Media Release

Over seven million spare bedrooms in Australia: $1.4 billion in wasted space

  • research shows 85% of homeowners and 60% of renters have spare rooms
  • Renting a spare room could contribute $808 a month to your mortgage or bills
  • tips for renting out a spare room

February 15, 2016, Sydney, Australia – There are seven million spare bedrooms across Australia – a whopping $1.4 billion in untapped real estate, new research by one of Australia’s biggest comparison sites reveals.

Eighty-five percent of owner occupied houses and 60 percent of rental properties have surplus bedrooms.

According to analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) household projections there are 9,268,700 dwellings in Australia in 2016 – that’s a staggering 5.28 million owner occupied residences and 1.73 million rental properties with more bedrooms than required.

Considering the average cost of renting a room in 2015 was $202.06, this means there is $1.42 billion in untapped real estate in Australia right now.

Bessie Hassan, Consumer Advocate at, says householders are wasting valuable space.

“Renting out a spare room could contribute $808.24 to your monthly mortgage payment or bills. It is one of the easiest ways to increase your earnings significantly without having to go out and work a second job. Simply put, it’s a great way to make some extra cash.

“It could also be your secret weapon to getting out of debt.”

Tenants, alike, may be able to benefit from subleasing a spare room. “This depends on your state and your tenancy agreements, but generally a landlord’s permission must be sought when subletting a room.

“In some states, for example South Australia and New South Wales, the landlord cannot reasonably refuse your proposal to sublet as long as you will be living in the property with your tenant.”

That said, there are things to consider before renting out a spare room – namely whether your household insurance would cover the extra occupant and personal safety.

“Do your research before rushing into getting a housemate,” Ms Hassan says. “Landlord home insurance protects the landlord's rental property and contents from fire and theft, natural disaster or flood. You can even include what is known as 'Tenant Protection' that covers you against unpaid rent, theft or malicious damage to your rental property by tenants.

“With accommodation sharing websites growing in popularity, it’s never been more convenient to rent out a spare room. But the onus is on you to ensure it’s the right decision for your personal situation.”

Tips for renting out a spare room:

  • Chat to your accountant. If you rent out a room, the money earned is considered to be part of your taxable income. Discuss implications on your personal circumstances to find out whether or not it’s financially worth it.
  • Interview potential housemates. Careful vetting, including checking references and financial security, is recommended.
  • Find a tenant that with a lifestyle that is compatible to yours. Make it clear how you like to spend your weekdays and weekends so that your typical routine isn’t drastically impacted. Discuss their hobbies and gauge what they do for leisure.
  • Take a rental bond. Request a bond in addition to two weeks’ rent in advance. This is a form of security in case the tenancy agreement is broken.


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The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on's review pages for the current correct values.

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