One in six shared rental properties in the UK is does not have a living room as landlords attempt to maximise returns and tenants look to reduce rents, new research shows.
According to the survey of more than 10,000 users on SpareRoom.co.uk, 16 per cent of shared homes either lack a living room or have seen it converted into an additional bedroom.
Buy to let landlords can maximise returns by ensuring that all space is used in shared properties while tenants believe they can pay less if a greater number of people are sharing.
The latest figures are comparable with a similar survey three years ago when ten per cent of shared properties lacked a living room.
In London, demand for rooms in houses and flat shares is at its highest point, with ten people searching for every available room. Of those shared properties, 19 per cent have no living room while 17 per cent of Londoners share bedrooms to reduce costs.
Not all of those people are couples either with five per cent of sharers bunking with a roommate to bring down rental payments.
Beyond the capital, Glasgow and Liverpool were the cities most unlikely to have shared properties without a living room – found in 16 per cent of cases.
Landlords looking to maximise returns on their buy to let investments is one reason for converting living quarters into bedrooms but the research shows tenants are also having their say. Living with more people can reduce rents and 69 per cent of people in shared accommodation say they would live without a living room if it meant paying less. This could be a key driver behind an increase reported in the number of sharers who live in properties with four or more people – growing from 34 per cent to 38 per cent in the past three years.
Room rents in London for two and three-bedroom flat and house shares are 14 per cent more expensive on average than rooms in four to six-plus bedroom shares and this could be influencing market trends.
“The demise of the living room is symptomatic of the private rented sector struggling to cope with intense demand, and it’s not simply a case of landlords chasing higher yields,” explained director of SpareRoom.co.uk, Matt Hutchinson.
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