Room for Tea is a new kind of homesharing network. We connect guests in need of short-term, affordable accommodation in London with hosts who have a spare room in their homes.
Room for Tea is for anyone but our motivation is to help aspiring interns and apprentices access affordable accommodation in London during their work experience, offering anyone, from anywhere, a fair chance at starting their dream career.
Room for Tea provides its hosts a supply of secure, vetted and responsible guests for short to medium term stays. Hosts using the service can benefit from additional income and the opportunity of sharing their home with someone, on a flexible basis to suit their needs.
Room for Tea is a new kind of home-sharing network. We connect guests in need of short-term, affordable accommodation in London with hosts who have spare capacity in their clean, comfortable homes.
We are for anyone but our motivation is to help aspiring interns and apprentices access affordable accommodation in london during their work experience.
But that’s not all! We also believe that if a host can easily find reliable, friendly and courteous guests to welcome into their homes without long-term commitment, they might have: a new friend in the making, a very grateful guest who is willing to help out around the house, and more disposable income to spend on the finer things in life; be that treating the grand-children, fine dining or just keeping the heating on for an extra hour or two.
Up to you! We want to make sure that Room for Tea works best for you, so the length of stay is flexible. Stays can last for anywhere between one week and 6 months, with an average stay being about 2 months.
Unsure whether you want to commit for more than a month? Why not do a test run for a couple of weeks? That way you can get a taster of what it’s like before fully committing to anything longer-term.
Room for Tea's mission is to help aspiring interns access affordable accommodation during their work experience. Please bear that in mind when you're deciding on the rent you want to charge!
The financial contribution paid by the intern depends on the location of the house and the nature of the arrangement. If you do not want any contribution to rent or bills, you are also able to offer your room for free!
We suggest hosts charge around £350 per month as the government-supported Rent-a-Room scheme sets this amount as the tax threshold (tax-free income which can be perceived by the host, which amounts to £4,250 a year).
Absolutely. A large part of the original idea behind Room for Tea was about reducing social isolation and reaching those who aren't online. We stand by that aim as we continue to develop the service.
With this is mind, alongside the website, we have a phone number - 0203 239 4913 to ensure that those who do not have access to the web can still use Room for Tea. Rather than go online, these members can ring us up to find out how Room for Tea works and how to register. We’ll then act as a liaison, organise a home visit and help connect them to potential guests.
The host is expected to provide a bedroom, with access to shared bathroom and cooking facilities.
We don’t expect hosts to have internet set up, though we can help with setting up an internet line if the host thinks it’s a good idea.
Hosts can specify what facilities they have available in their homes via their online profile, or directly to a Room for Tea co-ordinator during a home visit. Don't worry if you don't have a TV, it's not the end of the world!
Of course, food and eating is at the heart of any home. How, when and what people eat is also very personal and variable. It can be the best and worst of things so consideration and planning can be very useful.
Some hosts generously offer breakfast together with the bed, others share all the meals and groceries with their guests, but it's really down to you to decide what you want to do. Don't feel like you have to cook for your guest everyday! Maybe you'll enjoy being cooked for by your guest once in a while, and discover the wonders of Italian cuisine…
It’s worth mentioning your dietary habits, any allergies and how much room for culinary experimentation there is in your kitchen and your life in general.
We take note of both the hosts and the guest preferences regarding the arrangement and try to accommodate their needs the best we can.
We’ll take payment from the guest in advance so hosts don’t need to worry. When host and guest agree a stay and the amount of rent is confirmed, it couldn't be simpler. Guests pay using an existing PayPal* account (or sign up for free). Our clever technology will calculate the total amount, (the guest's first month's rent** plus our fee and Paypal's transaction charge) and allows guests to pay in one easy transaction. This must be completed 5 days prior to the start of the stay***
Room for Tea will hold the funds as a deposit until we have confirmed with both parties (host and guest) within the first 24 hours of the stay that all is well. We then release the funds, less our fee, to the host. This process is repeated for every month of your stay (with the exception of us checking before releasing the funds. If there is any reason not to do so you must contact us immediately).
In the case of the host or guest cancelling the stay prior to it starting, or wishing to end it prematurely at any point during the stay, Room For Tea will speak to both parties and determine the best course of action on a case by case basis. Please bear in mind this can mean guests losing their deposit for late cancellations.
* If you do not wish to use PayPal please get in touch to find out about alternative payment methods. What is PayPal?Click here to find out more
** or the rent for your entire stay if less than one month in total.
*** unless your stay is a last-minute arrangement in which case Room For Tea will liaise with you directly to confirm immediate payment.
At Room For Tea, we pride ourselves on providing an unrivalled level of support to our hosts and guests before, during and after your stay.
We need to be able to fund things like our phone support which helps members day in and day out, our home visits to newly registered hosts and organising events to gather the Room for Tea community. Because of this, we add on a flat fee to the costing of a room.
For stays of one month and over: guests pay £35 a month additionally to the rent paid to their host, hosts pay £17.50 a month from the rent paid by their guests.
For short-term stays of under a month: guests pay £10 a month additionally to the rent paid to their host, hosts pay £10 a month from the rent paid by their guests.
Our fee will always be rounded up to the nearest number of whole weeks/months of your stay. So for example, if you are staying for three and a half weeks, our fee will be £40 i.e. £10 for four weeks. We hope you don’t feel this is cheeky, it’s just much easier for us to administer and every extra penny will be spent on ensuring more people benefit from being part of Room For Tea.
Don’t panic! We always do our best to support both our hosts and guests in finding a suitable match, but sometimes we can’t meet the requests immediately due to issues regarding dates, location etc.
From experience we know that these situations can take a rapid positive turn, so just stay in touch and check our website regularly, for new hosts signing up. We encourage hosts to contact us if they want information about prospective guests who are available.
It’s our aim and hope is that both hosts and guests will find Room for Tea a positive experience at all stages of the process, but we are aware of the fact that things can’t always work out as wished and expected. It’s important for us to hear from you if something is unsatisfactorily in order to solve the problem.
Do give us a shout as soon as possible if an issue arises, we will do our best to address it. Our contact telephone is 02032394913 and email email@example.com
At the moment, our action is focused on London for our initial launch area, with the intention of expanding throughout the UK in the next year.
Because Room for Tea relies on an online platform, whereby guests can search for hosts which match their requirements, we feel that people all around the UK can potentially sign up and find a match in their area.
Yet, we want to make sure that everyone gets the attention and support they need, and given our current resources we are not able to visit homes outside of Greater London.
We are a social enterprise. This means that we invest the revenue we generate in maintaining our high levels of service and exploring new ways of supporting those who would most benefit from being part of our home-sharing network.
Our fees go towards many things like our phone support which helps members day in and day out but most importantly our time. We visit every host in their home to ensure both they and their future guests will be comfortable. We also invest our efforts into helping those who are not familiar with the internet, to sign up and get online – part of our commitment to reducing social isolation in London. Finally, we work with partners to deliver regular meet-up events for hosts and guests, helping both to build social and professional networks.
So all in all, your fee goes a long way and is crucial to Room For Tea as well as our current and future hosts and guests. If you’d like more information on our projects and initiatives to reduce social isolation in London, or you have any ideas of how we might invest our efforts better or differently, why not drop Milena a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Room for Tea Ltd is run by Milena Bottero, with the support of assistant project manager Sophie Johnsson.
Milena got the idea for Room for Tea in June 2011. After graduating from the LSE Milena undertook an unpaid internship for an environmental organisation, and found it challenging to cover her living costs in a city as expensive as London.
She founded The Settlement, a social enterprise which supports interns who struggle to cover their living costs in finding affordable housing solutions. Room for Tea is one its projects, and it has been funded by the Design Council and the Technology Strategy Board as part of the business challenge 'Keeping Connected'. As part of the challenge, Milena has been partnering with Futuregov, who supported us into creating a beautifully designed website. FutureGov are a social innovation company combining expertise in design, technology and change processes to redesign public services.
“For initially moving in with someone this has probably been the best experience I’ve had, it’s been really really interesting and really relaxed and for me really rewarding, so that’s been great”