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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 get started?

You can search and browse all ads on SpareRoom without an account, but you'll need to register – which is free - to post an ad or contact other users. Register free now.

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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 postcode. 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 ad. Remember bold ads (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 to find others to form a group (see What's a Buddy Up?).

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Posting and managing ads

Posting an ad

We recommend you post an ad 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 ad you can choose from - Free Ads and Bold Ads. Bold Ads and all ads 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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How do I post an ad?

To post an ad on SpareRoom, click on 'Post Ad' in the main menu bar. To advertise a room, choose the first category 'Rooms to Rent'. If you have a whole property, choose the second category. You can then fill in all the details. If you're looking for a room, choose 'Room Wanted' and fill in the details to let people know what you're looking for.

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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 £11.99 for 7 days - if you have more than one property the upgrade also lets you manage multiple ads by buying extra listings.

You can also renew ads to keep them high in the listings and is recommended for upgraded users (free ads will return to/remain in the early bird phase if renewed).

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How do I upload photos to my ad?

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

Here's how it works:

  1. Find the ad you want to add photos to by selecting 'My Account' and then 'My Ads' on the navigation bar at the top of the page. (The reference number and title of your current ad will be listed in the middle of the page with some wording in blue just below it)
  2. From the list of options in blue select 'Photos'. You'll then be taken to a photo upload screen
  3. Click the 'Browse' button. This will open a pop-up window where you can locate and select the photo you want to add
  4. Highlight the photo you want to add and click 'open'. This will fill the box next to the browse button with text
  5. Click the 'upload' button
  6. Once uploaded the photo will appear as a small image 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 ad?

To edit your ad:

  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 titled My Offered/Wanted ads, with the reference number and title of your ad
  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 ad?

If you want to have more than one ad 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 ad?

To deactivate your ad:

  1. Log in and go to 'My Account'
  2. Click 'My Ads' on the blue navigation bar
  3. On the 'My posted ads' page you'll see all your ads with their reference number and title
  4. Click on 'Deactivate Ad'
  5. You'll be asked why you are deactivating your ad. Select the appropriate option

Note - Deactivating 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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Listing quotas

Why can’t I post another ad, even if I've upgraded?

You'll have reached the limit of your listing allowance. You can post new ads or reactivate expired ads 3 times for every listing you have in any rolling 28 day period. To post a new ad or reactivate expired ads, you’ll either need to wait until your allowance renews or buy extra listings. You’ll still be able to edit any of your ads in the meantime.

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How does the listing allowance work?

You can post new ads or reactivate expired ads 3 times for every listing you have in any rolling 28 day period. You can use your listing allowance across all of your ads/listings as you please. For example, you can use all of your allowance against a single ad/listing or shared between 2, 3 or all of your ads/listings.

To post a new ad or reactivate an expired ad, you'll need to wait until your allowance renews or buy extra listings / contact customer services to change your package. Reactivating an ad that was live but hasn't expired in the previous 28-day period won’t affect your listing allowance.

For info on extra listings or to discuss your options contact customer services who will be happy to help.

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How SpareRoom works

Do I need to pay anything?

Anyone can use SpareRoom completely free.

If you're looking for a room and want to contact all ads straight away, you can choose to upgrade to get early bird access. If you choose not to upgrade, you'll still be able to contact the blue bold ads and ads over 7 days old. Early bird ads are free to contact after 7 days.

Free ads appear grey in the listings. Upgraded users will be able to contact you straight away - everyone else will be able to contact you once your ad is 7 days old.

If you choose to upgrade it means your ad will appear as a blue bold ad in the listings and everyone will be able to contact you straight away. You can contact any of the room wanted ads immediately, as the upgrade will also give you early bird access to do this.

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How does the upgrade system work?

SpareRoom is free to use. In fact around 85% of people who use SpareRoom never pay a penny. 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 upgrade?

Once registered, just click on 'My Account' in the main menu bar then 'Upgrade' in the sub-menu. You can upgrade before or after placing an ad. If you choose to post your ad first you can also use the 'Upgrade' option on your ad box on the 'My Ads page of your account'. If you need any help choosing your upgrade, our customer services team will be happy to help.

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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 ad from the live listings.

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How does the contact system work?

To contact any advertiser just click on 'Email advertiser' to send them a message. If they've provided their number, click on 'Phone advertiser' to call. You'll find these in the contact box on the right of their ad.

There are four different types of contact you can receive in relation to your ad.

  1. Email Alerts. These are sent by SpareRoom on a daily basis (if you request them) and notify you of any new ads posted that match your criteria. You can click on the link(s) to go straight to the ad(s) on SpareRoom.
  2. Direct replies to your ad 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 ad or when they save your ad to refer back to. Interest can be shown by any user to any other user, regardless of whether they've upgraded or not.
  4. Telephone calls. You'll only get these if you choose to include a phone number with your ad.

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Where do my messages go?

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

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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 ad in good time. We're constantly working on better ways to remove ads earlier to remedy this.

Find out more

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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 ad). 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/Boosted 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

To stop anyone unfairly dominating the search results in a specific location, every two ads posted, renewed or boosted by a single advertiser in any given location will be followed by one from another advertiser.

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How do I close my account?

Just call or email us 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 your account.

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