By Daniel Hunter

Inflation levels jumped to a 5 month high of 2.7% in October (significantly above the 2% inflation target) as the rising cost of living continues to hit UK families.

The Office of National Statistics also reported a sharp rise in the Retail Price Index (which includes housing costs) from 2.6% to 3.2%, as mortgage rates continue to rise. Mortgage repayments, last month, soared to a 42 month high, affecting 1.5 million families, on standard variable rate (SVR) mortgages.

Energy prices are also on the up, with the UK’s second largest energy group, SSE, raising energy tariffs last month and increasing fuel bills by up to £100 per year for 5 million households.

These rising living costs are eating into the disposable incomes of many families who are cutting back on luxury items like holidays and home improvements. However, many families are becoming increasingly entrepreneurial in finding ways to offset these rising costs and maintain their standard of living. One trend that has become increasingly popular over the last couple of years is to rent out a spare room or an entire home to paying guests from abroad, as savvy homeowners turn their homes into hotels.

Claire Whisker, Co-Founder of Vive Unique ( the specialist home rental company, comments:

‘Many of our clients rent out their homes while they are away on holiday and use the extra income to pay for their travels or to pay for new kitchens and other home improvements. They are used to a high standard of living and see home rentals as a way of maintaining affluent lifestyles in difficult economic times’.

There are a number of websites out there where you can advertise a spare room or just a sofa in the living room for a few days, and you can even serve up breakfast if you want to. Vive Unique offer a more bespoke service where they will look after everything for you, while you’re away. They offer guests a hotel-style service, complete with fresh linens, towels and toiletries, as well as a concierge. Claire continues:

‘We take care of everything from the booking, to check-in and check-out, and everything in between. We prepare every home and return it to our homeowners, just as they left it. Bespoke insurance is also included as standard for our homeowners’.

With expected hikes in food and utility bills to come, the squeeze on households looks set to tighten further but the outlook for home rentals is a positive one for homeowners in difficult times. We look forward to the emergence of other innovative ideas to offset these rising costs and we expect the trend of home rentals to carry on and gain in popularity next year.