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New services are like for roommates

Rupert Hunt, CEO and founder of SpareRoom, says he is using the service to help him find a new loft in New York as he relocates from Britain. (315 H – MRP Realty)

When you live in a city where the rent’s too high, one solution is to live with a roommate — or two or three.

According to Roomster, a roommate-matching service, many renters in the District spend more than 50 percent of their salary on rent rather than the maximum recommendation of 30 percent. Sharing your space with a roommate can make a big dent in your rent. Roomster says that the average one-bedroom apartment in the District is $2,210, while the average rent on their site for a shared apartment is $1,108.

Finding a roommate may have been easy right out of college when your friends were getting places together, but it can be challenging if you’re new to a city or you want to share your space with someone who doesn’t constantly remind you of your dorm days. Two global companies that rely on social media, video profiles and even a form of speed-dating for roommates are available for District residents who are looking for a place to rent or need a roommate to share their space.

Luxury rentals to emerge from former GWU dorm

SpareRoom, a company launched in Britain in 2004, recently expanded to multiple cities in the United States. In fact, the CEO and founder of SpareRoom, Rupert Hunt, is relocating to New York to oversee the launch and plans to use his own company to rent out two of the three bedrooms in his new West Village loft — for just $1 each.

SpareRoom uses video profiles of potential roommates to allow people to go beyond messaging or emailing before an in-person meeting. The company also arranges “speed roommating” events for people looking to share space to quickly meet multiple potential roommates.

Roomster, founded in 2003 and available in 192 countries, relies on social networks to help people find roommates. Users sign in and submit to Roomster’s Facebook verification process, called Roomster Social Connect. After approval, the platform allows users to contact each other through app messaging, phone calls, email or social media.

Roomster is available through a free mobile app on iOS and Android and

SpareRoom is available via free iOS and Android apps as well as online at

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