There’s a well worn saying, ‘You can’t have it both ways.’ Never is this more true than when it applies to letting out a room in your home, especially if you are the type of person who would rather they didn’t have to.

Like many older people, I let out a room in my house initially to cover my bills as I couldn’t afford to live in my flat without the additional income. I’d been an Airbnb host for a while, but I got tired of changing sheets and, somewhat reluctantly at first, decided to go for a longer-term solution.

I first started sharing my home in 2017, when I was 57. Amrit, a friend of a friend, moved in with me. When we met, I was managing two AirBnB rooms, and it had stopped becoming fun with all the changing of sheets, meeting and greeting guests, and the constant need to keep the bathroom sparkling clean. There were more than a few times I had worried for my safety, such as the time a male guest came to stay who insisted on sleeping in his underwear with the bedroom door open. …

Everything was rocking back in January 2020. The startup I co-founded with my colleague Steve in September 2019, called Silver Sharers, experienced exponential growth thanks to a feature in the Evening Standard widely shared on social media. Another piece in The Guardian provided us with the rubber stamp of approval announcing us as one possible solution to solving the housing crisis.

A VC I had met years earlier with my startup Frugl initiated a conversation, interested in the business, and signals were positive that we might form part of their portfolio.

Being accepted onto Bethnal Green Ventures (BGV) tech-for-good programme…

I co-host a large community on Facebook of people, most aged 50+, who share a common desire to challenge the media narrative around ageing called Advantages of Age.

Amongst the many topics we discuss, ranging from online dating, exercise regimes to whether we prefer to leave our grey hair au natural or dye it, how and where we want to live in the future is a hot topic.

Co-living is a popular option, but as one member acknowledges, “Finding other people with the same attitude, wanting to move to the same place, with the same amount of money, is difficult though!”

Another says, “By the sea and preferably warm. Community living with open-minded people is an attractive option. Near good public transport so not reliant on a car…

There are currently over 6m empty bedrooms in the homes of those aged 60+ in the UK. Homeowners aged 60+ account for 55% of all UK homeowners. For most of them, the central part of their wealth is in their homes, but they can also have cash flow problems.

Recently France passed a new law removing the income tax from those over 60 renting out rooms to those under 30 for a 180 day or more extended period. And we want to do the same. …

Auriens Kensington

Only yesterday I received an email from a man, in his early sixties, who had suddenly been made homeless. Lacking the necessary finances to afford to stay in a hotel, he was looking for somewhere affordable in which to live.

A few months earlier, I heard from a friend, also in his sixties, who was sofa surfing. After 27 years of marriage, his wife had decided to call it a day and left him without a place to live. Lucky for him, I’d been in touch with an older woman earlier in the week who was offering a low-cost room…

Money is often the initial motivation for seeking ‘paying guests’, but many mature homeowners go on to find that the experience of sharing their home rewarding in other ways too.

Take Sarah, a North London homeowner in her 50s. Back in 2014, when a business setback meant money was very tight, she and her husband, Rob, decided to use their spare bedroom to boost their income.

A toe in the water with Airbnb

When they decided upon paying guests as an income stream they approached it cautiously and became Airbnb hosts to test the water. …

Marc Andreessen of venture capital company Andreessen Horowitz reputedly said, “Breakthrough ideas look crazy.” Indeed, that was the opinion of a Ph.D. I recruited to help me gather insight into a living style, born out of my own experience.

Like many other people in their fifties, when my children moved away from home in 2014, after graduating from University, I started hosting on Airbnb. In the beginning, I enjoyed the constant flow of visitors that passed through my flat and the income that came with it.

But four years later, it had lost its novelty, and often I found myself…

Have you ever considered, when choosing to live with someone outside of friends and family, what’s non-negotiable? It could be that, as a vegetarian, for instance, you couldn’t imagine living with a meat-eater. Or that, as an early riser, you don’t want to be disturbed by someone who continues working well into the wee hours of the morning.

Most home sharers I’ve spoken to regard having their own bathroom as non-negotiable. I don’t know of many people who appreciate being confronted with someone else’s hair every time they step in a shower or tub. …


Co-founder of House shares to feel at home in. House shares for the over-50s. Free to list and to look, why not try us out?

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