What is the Raise the Roof campaign?
Raise the Roof is a campaign to get a fair deal from the Treasury for people who choose to rent out a room in their home.
The tax threshold for people renting out a furnished room in their own home hasn’t changed since 1997 and is drastically out of date. It currently stands at £4,250; the campaign would like to see this rise to a minimum £7,500 a year.
Why should the income threshold be raised?
The Rent a Room Scheme was set up in 1992 to encourage people to rent out rooms in their homes. It lets anyone taking in a lodger earn up to £4,250 in rent, tax free. Since this amount was last increased in 1997 it hasn’t changed, yet rents have risen dramatically.
The average rental cost for rooms that are let to a lodger in the UK is £5,593 (£7,667 in London, where demand for shared accommodation is highest); an increase of 103% since 1997. If the allowance had risen in line with inflation the threshold would now be at least £6,500.
If the incentive doesn’t reflect the current market it will stop being an incentive. We need people to keep letting out their rooms.
Who will it help?
Renting out a room is the single most effective way for homeowners to generate extra income and deal with the current cost of living crisis. It can also help towards combating the threat of repossession.
There simply aren’t enough properties available in the UK. More people renting out rooms means a supply of affordable accommodation, largely for the younger generation, but also for the increasing number of 40 and even 50-somethings who can’t afford to rent on their own. With ownership drifting out of the reach of millions we have to provide suitable, affordable alternatives.
Two people living together have a 40% lower carbon footprint (per person) than they would living separately; this rises to 59% for people sharing a 5 bed house.
London and the South-East face acute shortages of affordable housing and businesses are struggling to recruit in these areas. Increased supply keeps rents down and enables people to live where jobs are being created.
Addressing the UKs housing crisis
In 1968, our best year for house building to date, we still only managed to add around 2% to housing stock. We’re not building at anywhere near those levels today so the key (at least in the short term) isn’t how many houses we build - it’s how we use existing stock.
There are an estimated 15 million empty bedrooms in owner occupied properties in England alone. Under-occupancy amongst homeowners stands at 49%, compared to 10% in the social sector and 16% in the private rented sector. If we free up just a fraction of these rooms we’ll have affordable accommodation for hundreds of thousands more people without having to lay a single brick.
Find out more about the Raise the Roof campaign and how you can add your voice to the petition at http://www.spareroom.co.uk/raisetheroof/
Over the past 18 months it’s been widely documented that house prices and rental prices in the UK have been increasing steadily. Here's some more information supplied by Spareroom.co.uk.
Gary’s been in the property business for over 10 years and runs Padshare, a lettings service on a room by room basis in Manchester. He tells Endsleigh why he’s so enthusiastic about renting by the room.