Rupert Hunt, founder of flatsharing website Spareroom.co.uk, is using his own site to source housemates for his Grade II listed East London home.
Hunt has been living in the property – a six-bedroom, five floor Georgian house in Spitalfields – since 2013. Rents for rooms in this area typically exceed £1,000 a month, but Hunt says he will let his new flatmates “pay what they can afford”.
The property is located in an area popular with film crews and music video producers. One Direction filmed a music video in the street and it’s also been used for scenes in The Woman in Black, Suffragette and Great Expectations. Keira Knightley, star of Pirates of the Caribbean, Bend it Like Beckham and Atonement, also lives just around the corner, further highlighting the celebrity vibe in this part of London.
“I ended up living on my own a couple of years ago after I split up from my wife, so I decided to use SpareRoom to find a couple of housemates,” Hunt said. “To be honest I saw it entirely as a chance to learn something about the business, but I ended up learning that sharing with the right people beats living on your own any day. So, now my last housemate is leaving, I’ve decided to do it again.”
He said he is open to living with pretty much anyone, as long as they are easy to get on with and add something interesting to the dynamic of the house. “That’s why I’ve taken a ‘pay what you can afford’ approach,” he added. “For me it’s all about the people so, if the person I think will make the best housemate can only afford £200 a month, that’s what they’ll pay.”
The house, which Hunt describes as “creaky” and “possibly haunted”, is 300 years old and has a very Dickens-esque feel to it. “It’ll be fun to see what people make of the house," he said. "It can be a little spooky at night – I have to admit, on my first night there I chickened out and stayed in a hotel round the corner.”
You can see Hunt’s video ad here.