The place was already rented and the landlord, sorry the person that had a contract with the landlord, wanted us to find a new tenant for a vacant room. In other words, a person taking control of a property and then hiring us to find tenants. This, as usual, led to me giving advice on the safety and legalities of the property.
The problem was that said person was spending what little money they had on splitting the place into even more rooms to maximise profit, and nothing on fire safety.
The property must seem rather simple to the untrained eye, but it’s quite worrying to be visiting HMO’s with 4 + tenants that don’t have a fire door on the kitchen or working fire alarms.
Having goals of acquiring X amount of rental properties is fine as long as peoples lives are not put at risk.
Ironically as I write this on Thursday 29th October 2019, the Grenfell Tower incident is on the BBC breakfast news. Without going into detail about why that building went up like a bonfire on Guy Fawkes night, it’s safe to say that since this happened the councils across the UK have come down on fire safety with an iron fist.
However, fire safety is only one aspect of property management that we have to consider.
1. Do you have good AST in place?
AST stands for Assured Shorthold Tenancy. I’ve had landlords asking me for advice on how to evict bad tenants but unfortunately, there hasn’t been a lot we could do due to the fact that they didn’t an AST or at least not a decent one in place.
At Home-Share our AST’s are written by a legal professional and cover our clients so that we have no problems if we are forced to evict someone. Without this, the landlord is quite powerless and normally end up bribing there tenant to leave, which can be costly.
2. Another reason for problems evicting tenants.
Leading on from the last point about evicting tenants – Did you know that if correct certificates aren’t presented to new tenants with a signature to show that they’ve seen them on their move-in day, there could be an issue evicting them if need be.
3. 12 months rent refunded.
All you need to do is look on google to make a claim back on the rent you’ve paid if your landlord hasn’t got an HMO license. If a tenant finds out that your HMO doesn’t have a license they can claim back 12 months worth of rent. Tenants are becoming increasingly savvy these days and cases like this are cropping up in the property news.
4. 3/4 bed HMO doesn’t need a license though.
So property has only 3-4 tenants and doesn’t need a license, assuming it’s not in a selective or additional licensing area.
However, anything with 3 or more unrelated tenants is considered an HMO and fire safety becomes essential. Not only fire doors, but the correct alarm system, fire-resistant plasterboard/paint across all exit routes just to skim the surface – excuse the pun.