Should I let my HMO tenants choose their new flatmate?

by Readers Question

13:37 PM, 4th February 2018
About 3 years ago

Should I let my HMO tenants choose their new flatmate?

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Should I let my HMO tenants choose their new flatmate?

I’m keen to hear from other HMO/flatshare landlords on the topic of replacing existing flatmates – specifically, how much do you involve the existing flatmates in choosing the new person?

I’ve got a HMO that I let to professionals (I don’t use agents). Tenants are all under 30. Broadly, I trust these tenants not do anything daft. That’s partly because I went to great lengths when I picked them in the first place – but it took a lot of time to filter out the flaky ones.

One of the tenants has now given notice. The other five tenants all get on well. They will no doubt be wondering what the new incoming tenant will be like – it is a big deal for them, as well as me.

Should I give the tenants my criteria for tenant selection and let them choose the new person (and do the viewings)?

Does anyone have a method here. Interested to hear the pros and cons.

p.s. I’m all too aware of how bad things can get with the wrong tenant, so no need to tell me that. I’m more interested in hearing about how other landlords keep the current tenants on side, when vacancies arise.

StJims

Comments

Yvonne Francis

11:10 AM, 5th February 2018
About 3 years ago

It has not been specified if this is a joint tenancy under one lease or if the property is let as rooms with separately leases?. If it is a joint tenancy then a landlord cannot put in a new tenant themselves although the landlord can refuse to put them on the lease and if there is a no subletting clause, block that way around if the tenants try that.

However in any sort of house/flat sharing putting in a new tenant is best when the rest are happy with them. They can in all circumstances allow you to check them out and you can refuse if that's reasonable. (In fact in a joint tenancy they would thank you)

I have student HMO's and if a place has to be filled I always specify we need a full time student with parents within this country who are willing to give a guarantee and preferably although not essential at certain colleges in our city. I also let them do the viewings. I always check their student status and their guarantees. It actually protects them as much as me as it's a joint tenancy.

Paul Shears

11:12 AM, 5th February 2018
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Yvonne Francis at 05/02/2018 - 11:10
Very well said.

Rob Crawford

12:10 PM, 5th February 2018
About 3 years ago

The objective being to get the best tenant available asap. What I do is advertise myself on spare room but also invite my tenants to try and find a suitable tenant. If they do this successfully, I give them a reward of £30. All tenants do the viewings with myself and must go through the same vigorous credit and reference checks. Typically the current tenants don't actually find anyone, hence running an advert at the same time is important to ensure non occupation of the room is minimal. As Yvonne points out, if the property is rented on a single tenancy, a new AST may be required.

James Nelson

18:27 PM, 5th February 2018
About 3 years ago

No one seems to have mentioned the time and hassle that is saved when existing tenants find a new flatmate for you.

They are unlikely to choose someone patently undesirable either.

I would prefer not to get involved at all.
Often this is not practical ( tenants won’t have the same sense of urgency to find a replacement for example ) but if it is , it’s very much the way forward in my opinion.

matchmade

15:15 PM, 13th February 2018
About 3 years ago

I agree that it can work well if you let the tenants conduct the viewings and interview the candidates: they tend to choose someone they like, and everyone feels a greater sense of investment in their tenancy. It can also save you a lot of work if you don't live close to the property. However I always tell the tenants that I will be checking references and reserve the right of first refusal on their choice of housemate.

You also need to be prepared to step in and do everything yourself, if you realise that the existing tenants are being too picky or are poor at attending meetings and reaching agreement. The rules of this particular game need to be made clear at the outset to the existing tenants.

I would never use a letting agent to do viewings of an HMO, unless they can demonstrate they understand the market and that they will only charge a finders fee.

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