Raise the Roof campaign

22 Jul 2014

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tax threshold for people renting out a furnished room in their own home hasn’t changed since 1997 and is drastically out of date.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.

  • If the allowance had risen in line with inflation the threshold would now be at least £6,500
  • The average UK rent for rooms let to a lodger is £5,593 a year (£7,667 in London)
  • Renting out a room is the single biggest step struggling homeowners can take to avoid arrears and repossession
  • Encouraging people to rent out rooms provides a vital source of quality, affordable rental accommodation


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?

  • Homeowners

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.

  • Renters

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.

  • The environment

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.

  •  The economy

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/


Written by: Spareroom.co.uk connect people looking for rooms to rent with those needing to fill them. Specialising in room rentals, SpareRoom.co.uk is the UK’s busiest flatshare website. Flatsharers, homeowners, landlords and agents can all advertise their rooms and find good tenants easily, quickly and with minimum fuss. 


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