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Pros & Cons of Renting a Room

I've always been a little sceptical about the benefits of renting a room (House in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) or otherwise).

I’ve always been a little sceptical about the benefits of renting a room (House in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) or otherwise).  This may sound strange coming from a letting agent in Dundee, especially as Belvoir Lettings used to operate in the HMO market. When I say sceptical I mean from a tenants perspective, the for/against equation for landlords is relatively simple, but I think less so for the tenants (or their parents).

Some recently published statistics (courtesy of Property Industry Eye and SpareRoom.com) indicate that the cost of renting a room have outpaced incomes by quite a large margin across the UK.

Now these statistics are mainly about working people who rent rooms and are UK wide, however I thing that the basic principles apply to students just as much. 

I’m not going to analyse the non-financial reasons people share as they will vary from individual to individual but they include; the perceived financial benefits of shared costs, attraction of the ‘all inclusive packages’ (e.g. utilities, broadband, TV licence etc), the support/company/security provided by flat mates the first time away from home, the HMO regulations themselves providing some assurance of the ‘quality’ of the property/landlord/agent.

Now some of these factors are purely personal, how comfortable you feel in a new town and unfamiliar environment.  However, two things spring to mind, firstly that all rental accommodation is heavily regulated in Scotland, if your potential landlord/agent isn’t playing by the rules then you have various avenues open.  First and foremost make sure that they are registered under the Landlord Registration Scheme (check online or with the council) and NEVER hand any money over until you are satisfied that everything is above board and no you shouldn’t be paying referencing fees. 

Secondly and on a financial basis I don’t think the numbers always stack up, which is one of the reasons we often see tenants who may have spent their first year or so in Halls or HMO’s of one sort or another downsizing to one or two bedroom properties remarkable quickly.

Partly it may be that they have gained more confidence and familiarity with the City and its environment but also it can be simply cost.  I’ve just been online to have a very quick look at some of the ‘all inclusive’ deals, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with them but they ranged from around £70 - £99 per week and you’re not always getting as much as you expect. 

We often get tenants who after a period of time in Halls/HMOs have figured out that two of them in a good quality one or two bedroom flat, even paying their own utilities etc, can result in a significant saving over the shared housing with additional benefit of more privacy and maybe a better standard of accommodation.

I’m not suggesting that this works for everyone, merely that you shouldn’t take things at face value, do the sums, look at what factors which are important to you, view a few flats and see where it leads you.

If you have any questions about any of the above (or anything letting related) then please don’t hesitate to drop by our office at Belvoir Lettings Dundee, 33 Union Street, DD1 4BS or you can email me at nick.horan@belvoirlettings.com and I will do my best to answer your query.

Good hunting,

Nick Horan

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