Struggling with the mortgage? Take on a flattie

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Are you struggling to keep up with the mortgage repayments on your home, or would like a bit of extra cash to help with day to day expenses? New research suggests that almost one-third of Australian homeowners would take on a flatmate to help pay off their mortgage.

According to a PRDnationwide survey, 31% of homeowners would consider renting out the spare room to help with mortgage payments. Interestingly, 14% of respondents said they had already taken on lodgers; 11% said they would like to, but had no space; and 44% said they wouldn't rent out a room.

"Renting out a spare room to generate extra cash could reduce the likelihood of suffering mortgage stress,” said PRDnationwide research director Aaron Maskrey, who added that the prospect of taking on tenants could also offer hope for struggling first homebuyers.

“Getting onto the property ladder is increasingly difficult for thousands of first-time buyers in Australia, and increasingly, homeowners are making unused space earn its keep," he said.

With financial concerns now top of mind for many Australian homeowners, the proportion of Aussies who would consider taking on a flattie to help with the mortgage has risen drastically since PRDnationwide’s last survey in 2009 – when only around 20% of respondents said they would consider renting out a spare room.

"That was when the global recession had just begun to bite and people were perhaps under less pressure," said Maskrey.

He added that – with cost of living pressures growing – homeowners were increasingly buying properties with a granny flat or spare room with the express purpose of renting it out.

Finding a lodger has become easier, too, he explained, “with a range of websites advertising for rooms to rent and flatmates”.

Would you consider taking on a lodger to help pay off the mortgage? Place your comments below, or join the debate on our property investment forum.

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