SpareRoom FAQ

 

About SpareRoom

Can you find me a room?

We're not an agency so we can't find (or personally recommend) properties for you. However, our Customer Service team are on hand 7 days a week to help you get the most from SpareRoom.

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Do you pre-check advertisers?

It wouldn't be practical (or possible) for us to check every advertiser on the site. We do, however, take the safety of our users very seriously and we take several measures to prevent scammers from advertising on SpareRoom or contacting other users. See Why is there a delay in sending my message? and Why hasn't my ad/video/photo appeared on the site yet? for details of what we do to protect you.

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How do I search SpareRoom?

You can search SpareRoom in several ways.

The easiest is to use the quick search box on the home page - just enter an area or post code. If you need a room pick 'rooms for rent' - if you have a room and need a flatmate pick 'rooms wanted'. Then click 'search' to get to the results.

You can carry out an advanced search with more options (e.g. price range, type of room, age of potential flatmates and much more) by clicking 'Search' on the blue navigation bar at the top of the page.

When you find an ad you like you can get in touch with the advertiser using the contact links in the orange box on the right hand side of the advert. Remember bold adverts (the ones with the blue backgrounds on the results page) or those over 7 days old are free to contact (see How does the upgrade system work? for more on this).

You can also browse for and contact potential buddy ups in your area. 'Buddy Ups' are other room seekers who've said they're happy to form a group and take a property together. If you're advertising a whole property (or have seen a whole property you like), this is the place find others to form a group (see What's a Buddy Up?).

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Posting and managing adverts

Posting an advert

We recommend you post an advert to get the best from SpareRoom (it's free) so other users know what you're looking for or offering. There are two types of advert you can choose from - Free Ads and Bold Ads. Bold Ads and all adverts over 7 days old are free to contact. Free Ads under 7 days old require users to upgrade in order to contact them.

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What's a Bold Ad?

Bold ads appear highlighted in blue on the search results pages and feature above free listings of the same age. Upgrading also includes Early Bird access so you can contact all other users (either those advertising rooms or looking for rooms). Upgrades cost from £10.99 for 7 days - if you have more than one property the upgrade also lets you manage multiple adverts by buying extra listings.

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How do I upload photos to my ad?

All users can add up to 9 photos to their advert free of charge. You'll need to be logged in to your account to do this.

Here's how it works:

  1. Find the advert you want to add photos to by selecting 'My Account' and then 'My Ads' on the navigation bar at the top of the page. Your current advert(s) will be listed under your account status section
  2. Click on the 'Photos' link on the advert you'd like to add photos to and you'll then be taken to a photo upload screen with two uploading options
  3. The first allows you to 'drag and drop' a photo from your desktop, add a caption (optional) and click the 'Upload photos' button. A thumbnail will appear lower down the page
  4. Alternatively, click the 'Select' button and this will open a pop-up window where you can locate and select the photo you want to add
  5. Highlight the photo you want to add and click 'open'. A thumbnail and caption box will then appear lower down the page

Once you have all your photos uploaded you can change the order they appear in or add a caption. To change the order of the photos click and hold a photo and drag it to its preferred position.

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How do I edit my advert?

To edit your advert:

  1. Log in and go to 'My Account'
  2. Click 'My Ads' on the blue navigation bar
  3. On the 'My posted ads' screen you'll see a grey box title My Offered/Wanted ads, with the reference number and title of your advert
  4. Select 'Edit'

The following page is the Edit screen. You'll be able to change any information surrounded by an edit box. When you've made all your changes scroll to the bottom of the page and select 'Save'.

Your changes will then be made live on the site within 90 minutes (see Why hasn't my ad/video/photo appeared on the site yet? for more on this).

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What can I say in my ad?

Renting property is subject to discrimination laws, so it's important to understand what you can (and can't) say in your room ad. Largely this is down to whether you'll be living in the property or not, but there's a little more to it than that.

For full details on discrimination when you're advertising a room click here.

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How do I post more than one advert?

If you want to have more than one advert live on the site you'll need to be an upgraded user with extra listing spaces.

You can upgrade at any time - this will upgrade your free listing to a bold listing. If you need more live listings the new upgraded status will let you buy additional spaces.

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Why hasn't my ad/video/photo appeared on the site yet?

At SpareRoom we take your safety extremely seriously. That means (unlike most other sites) we do everything in our power to keep spam and scams off the site. To do this we've built a complex set of filters that scan every single ad to make sure that there's nothing fraudulent in it. These filters are updated constantly - after more than a decade of running flatmate sites we're pretty good at spotting spam and scam but there are always new tricks.

Once that's done each ad, photo and video uploaded to the site is checked manually to make sure the filters haven't missed anything. As you can imagine this takes time, but don't worry, your ad will appear on the site shortly after it's uploaded.

The upside of this is that there's nowhere safer online to rent a room or find a flatmate.

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How do I deactivate my advert from the listings?

To deactivate your advert:

  1. Log in and go to 'My Account'
  2. Click 'My Ads' on the blue navigation bar
  3. On the 'My posted ads' screen, you'll see your advert box showing its title, postcode and green 'Live' label.
  4. Click 'Deactivate' on the top right of the box and on the following page click 'confirm deactivation'. This will remove your advert from the live listings and save it on your account for future use.

Note - Removing your ad doesn't pause your upgrade, you'll need to do this separately - see How do I pause (or re-activate) my upgrade?

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How SpareRoom works

How does the upgrade system work?

SpareRoom is free to use. In fact around 85% of people who use SpareRoom never pay a cent. Anyone can post a Free Ad and contact all Bold Ads (blue), and other Free Ads (grey) over 7 days old.

We reserve Free Ads under 7 days old for upgraded users. Upgraded users can also post Bold Ads, which are free for everyone to contact, appear higher up the results list and get (on average) double the enquiries.

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How do I pause (or re-activate) my upgrade?

Only the 4 week upgrade includes the pause feature and this can be used once per upgrade. To pause any remaining time on the upgrade:

  1. Log in and go to 'My Account'
  2. Click on the 'Upgrade' tab on the navigation bar
  3. Click on the link 'Pause your advertising now'. This is in the text towards the top of the page
  4. When you're ready to reactivate your access just log into your account again, click on the 'Upgrade' tab and enter the code in the promotional code box in the top left hand corner of the page

If you no longer need to advertise on SpareRoom you'll also need to remove your current advert from the live listings.

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How does the contact system work?

There are four different types of contact you could receive in relation to your advert.

  1. Email Alerts - these are sent by SpareRoom on a daily basis (if you request them). They notify you of any new adverts posted that match your criteria. You can click on the link(s) to go straight to the advert(s) on SpareRoom.
  2. Direct replies to your advert from other users. We'll notify you of any new messages by sending a 'message alert' to your registered email address, this will contain a link to your SpareRoom inbox where you can respond.
  3. Interest Shown - you'll get these when a user either clicks the 'show interest' link on your advert or when they save your advert to refer back to.
  4. Interest can be shown by any user to any other user, regardless of whether they've upgraded or not. We'll email you to notify you of any new interest shown and you can also view them when logged into your account under 'Who's Interested' (in the 'My Account' section)
  5. Telephone calls. You'll only get these if you choose to include a phone number with your advert.

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Where do my messages go?

When you contact a SpareRoom user via the messaging system the following happens:

  • Your message is sent to the user's SpareRoom inbox
  • We also send an email to their personal email address to let them know they have a message

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Why is there a delay in sending my message?

The main reason SpareRoom uses an in-house messaging system is because it's safe. It means you don't need to give your email address to anyone until you choose to (and also means your email can't be collected by automated software and added to spam mailing lists).

By using our own messaging system it also means we can monitor message content and keep an eye out for scams. That doesn't mean we read your messages - an automated filter, which we update regularly, scans messages for any of the tell-tale language used by scammers and we can quarantine these messages before they're sent. It also means, on the rare occasions we think a scammer has been sending messages to users, we can warn anyone they've been in touch with.

This does mean there can be a short delay in your message being sent but don't panic, it just means it's being checked by our system.

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Why have I not received a response yet?

Some users check their email and/or log into SpareRoom less frequently than others - you should be patient and allow at least 48 hours for a reply.

If the user decides, for whatever reason, that you are unsuitable for the room, they may choose to not respond for fear of offending. We try to make it easy for people to respond by offering an auto decline response.

Other reasons beyond our control could be a user supplying an incorrect email address or the room having been let. We send regular reminders and make it very easy for users to tell us when a room is taken but not everyone removes their advert in good time. We're constantly working on better ways to remove adverts earlier to remedy this.

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What can I do if I don't receive a response within 2 days?

The best thing you can do is to try calling the user (if they've left a number with their advert). Some prefer telephone contact anyway. Find their ad, then click on "Contact advertiser", then "Contact by phone". Failing that, the best thing to do is to keep checking the listings. We get new rooms added every day so chances are there will be plenty more rooms that are suitable for you. Don't wait around for someone to get back to you - keep looking in the meantime.

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What's a Buddy Up?

'Buddy Ups' are people looking for a room who are also interested in hearing from other people in their area, with a view to forming a group to find a property to rent. If you're struggling to find exactly what you're looking for this can be a great way of finding your ideal room, with flatmates you like.

Use the search box to find like-minded people in your chosen area and price range. Browse their profiles and get in touch with any you like the sound of. Don't forget to post your own profile so other users can get in touch with you.

Handy Tip:

Most properties have bedrooms of varying sizes and it's common practice to split rent accordingly, with higher rent being paid for larger rooms. So don't simply disregard other users you like just because they have a lower or higher budget than you. It could make for the perfect share as each flatmate has a room to suit their budget.

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How are the SpareRoom listings ordered?

In broad terms the ads are ranked in this order:

  1. Exact location matches
  2. New Today ads
  3. Bold ads
  4. Newly renewed ads
  5. Older ads

The sort order is also 'nested', for example:

Brand new bold ads appear above brand new free ads

More relevant brand new ads (in terms of location) appear above less relevant brand new ads

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I no longer need to use the site. How do I delete my account?

You just need to let us know and we'll do this for you. We can either deactivate the account (so you don't receive any further contact from us until you're ready) or permanently close the account.

See our contact us page to get in touch

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