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Want to make extra money? Why not rent out a room in your home

Airbnb changed the landscape when it came to renting vacation properties, and now, there's a new website that could do the same for finding a roommate to live with.

Tessia Hill of Scarborough, Ont. rents a home and said with inflation and other rising costs, she asked her landlord for permission to rent out a room in the house to help her earn extra income.

"I was looking for a roommate because the cost of living is so high now and people need to do what they have to do to survive," said Hill.

Hill’s landlord agreed with her proposal and she used the website Sparrow to find a roommate, an international student who is happy with her arrangement staying in Hill’s home.

“She is an awesome student, she cooks, she is quiet, she is here for school and mostly stays to herself,” said Hill.

Sparrow is a website that has received $500,000 in funding from the federal government to help with Canada’s current housing shortage.

Sparrow could help renters find homes and apartments at more budget-friendly prices. The average rent is about $750 a month, depending on the home and location. The website also does credit and background checks, and tries to match people based on compatibility.

“If you think about anyone who has spare rooms they may be retired, empty nesters, seniors. It could be someone aspiring to be a first-time buyer struggling to find that first home," said Oren Singer, the CEO and Co-Founder of Sparrow.

Singer said with the lack of housing options and rising prices, it's a platform that allows you to rent out empty rooms in your home.

Sparrow estimates there are as many as 5 million empty bedrooms in Ontario, and another 12 million across the country. Singer said it's an easy way for homeowners to make some extra money.

“If we can unlock some of this housing supply and help people rent out these spare rooms, we can find a lot of spare rooms for people and we can ease the cost of homeownership for a lot of people," said Singer.

The website can also help combat loneliness as Singer said studies have shown loneliness among Canadians increased during the pandemic.

There is a two-month minimum a person must stay. The landlord is charged a one-time fee of one month's rent when a tenant signs up for a year. A half a month's rent if they sign up for six months and one-quarter of a month if they sign up for two months.

The website could even help create lasting friendships.

“I had to clean out the spare room, but I thought I’m ready for this," said Hill.

Hill says in her case both roommates she's lived with have become good friends and helped her pay her bills.

Sparrow encourages those who decide to rent out a portion of their home to check with their insurance company to see if any additional coverage may be required. Top Stories

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