How shared renting can boost finances and enrich your life

Shared renting can not only help eliminate Australia’s rental crisis, but provide a mutually beneficial opportunity to enrich lives.

Ludwina Dautovic says if you have a spare bedroom in your home, then you have an under-utilised resource.

On Property Hub’s Get Invested podcast, the entrepreneur talked to Bushy Martin about how shared renting is not only the key to avoiding the ‘worst rental crisis and housing shortage Australia has ever seen’, but an opportunity for social responsibility, companionship and community.

What is influencing Australia’s housing crisis?

The latest census has identified that Australia has over one million empty homes and 13 million unused bedrooms. According to a recent Australian Housing Urban Research Institute report, almost 60% of households aged 55 and over have two or more spare bedrooms, while 30% of households aged 22 – 44 have two unused rooms.

To top off the issue, rent prices have increased by nearly 15% in capital cities and 17% for rents in units. This has resulted in the fastest and steepest annual rent rate increase ever recorded.

Bushy explained these changes have had significant impacts on the population.

“As a consequence, renting is becoming an increasingly dire situation, especially for low income earners, essential workers, people on disability support, older people on the age pension and aged care workers, which is sadly forcing them into smaller or more remote accommodation, share accommodation and for some homelessness, which means living in tents or in the back of their cars,” he said.

What opportunities does rent sharing provide?

Ludwina highlighted the benefits of rent sharing for a variety of individuals and groups.

For home owners, there’s a big opportunity to earn some much needed income by renting out a room.

For investors, there’s opportunities to re-purpose properties to create more income.

For tenants, the benefits are financial and social.

“This is about an equal and mutually beneficial relationship. It could be for someone who’s feeling lonely, or perhaps someone who has an elderly parent who’s concerned about them being at home alone (as long as they don’t require personal care),” she said.

“I think our eldest household was a 99 year old in Brisbane, and she just loved the fact that she could age at home and be around her friends and her community.

“So if you have a young family and you need some random childcare, but you don’t want an au pair because it’s very expensive to actually hire someone on an hourly basis, particularly before and after school care, then this option could be suitable for someone. Or there are many women over 50 who are recently divorced and just starting to get back on their feet. I’ve also seen lots of single dads as well wanting to share the home with someone. So there are a number of different scenarios. There’s no right or wrong reason, as long as both parties are happy.”

What are the rental scams to look out for?

In light of the rental opportunities, Ludwina revealed the types of scams and traps to avoid when searching for a home.

“I’m really concerned with things like price gouging, slumlords setting up in a two bedroom apartments with full beds in each room like bunk beds or something like that, charging $200 a week and then rotating. Getting shift workers was the worst one I’ve heard of, which is where someone rents a bed during the day and somebody else at night,” she said.

“Then there was a woman recently who was scammed out of $2,000 from some Facebook ad that was promoting and looked like an Airbnb room type thing. There are people out there who are utilising well respected established businesses in a bad way. So you’ve got to really be careful.

“I’ve also seen a house that was not liveable, and the offer was you can move and live there for free for a year, and then fixed rent at $600 a week for the following two years with a three year lease. But you’ve got to fix it up first and that you might cost. Some private renovation and then in charge of premium rent.”

Listen to the full interview here.

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