Close to a quarter of a million homeowners (233,697) have advertised for lodgers since the increase to the Rent a Room Scheme tax threshold to £7,500 per year was announced, a rise of more than 5.2% on the same period 12 months ago.
The findings, compiled by flatsharing website SpareRoom.co.uk, also found that August 2015 - the month after the Chancellor announced the tax change as part of his Summer Budget - was the busiest since records began in 2007. Some 31,109 people placed ads for lodgers during this month.
“Across the UK, room rents are rising by 5.5% a year," said Matt Hutchinson, director of SpareRoom.co.uk. "The abolition of tax relief on mortgage interest could force rents up even further as landlords look to cover costs, so this change to the Rent a Room scheme can’t come soon enough."
He added: "The UK is in the grip of a housing crisis nobody can see an end to. We’re not building anywhere near enough new homes so we have to make sure we’re using the ones we already have as effectively as possible. Incentivising even a small percentage of homeowners sitting on the 19 million empty bedrooms in owner-occupied properties to let them out would do just that. That’s why we campaigned for this change for six years and are delighted to finally see it come into effect.”