Demand for room letting is growing in many parts of the country. There are various factors causing this growth which are listed below. It should be noted not all parts of the country are affected by the same factors to the same extent.
- Insufficient income after lifestyle costs for a flat/house
- Not keen on a house share owing to each tenant having a different tenancy plan
- Work relocation and being unable to sell main residence
- Work relocation with family staying in main residence
- Overseas temporary workers
- Separation and insufficient income to rent a flat/house
- Benefit claimer under 35 now only qualifying for a room
- Drug and criminal rehabilitation into the private rental sector
For Tenants considering renting a room in a property
If renting direct from a private landlord ensure that they are accredited either by the local council or the National Landlord Association or Residential Landlord Association.
If you are going to rent via a lettings agency to protect yourself from unfair fees and exposure to unsafe housing only rent through an agency that is a member of ARLA or Safeagent. These agencies have strict codes of conduct/practice that they have to operate within.
Many landlords and agents are not familiar with management rules for individual room letting in a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). If you go to the Shelter website and search for Houses in Multiple Occupation you will find good information there. Rules apply whether a property needs a licence or not and these rules can vary by local authority. Ask the landlord or agent for a copy of the Fire Risk Assessment or the HMO Licence conditions – if they haven’t got either find another landlord/agent for your own safety.
The local council will have valuable information to guide you in what to look for before you make the decision to commit to a contract.
For Landlords considering letting rooms in a property.
Letting multiple rooms in a property is far more complex than letting to a couple or family on a standard AST. Unless you are an experienced accredited landlord I urge you to take advice from a professional qualified agent or an Environmental Health Officer from the local council.
The rules relating to room letting are not over bearing and generally very easy to deal with. Landlords should be aware that management of the common areas including the hall, stairs, landing, kitchen and bathroom are a landlords/agents responsibility and not the tenants. A landlord should apply rules on tenants obtaining their agreement to use the common areas in a particular way to help ensure a landlords duty is managed.
Terry Lucking, owner and director of Belvoir who specialise in room lettings in Cambridge, is willing to help guide landlords and tenants who have questions relating to management standards for multi room let properties.
Belvoir Cambridge is an accredited and regulated letting agent. Members of ARLA, Safe agent, Safeagent and the Property Ombudsman. It is a requirement for a member of ARLA and Safe Agent to have Client Money Protection and have their accounts independently audited annually.
If you are considering using an agent that isn’t a member of Safe Agent or ARLA ask yourself a question – would you think would visit a doctor who wasn’t qualified?
Terry offers free advice and free property visits to all investors who are considering buying. For more information or to ask Terry a question send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org