With companies downsizing their offices — or doing away with them altogether — in favour of remote working, enterprising Londoners are starting to bridge that gap by renting out their homes as work or meeting spaces.
Peerspace, a rental platform with more than 1,000 hosts in London, reported a 173 per cent uplift in bookings in the first half of this year and a 50 per cent increase in searches for offsite meeting spaces since January.
Production and shoot locations are currently the most popular use, but there is a growing market for conference, meeting and office space, says founder Rony Chammas. “On Peerspace, there are many different types of meeting spaces – they don’t all look the same. There’s more flexibility in terms of hourly rates and locations. You’re more likely to find what you’re looking for on our site than a traditional co-working space like a WeWork or a hotel. We think of ourselves as the new, interesting, fun, inspiring way to meet.”
Compared to a WeWork, where meeting rooms start at £15 an hour per seat, prices on Peerspace average around £60 per hour for a whole meeting space, ranging from £15 to £200. According to Chammas, the most successful Peerspace hosts can earn £15,000 per year renting out their homes.
For Faye Dickinson, who listed her Victorian maisonette in De Beauvoir in 2021, Peerspace rentals bring in around £1,000 per month, plus extra from listings on other sites like Scouty. Dickinson charges £59 per hour for her “vintage haven” and accepts as many enquiries as she can, which she says has eased the strain of cost of living rises as a freelancer.
Sue Black and her husband David signed up in December 2021 after reading an article about rental sites. She posted images of her large, mid-century designed house in Barnet, added a description, and within a week she had her first booking. She has had 25 rentals from Peerspace since, including a wellness retreat, music videos and lingerie shoots.
“I honestly don’t mind what people do in my house, apart from porn,” says Black, whose space costs £100 per hour for a meeting and £140 for a production, with a minimum timeslot of three hours. “It’s been brilliant, but I do think you have to be a certain type of person to do it – someone who doesn’t take their home too seriously. It can be overwhelming to have 15 people jumping around your living room.”
For Black, having a positive experience of hosting is about making it work for you. Since starting out, she has introduced rules —including no alcohol and quiet departures— which have made her feel more comfortable hosting people. “It’s a massive learning curve…At the beginning, you’re frightened to be too strict in case you don’t get any bookings, but you have to remember that it’s not a production space, it’s your home. Be sure of your rules, be sure of what you’re prepared to do – and then it’s great.”
Interested in hosting? Your first port of call is a good listing, with strong photography and a detailed description, says Chammas. If you’re hoping to provide office space, you’ll need high-speed WiFi, a bathroom and ideally a kitchen that guests can use. You’ll need to clean the space before they come. The best way to set your price is check what other similar properties are charging — and remember, this is always adjustable.
Black always stays in the house during a hire, so work out the days and times you’re happy to host and set this on the listing. To maximise your potential for bookings, open your home up for different uses and list on multiple sites. Alongside Peerspace, Scouty, Office Riders and Giggster are popular options.