How people in East Anglia are looking to lodgers, while parents are giving up rooms for their children

New figures have shown how increasing numbers of people are taking in lodgers, or handing over their biggest rooms to their children. Photo: Rui Vieira/PA Wire. New figures have shown how increasing numbers of people are taking in lodgers, or handing over their biggest rooms to their children. Photo: Rui Vieira/PA Wire.

Thursday, July 31, 2014
11:50 AM

An increasing number of householders are choosing to rent out their spare room to a lodger to supplement their income - with those who do so in East Anglia bringing in around £2,750 a year, according to a new survey.

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And almost one in three parents have sacrificed the biggest bedroom in the house to their children, according to a separate study into “space-starved” families.

The rise in lodgers was revealed in a study by insurance firm LV=, which named the East Anglia region as one of the hot-spots for renting out rooms.

They said it typically takes a mere five days for homeowners in East Anglia to get spare rooms filled - quicker than the national figure of eight days.

Where lodgers have moved in, East Anglian homeowners pocket an average monthly income of £228 a month, which adds up to £2,748 a year.

The UK average is £3,003, with those in London profiting the most from renting out spare rooms. Their average annual income tops £4,000.

But Selwyn Fernandes, managing director of LV= home insurance, warned the extra cash could come at a cost. He said: “While renting out a room to lodgers can be a great source of income, homeowners might be unwittingly invalidating their home insurance, leaving property and possessions at risk.

“All those considering taking in a lodger should vet potential tenants carefully and make sure they have suitable insurance in place.”

Meanwhile, another report highlighted how, with the average size of a home having decreased “dramatically”, parents have been giving up their biggest rooms for their children.

The Post Office survey showed some 31pc of adults living with children under the age of 18 said they have squeezed into a smaller room themselves in order to allow their offspring some extra space.

One fifth of families questioned said their children share bedrooms, and of these, almost half said their children have no other choice but to sleep in the same room as their siblings because space is too tight.

Children were most likely to be found sharing bedrooms at around the ages of four to six years old and least likely between the ages of 14 and 18.

The Post Office said its findings showed the “struggle for room” among “space-starved” households and highlighted figures from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors showing the average size of a home has decreased “dramatically” over the last 90 years, from 1,647 square feet to 925 square feet.

John Willcock, head of mortgages at the Post Office, said: “With the average house size continuing to shrink, and with many family homes often lacking a garden, it’s hardly surprising that so many of us are concerned about this lack of space and the impact it will have on our children.

“Unfortunately, the reality of the situation means a lot of families feel like they’re letting their children down by not being able to provide them with their own room, or playroom where they can study or play.

“As a result a number of parents are making sacrifices and giving up larger rooms in the home to children.”

A separate report released earlier this week by charity Shelter highlighted the struggle for young adults to move out of the home they grew up in.

Shelter, which is urging stronger action to help the “clipped wing” generation fly the nest, found that nearly two million working young adults aged between 20 and 34 years old in England are still living with their parents.

• For tomorrow’s papers, we’re looking for case studies of people in Norfolk who have taken in lodgers and to speak to parents who have given up their bedrooms for their children.

If you can help then please call Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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