HMO Landlady’s casting couch story

HMO Landlady’s casting couch story

9:45 AM, 28th June 2012, About 11 years ago 5

Text Size

If you’ve been reading my blog posts or run an HMO yourself, you’ll already know that the quest for affordable rooms is on the up.  This is partly due to the changes this year in LHA for people aged 25-35 whereby councils will only pay for a room in a shared house and, over 35 years old they can claim for a one bed flat (if they’re lucky enough to find one at the LHA rate!).  The increase in demand is also, in my opinion, due to tenants electing to have a life rather than work themselves to death to afford self contained accommodation and all that comes with it – Council Tax, utility bills, telephone, insurance, etc.

When I started over five years ago in HMOs, the main tenant market was DSS as it was then.  They came armed with the paperwork, I liaised with the council on their behalf, rents were paid direct to me so it only left me having to deal with the odd drug dealing misdemeanour, failing alcoholic or explaining why it wasn’t OK to wake up at midday and party until the early hours.

How it’s all changed; I now have  a waiting list of friends of tenants and, if I ever do put an ad in the paper, will receive calls from coherent, working people who don’t baulk at a month’s rent in advance and month’s deposit.  I’m even getting calls from ex-tenants who are resorting to desperate measures:

Simon – left last year after I took over the HMO to live in myself and refused to be rehomed in another HMO because it was another 10 minutes walk to his local pub.  Here’s our text conversation this week:

“Hi hun.  It’s Si. Ave u any rooms available. Si the postman”

“Hi Simon.  None at the moment but I have a friend with a bedsit available”

“Wat part of town gorgeous”

“Near the new Tesco.  It’s clean and she’s a good landlady”

“U know I like u sexy hope u r well hun. If u need a man im here 4 u soz may ave gone 2 far”

As flirting goes it wasn’t quite as good as Jamie but it’s pretty much up there if I ever get desperate!  A couple of days later I got a call from Lewis who left 6 months ago after falling in love.

“Hi Babe.  I know I owe you £350 and I’m gonna pay you from my tax rebate.  I need a room coz my girlfriend’s chucked me out.  Can I have the one you’ve got free in my old house?  I can’t wait to hear from you and I’ve missed you”

The room he was talking about was indeed free but as Lewis was such a lousy payer AND left owing money I’d decided to offer it to a tenant’s friend, George – a camp and very personable Czech who wanted to pay by standing order.

Jimmy was also dying to get his hands on the room.  He was a friend of the previous incumbent and had turned down a room a couple of years ago.  Big, brash, handy with his fists and pretty dismissive of me, he suddenly became my New Best Friend when he heard the room was about to be free and texted me every day to ask when he could move in “I’m honest, clean and am desperate as my landlord’s chucking me out” – actually, I’d heard he’d gambled away most of his earnings, was sleeping on a friend’s sofa and none of the other tenants in the house liked him.

It’s starting to become the accommodation version of a casting couch!

Share This Article


5:40 AM, 29th June 2012, About 11 years ago

I think you might well start to specify professionals only for your HMO.
After all what professional wants to be in the same property as some drunk on the social.
You would achieve a better class of tenant which would attract similar tenants who want to rent where there are NOT dysfunctional benefit claimants.
The only downside to this is life would be a bit boring for you and you wouldn't have any of your funny stories about your tenants to amuse us all with

11:04 AM, 29th June 2012, About 11 years ago

Didn't realise HMOs were such a direct route out of singledom - it's the secret the dating sites never reveal! Seriously though, if you want to find more professional tenants, have you tried SpareRoom?

16:11 PM, 29th June 2012, About 11 years ago

It maybe apocrophal but I have noticed on the spareroom site that there seems to be an increasing amount of professional tenant requirements with a commensurate increase in the rents being offered.
I think if more householders were aware of these professional types more homeowners would be motivated to renting a spare room out as such rent can have a significant affect on a homeowner's finances.
To the point that it can staved off repossession etc.
Most of these professional types seem to have places to go in the weekends and weekdays they work hard.
This means that a householder hardly ever sees them and even then in my experience they seem to want to stay in the room on their lap-top!
You hardly know they are around.
Being professional types there is not the concerns about dodgy people in your property.
These spare rooms in homeowners properties are a national asset which could greatly assist the dearth of multi-occupancy property and it is a shame that this resource is not used to help out with the housing crisis.
Professionals prefer to be just a sharer in a normal property, it just needs homeowners to be aware of the income potential they are missing out on.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

16:16 PM, 29th June 2012, About 11 years ago

I agree Paul, the other thing homeowners are often unaware of is the tax incentives on the rental income. They can receice up to £4,250 a year tax free - details here >>>


20:41 PM, 1st July 2012, About 11 years ago

Absolutely, and my professionals are indeed boringly well behaved! Obviously great for business but I'm slightly concerned about blog material. I may have to start on the antics of letting agents.....! Thanks for your comments.

Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership


Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now