Renting in the UK is a costly business these days. With rents rising across the country, and particularly in areas like London, many commentators are predicting that some renters are likely to be priced out of the market in the years to come. In fact, unless we see a huge amount of affordable housing built, or some sort of cap applied to rents then renting in the UK could become almost completely unaffordable, not just for those on lower incomes but for mid-income earners too.
However, it’s not all bleak news, as there are some people who are looking at renting in new and unusual ways. A recent feature in the Guardian highlighted some tenants who are taking a more unusual approach to putting a roof over their heads for a cost that is significantly less than paying market rent. We blogged about a similarly creative solution not that long ago, reporting on one East London property that was renting out a shed in the living room as a bedroom. While we wouldn’t recommend this as an option – in the same way that we wouldn’t advise you to opt for sharing a room with a strange landlord, or paying to sleep on a sofa – there were some options in the Guardian article that had much more sensible appeal.
Barter your skills. There plenty of homes with empty rooms in London – and all over the country – and if you’re happy to be a lodger rather than a tenant then you might well be able to barter some of your skills for a roof over your head. Obviously, carpenters, plumbers and decorators are likely to be the most popular skills to offer in exchange for paying rent but they are not the only ones. The Guardian article took the example of a young woman who had provided companionship in exchange for a room in the home of a 91 year old lady.
Live in a commune. The idea of communal living is associated with hippies and hemp robes but it’s actually a great way of cutting your living costs. It’s also something that the Danish have turned into the norm and it now provides a large proportion of the population of that pragmatic country, not just with somewhere to live, but with support and camaraderie too.
Be a building caretaker. There are a huge number of empty properties in cities around the UK and security companies that are tasked with looking after buildings will often bring in tenants to act as caretakers of the building before new occupiers arrive. While this can mean some pretty unconventional arrangements, it’s a great use of a building that’s just sitting empty and can result some great experiences and of course super cheap rent. One caretaker tenant in London was quoted in the Guardian article as paying £280 a month in an area where rents are around the £1,500 a month mark. Although not a permanent solution, this type of renting could be very useful if saving for a deposit or to build up an advance rent payment on your own place.
These are just a few of the more unusual ideas for beating the rent squeeze in the UK – can you think of any other equally creative solutions?
This article is provided as a guide. Any information should be used for research purposes and not as the base for taking legal action. The Tenants' Voice does not provide legal advice and our content does not constitute a client-solicitor relationship.
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