One pound per month rent- but is it really what it seems

Posted: 02/11/2015

Offering skills instead of paying rent is becoming a new craze in the UK. This is especially apparent in desirable but expensive areas such as London. Although the idea of trading skills for cheap rent seems ideal, is it really that simple?

Nicola Slawson decided to try this new type of living arrangement when she wanted to pursue her dream of becoming a writer and move to London to study. However she could not afford the rent in the capital. When a room in an attractive house in Highgate came on the market for just £180 per month in exchange for some companionship and a few light chores, Slawson jumped at the chance.

Soon, Slawson realised that sharing with an 80 year old woman with very old fashioned values would prove to be extremely difficult as she began to be treated like a servant instead of a near-equal. Slawson was expected to work from when she got home from University until at least 10 o’clock at night, before she had even started her homework. After just three months, the elderly woman became ill and Slawson was expected to care for her into the night. The following month Slawson decided she could not cope anymore and she decided to leave.

Although it is not just cleaning and child-care that are sought after skills to trade for rent, Adam Mughal has recently offered a spare room for a mere £1 a month, for the exchange of IT support two days a week to help him finish off his project. To date, he has had over 1,300 responses. Although he promises that if they are compatable, the candidate could become a permanent member of his team. 

This new living arrangement is far from surprising, with the cost of renting reaching the highest level on records, according to a new report. However, if you are considering experimenting with new tenancy agreements, is it essential that an extremely clear contract is drawn up so that all parties are on the same page.

Aislinn Devlin, Pali Ltd 

www.paliltd.com

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