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Join London's room renting bonanza - but take precautions

30th of March, 2011

  • Croydon is a new hotspot for lodgers
  • 21% of Londoners say they never trust someone renting their property
  • Households renting rooms have increased by 162% since 2007
  • 200,000 additional room renters in 2010
  • 192.com advise background checking your lodger

As home owners take advantage of the Government's tax free rent-a-room scheme or earn extra cash to pay off the mortgage, identity-checking experts 192.com advise live-in landlords to background check their lodger.

The warning came as a London poll found 21% admitting to 'never' trusting a tenant when exchanging money. Eighteen percent of Londoners said they never trusted landlords in the same context. The survey also found that 11% of 25-34 year-olds would lie about their profession to create a better impression, and one in ten Londoners said they are less than truthful about their marital status.

Dominic Blackburn, Product Director of 192.com said: "Take personal responsibility for background checking who you're going to share your home with by using 192.com to confirm the lodger's employment, marital status, and age. You can also use 192.com to trace the lodger's previous landlord to get a reference."

Landlords can use 192.com to

  • Utilise 200 million edited electoral roll records to trace a previous landlord and cross-check a reference.
  • Background check a lodger's employee: use 192.com's 4.5 million business records to check if the employer is a genuine business, and obtain their contact details.
  • Access residential listings displaying age guides, and see how compatible your lodger is with your age parameters.
  • Find out who a potential renter is currently living with, check their marital status and discover if you're effectively renting out your room to more than one person.

192.com's advice comes as the UK's leading flat and house share website, Spareroom.co.uk noted a 167% rise in lodgers since 2007.

Spareroom.co.uk also identified London's top postcodes to rent a room in, by counting online viewings of room advertisements for each postcode between 2009 and 2011. The website noted Croydon's rising popularity, signaled with the CRO postcode. The E14 postcode, encompassing the Docklands and Bromley by Bow is consistently popular for renters. A popular addition in 2011 was N4, encompassing Islington and Finsbury Park. Meanwhile, the South East of the capital is the least attractive for those looking for a spare room.

2011 2010 2009
1 E14 E14 E14
2 E1 E1 E1
3 SW19 SW11 SW19
4 CR0 SW19 SW16
5 N1 SW15 SW17
6 SW6 SW6 SW11
7 SW16 SW2 SE16
8 SW11 SW16 SW2
9 SW18 N1 SW18
10 SW17 CR0 N1
11 NW6 SW17 NW10
12 E17 SE16 E17
13 SE1 E17 NW2
14 E3 NW2 SW15
15 N4 SE1 W3

According to Spareroom.co.uk, 2010 was a record year for renting out a room, with 200,000 more UK households putting their room on the market and new live-in landlord advertisements in the latter part of 2010 being 44% higher than the end of 2009.

"A lack of affordable housing means demand for room is a higher than ever before," explains Matt Hutchinson, Director of Spareroom.co.uk. "Many cash-strapped homeowners are taking in lodgers to avoid falling in to arrears and this has prompted an increase in new live-in landlords over the past 18 months," he adds.

Sarah Stoddart from Hanwell is renting out a room to pay her son's university tuition fees: "Our lodger is excellent but we were nervous about who we were letting into the house: although he can lock his bedroom door on us we can't lock the door on him."

As part of her background check, Mrs Stoddart wanted to know if her lodger had a full-time job, and accepted an employer's reference: "I also wanted to check his age, because I had a younger age limit of 25 for men" she said.

Elaine Sutton, 50, from Devon had a more testing experience, renting her room to a woman whose uncertain employment led to requests for rent deferrals, and a man who, "lied about everything... I didn't even know he had a wife until she rang up."

"If you're thinking about taking in a lodger don't rush the process," says Mr Hutchinson of Spareroom.co.uk. "Make sure you understand all the practical and legal considerations. It's important to notify your insurer and your mortgage lender, draw up a tenancy agreement and conduct the appropriate checks."

Conduct a lodger check by going to identity check to access edited electoral data, age guides, employer details, and trace a previous landlord.

Notes To Editor:

A guide to renting out your room can be accessed here: www.spareroom.co.uk/lodger.

For more information contact the 192.com Press Office.

192.com

192.com is the UK's most awarded online directory, helping find people, businesses and places for four million users every month. On 192.com, users can search almost 700 million records including free directory enquiries, electoral roll information, local business records, interactive mapping, aerial photography and property reports. 192.com has won best online at the 118 Tracker awards for the past seven years and was described at as 'the site that changed the web for ever' by Net Magazine. 192.com has launched i192, a free app for iPhones supplying free directory enquiries.

192.com survey

Spareroom.co.uk is the UK's leading flat and house-share website with 1.7million registered users.

For more information contact the 192.com Press Office.