New research from NatWest has revealed the top pet peeves of renting with others as it launches new digital tool ‘Housemate’. The new app will allow house sharers to split bills and could help them build their history with NatWest’s data partner, Experian.
NatWest is exploring how renters across the UK are managing their finances with shared housing. The research, based on responses from over 1,500 people across the UK, found that almost half (45%) of those renters living in house shares find it uncomfortable having to remind housemates to pay their share of household bills, with a further 48% feeling awkward when a housemate falls behind with payments.
‘Housemate’ will help renters manage shared bills. The app is designed to simplify the shared living experience, connecting tenants to help manage their finances more easily. Housemate can track who owes each other money and could provide an easy way to repay instantly using Open Banking. The technology could let housemates securely link their current account to the app and make payments to those they owe money to.
The research also found that:
Nearly a third (31%) of renters with housemates were less happy with their living situation during lockdown (compared with 21% of homeowners).
Almost half [46%] of those renting with others are the sole flatmate to take control and organises all the bills, collect money and send reminders.
Of the chores that housemates are most like to put off, top of the list is cleaning the bathroom (36%) followed by taking the bins out (20%).
Space is a premium for housemates; 18% say space on shelves or cupboards is a point of disagreement. Size and quality of bedrooms is also an issue for some; with 11% of housemates saying it’s a source of disagreement.
One in five (20%) renters who live with other people worry renting stops them building up their credit score.
When asked who’d be the dream housemate out of the ‘Friends’ cast, Ross Gellar was voted the worst to live with for his dinosaur tales and rock polishing, while Joey followed closely behind because of his lack of willingness to share food. Respondents voted Rachel Green as their favourite due to her effortlessly cool style and coining of the term ‘apartment pants’.
Wendy Redshaw, Chief Digital Information Officer, Retail Banking DigiTech at NatWest said: “Living in shared rental accommodation is often necessary for young people including students, those opting to live with friends or moving to a new city for work. One of the main pillars of financial wellbeing is feeling calm and in control but managing finances within these living situations can often be a tricky experience. From our research we found that a good proportion of those in shared accommodation find sorting finances frustrating and awkward. With Housemate, we have created a one stop shop for renters to simplify this experience, enabling those in shared accommodation manage their joint finances smoothly and at any time.”
At NatWest, our purpose is to champion the potential of customers and our wider society, part of which is to help develop good money management skills so that people are empowered to make better financial decisions”
Paul Speirs, Managing Director, Digital Consumer Information at Experian UK&I said: “We’ve seen a boom in helpful new digital apps and tools over the course of the last 18 months, as the pandemic has prompted more people to turn to online services to manage their finances. By using the data made available through Open Banking, financial services providers are helping people take more control of their financial health and manage their money more effectively. We’re delighted that NatWest have chosen to use our Open Banking Platform to help securely pay their bills and manage their money.”