of you say you’d be forced to find alternative, cheaper accommodation if your rent went up by up to £40 per month.

So what can you do if your rent does go up?

If your landlord suggests a rent rise that you don’t think is justified or your can’t afford:

Check your contract. If it’s a fixed term contract and the fixed-term isn’t up, the landlord isn’t allowed to increase the rent, unless there’s a clause stating so.

Negotiate. This could be an ideal opportunity to negotiate with your landlord. Perhaps ask for bills to be included in the rent or for property improvements. You can’t lose anything by asking.

Are you expecting your rents to increase? What will you do? Tell us

 

What we’ve learned about housing in 2014… from you

We carry out a lot of surveys every year on SpareRoom.co.uk, ranging from a quick Friday afternoon poll on who does the cleaning in your house, right up to our huge Flatshare Census. Thanks to all of you who took part and took the time to let us know what you think.

Perhaps the most insight you’ve given us is that 97% of you don’t think the Government is doing enough to make housing affordable.

It’s not difficult to see why. Based on the 10,300 responses to our 2014 Flatshare Census:

18% of you don’t EVER expect to buy your own home. A further 18% don’t expect to be able to buy for at least ten years.

22% of you spend more than 50% of your income on rent and 29% consider your rent unaffordable.

We also learned that 21% of flatshares don’t have living rooms and 5% of flatsharers even share a bedroom (with someone other than their partner).

It’s not all been doom and gloom though – you’ve also made us smile. When we asked who you’d rather live with, 63% of you said a flatmate who never speaks rather than one who never shuts up.

We also asked about the cleaning rota. 48% admitted the same person or people end up doing all of the housework and 20% said ‘What’s housework? We have a cleaner’.

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So, a big thank you for all you’ve taught us in 2014. Enjoy the Christmas break and we’ll see you in 2015 (with plenty more questions, of course).