Room by room – Please help me

by Readers Question

9:15 AM, 12th August 2019
About 4 months ago

Room by room – Please help me

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Room by room – Please help me

I have decided to let my property to students, but as the property still being refurbished I have missed the opportunity to let to a group of students under one contract as I was told would be the best option.

I am now considering letting to individual student tenants to fill the rooms. I have just had a terrible experience going through a court case evicting a family from my property which cost me thousands of pounds in unpaid rent, fees, mortgage payments and builders cost.

It’s been 12 months and I have been paying the mortgage out of my own funds and getting pretty depressed as my other tenant also gave notice and there has not been much interest so far. The market is terrible out there it seems.

I would really like advice about how to make sure that I don’t make a mistake and avoid going to court when letting individual rooms to 5 different tenants.

I have been running my small portfolio successfully for the past 10 years, but after the terrible experience I am worried about being in the same situation again. I have put an advert with an agent, but even he told me there are tons of empty properties available and I missed the student season. I have put an advert with the local uni and spare room have interest, but from individuals rather than groups.

Could I have some advice around how to make sure I choose the right students, ie if a foreign student they will not have a guarantor so how much deposit I should ask for, I hear agents ask them to pay 6 months upfront. Say it’s a local student what type of contact etc.

Please kindly help me. I really need it.

Ela



Comments

Ian Narbeth

9:57 AM, 12th August 2019
About 4 months ago

Dear Ela
Are you licensed as an HMO landlord? Do you have experience of running an HMO?

Alison King

10:49 AM, 12th August 2019
About 4 months ago

Whereabouts is the property? Maybe someone here has student properties in the same town and can help.
From what you've said I think you should consider seeking the assistance of a local agent at least for the first year. Be completely upfront with them about your intentions and concerns to ensure you and the agent form the best arrangement for your requirements, including exit strategy.

Whiteskifreak Surrey

11:37 AM, 12th August 2019
About 4 months ago

I am not sure if you could rent to 5 students under 1 joint AST. Generally it is always 4 students/4 bedrooms, more is classified as HMO (at least in Surrey).
As the other said it is better to give that to a local agent, but if you need to licence your house as an HMO that presents another set of problems. A good advice is recommended.

Ela

12:06 PM, 12th August 2019
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 12/08/2019 - 09:57
Hi, this is my first HMO and applied for a licence which is in progress. My landlord course is in November.

Ian Narbeth

12:28 PM, 12th August 2019
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Ela at 12/08/2019 - 12:06
Hi Ela
I recommend you meet with the Council's HMO officer on site and see what, if any, works and alterations to the house are needed. Once you have let the property you will not be able to carry out intrusive works. If the officer insists on certain works for you to get the licence you need to be able to do them. Otherwise you will be restricted to 4 tenants and even then you may find you are in breach, e.g. of rules relating to fire safety which apply to apply HMOs, not just licensed ones.

Luke P

16:20 PM, 12th August 2019
About 4 months ago

With the greatest of respect, the way in which you have asked the question shows (at least to me) a massive hole in your knowledge. You need professional assistance and/or to stop what you're doing. You'll likely have an unnecessary Council tax bill too if you're renting room-by-room.

HMOs are not the best way to start being a LL, especially if you have knowledge gaps.

Yvonne Francis

17:03 PM, 12th August 2019
About 4 months ago

Can not quite understand the post by Whiteskifreak Surrey. My houses are HMO's, and let to eight under a joint tenancy. All student houses in my area are the same. Also, in my area, a HMO is three or more unrelated individuals and not four.

If Ela you have never had a HMO before, then you certainly need some professional advice, especially from your Council. There are so many standards you need to meet especially for fire regs. There are also many uncertainties with students houses in the PRS on the horizon, with new legislation being considered in Parliament, i.e abolishing section 21 and altering leases, possibly to something similar to Scotland.

As for your point about students who can not give a valid guarantee from parents within this country, as a self managing landlord, I simply cannot take them, even though I have forty years of experience. They are best left for agents to manage.
I find in my area lots of students who would lack any valid parental guarantee, applying at this late stage, so this is another reason it would be best to use an agent.

If you still wish to advertise your self, then the best sites are in my experience:-
https://www.accommodationforstudents.com/advertise
https://sturents.com/advertise-student-accommodation


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