Commuting to work is a costly drag, but millions of us have to do it every day. The solution? Join the increasingly popular weekday tenant club.
This year has seen a surge in demand for Monday-to-Friday lettings among people who need a bolthole near their workplace during the week, but want to return to their family home at weekends.
Jonathan Moore, of Easyroommate.co.uk, claims to have 30,000 people looking for weekday rooms at any time and 10,000 landlords with rooms to offer.
Weekday tenant: Many are saving money on commuting by renting a place close to work Monday to Friday
‘Jobs are hard to find so people are forced to look further afield, but they don’t want to sell the family home,’ says Mr Moore.
‘The arrangement suits both sides. Besides being able to earn £4,250 annual income taxfree from letting out a room, as a weekday landlord you will probably barely see your tenant during the week as they tend to work long hours. Then the house is your own again for the weekend.’
Andrew Miln, 37, a director at holiday company Group RCI, is a typical example.
His job was relocated a year ago from Chester, where he lives with his wife and two young children, to Kettering, 150 miles away.
During the week, he rents a room in a detached Victorian house for £25 a night and at weekends joins his family.
‘Because of the short time I spend in Kettering – usually three nights a week, as I often travel, too – other forms of renting, or even buying weren’t workable options,’ says Mr Miln.
‘I don’t need to book in advance, I can store clothes here and can come and go as I please.
‘At times it feels odd to be sharing a house when I have a family at home, but in the week I can work 50 hours in three days with no distractions.’
Gareth Luscombe, 23, an estate worker for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, lives ten minutes away from his job in rural Oxfordshire, in a stone farmhouse in Bletchingdon, found through Mondaytofriday.com.
He pays £75 a week for his weekday lodgings, then returns to his father’s home in Reading or to his girlfriend’s place in North Yorkshire for the weekend.
‘I couldn’t find any jobs nearer Reading, and although I could have commuted daily from there to my new job, the hour-long drive each way and cost of fuel put me off,’ says Mr Luscombe.
‘My landlady, Fiona, who is retired with sons who live abroad, rents out the room for pin money and it’s a relaxed place. We chat while I cook and watch TV together.
‘There’s no formal contract, but she asked for four weeks’ notice before I leave and I was given a sheet of house rules when I arrived.’
While some landlords might opt to trust clients, accommodation websites advise both sides to sign a formal tenancy agreement.
Weekday landlords should charge about 60 per cent of a full-time rent, undertake credit checks and get references as with a full-time tenant.
‘Be as professional as possible,’ says Mr Moore. ‘Set out which areas are private, include bills in the rent, and you’ll find most interest if you offer a double room with internet and reasonable communal areas.’
With a one-bedroom flat in Kensington, West London, which he rents for two or three nights a week, and a country house in Oakham, Rutland, where he returns on Thursday night to his wife and three children, Nicholas Leeming, 55, commercial director of property website Zoopla.co.uk, divides his week in style.
‘It offers a good work-life balance,’ he says. ‘I work hard in the city and enjoy family time at the end of the week.
‘But I do it purely because the commute by train would take over two hours each way and cost £110 a day,’ he says. ‘It doesn’t take many days before you start justifying renting in London.’
- Easyroommate.co.uk, 0800 0832 881; Mondaytofriday.com, 0845 130 5145; Zoopla.co.uk.