‘I let my spare room at a 40pc discount in exchange for help in the kitchen’

Prices are rising fast. Between February and March the average rent in England rose by 4pc to £1,006 per property, according to Goodlord, a lettings website. Fierce competition for properties meant Ms Lee had to raise her £600 monthly budget to £800. She managed to secure a flat – until the agent called to say the landlord had received a better offer.

She decided to take a less conventional route. Last month she moved into a room in Edgware, north London, paying £350 per month.

Her landlady, Gaynor Morrell, 64, has given her a discount of more than 40pc on the market rate in exchange for help around the house.

Ms Morrell is recovering from an operation and is unable to work or do household chores. “It’s having someone to do the silly things like take the washing out or chop up a melon,” said Ms Morrell.

“The going rent for a room here would be £600, but this works because I really need help with day-to-day tasks. It works both ways. It is also really nice having a young person in the house,” she added.

The set-up was arranged through Hapipod, a website that con­nects homeowners with roomseekers who are prepared to spend up to 10 hours a week helping out. Paying the London Living Wage for 40 hours a month would cost a homeowner £442.

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