Online House Hunter: Becoming a landlord
MANY areas of London and the south-east are seeing a strong demand for rented rooms.
It’s partly driven by the difficulty many first-time buyers are having in getting a mortgage or finding the right sort of house in their chosen area. The 2012 Olympics is also having an effect with a boom in people seeking rented properties or rooms in the London area.
According to the UK’s leading flat and house share website, Spareoom.co.uk, 2010 was a record year for renting out a room, with 200,000 more UK households putting their room on the market, and with new live-in landlord advertisements in the latter part of 2010 being 44% higher than the end of 2009. The site also noted that lodger numbers had grown by 162% since 2007.
“A lack of affordable housing means demand for a room is higher than ever,” says Matt Hutchinson, director of Spareroom.co.uk. “Many cash-strapped homeowners are taking in lodgers to avoid falling in to arrears, and this has prompted an increase in new live-in landlords over the past 18 months,” he adds.
So what advice is there for anyone thinking of renting out that spare room?
“The first tip we’d give to anyone thinking of taking in a lodger for the first time, is don’t rush the process,” advises Mr Hutchinson. “Make sure you’ve thought it through and understand all the practical and legal considerations. It’s important to notify your insurer and your mortgage lender, draw up a tenancy agreement and conduct the appropriate checks.”
A number of online websites are looking at ways to tackle the problem of assessing and checking out potential tenants. These can help you discover if the tenant is in full-time employment, has credit problems, how long they’ve lived in their current accommodation and their likely age.
One such website is 192.com. Dominic Blackburn, product director of 192.com said, “Take personal responsibility for background checking who you’re going to share your home with by using 192.com to confirm the lodger’s employment, marital status, and age. You can also use 192.com to trace the lodger’s previous landlord to get a reference.”
With these checks and following the legal and commonsense advice found on sites such as the National Landlords Association, becoming a landlord should be a trouble-free experience.
- Our online property search which includes houses to let
- The National Landlords Association
- 192.com lodger check
- Rent-a-room Scheme (government tax-free scheme)
- Rentchecks - tenant referencing online source
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