Monday, 11 February 2013

Goldilocks Tenant

I’ve noticed growing numbers of an unsettling new phenomenon: increasing desperate, repeated pleas for homes, shared on social networking sites. A friend reposted this request:

3/4 bedroom house needed for a very well house trained lot.. We are a family of 5 and a dog who are currently living in a 2 bed house. You do the maths!!!! We have great references, we lived in our last house for 9 years and have been stuck in this temporary stop for 18 months and seem unable to get out of it through no fault of our own. We had a great house to move into next week but someone came along and bought it at the last minute. We are sleeping on a sofa bed which is so detrimental to our well being and we have had enough!! It seems like every other road in ????? has empty student housing at the moment. ???? Rd is a perfect example, 12 student houses to let but NOT to families!!!!! Please help, pass this on to people you know..... If you have a house, know of a house, someone with a house we would be great tenants. We ARE great tenants.... The deal: you, your friend, an acquaintance get a lovely family a new home and a warm fuzzy feeling of helping us back from the brink of total despair and stop us dealing with the white sharks in sharp suits also known as ESTATE AGENTS!!!! Oh and rent, yep rent. We pay rent, look after the house on a long term basis and you get peace of mind knowing that your house is in great, capable hands. We are self employed which somehow means we are untouchable in the land of estate agents without a £5/6000 deposit and a guarantor who earns over £32,000 a year...... The deal: let's talk... SOON!!

They sound great, don’t they? Lovely people, by the sound of it.

Except… Work these days is frequently low paid, casualised, part time and temporary. The unemployed are being directed into self-employment, no matter how unsuited their skills or capabilities. Before they let to the self-employed, rentiers request five years audited accounts, which ignores an economic crisis, where tenants might be recent graduates, or that modern work is precarious and transient, with portfolio careers, ‘flexibility’ and – newsflash – thinking on your feet to make money after redundancy.

What about people who know they are already way down on any owner’s wish-list: working claimants, given notice to leave through no fault of their own and now looking for a new place to live, scared as potential home-providers are claimant averse? What if they live in cities where students whose stay is finite are preferred over families who want to stay long term, perhaps indefinitely?

Prospective tenants must be like Goldilocks’ porridge: just right – precisely and exactly right, not too old, or too young, too rich (they’ll leave asap) or too poor. Childless but in secure families (go figure.) Working but not too many hours as this will disturb the neighbours. It's impossible.

Who will ever find a home these days? Who?


Anonymous said...

So this Goldilocks eats a lot of poridge ,Does anyone know what she drinks ?

space cadet said...

"???? Rd is a perfect example, 12 student houses to let but NOT to families!!!!!"

This is a big student city then, i'm guessing, cos I've also known that to work completely the other way - because landlords won't bother to get an HMO - so it's families only allowed. No sharers. And on reflection, I can see why landlords don't bother; when the licence gets revoked so easily.

But things are very desperate, yes. And lanlords and tenants alike are resorting to new tactics now. It transpires that our landlord is subletting their housing association property. Now I have to find out if a) landlord has permission from HA to sublet and b) they are making a profit (strictly not allowed).

If this sublet has not been permitted, we could have just 28 days to find a new home. And how do we find that out without making ourselves homeless. (@28 days notice) I am so angry right now. For the "landlord" it's as easy as sticking an ad on Gumtree. And that is it.

(But we tenants have it all our way, don't we)

RenterGirl said...

Goldilocks drinks juice. (How the hell do I know???)

And yep, just who makes the ideal tenant is getting really daft now. It is a student city, mostly. But what about graduates?

Anonymous said...

They do sound nice.

But the unspoken bit about the rent, as a vague afterthought, might put landlords off (most of them are only in it for the money you know!);

"Oh and rent, yep rent. We pay rent... often, if we get paid, sometimes, when we can, when we feel like it, occasionally, its not that important to us really."

Far more attractive would be something like;

"Paying the rent is our top priority. We have detailed records of over 10 years of paying the rent on time, every month without fail, in full, with bank statements and landlord references to prove."

Most landlords don't care if your lovely as long as the rent is paid.

Regards, HB Welcome.

Anonymous said...

>"???? Rd is a perfect example, 12 student houses to let but NOT to families!!!!!"

In at least 30 cities student houses cannot be rented to families, as once a LL does that it can't be let back to students without a new planning permission, and often it is policy simply not to approve any more.

Oxford, Nottingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Hillingdon, Barking and Dagenham, Milton Keynes, Manchester ...

Just part of the general LA Article 4 crackdown on shared renting.

I've no idea where single people are supposed to live.

RenterGirl said...

I think they were hoping to be light-hearted. Is that seriously such a crime? That they might seek a friendly approach? It didn't used to be that way. And this is to spread amongst friends, remember. And - it's been known to work: friendly landlord finds friendly tenant. No hostilities. No need for owners to show bank statements proving they have paid their mortgage...

Anonymous said...

Come on rentergirl keep up how are you ever going to be the straight man with answers like "Juice how the hell do I know."

The correct reply would have been - I don't know what does goldilocks drink ?????


Or maybe thats just another different fairytale.

However would snow white's place be classed as a HMO or student let? Mmmmmmm.

RenterGirl said...

No: Snow White drinks 7 Up. Does Goldilocks drink... mead? nd yes, Snow White's lndlord might need an HMo licence. But... it's sort of her own wicked stepmother.

Barney from Newington said...

I would be delighted to rent to a family who were willing to pay the same rental rates as students without the hassle and expense of HMO licensing.

My experience is that a property with a HMO licence will rent for approximately a third more than a property without a HMO licence. (This is what happens when you restrict supply).

I can only imagine that the family can be having problems because of either:

a) Student letting usually starts in Aug/Sep and ends in Jun/Jul. Letting outside these periods can be difficult so landlords may be reluctant to let to someone whose lease end may not tie in with these dates.

b)The planning permission issue for some cities as per Anonymous's comments above.

Anonymous said...

Rentergirl, why are you complaining about "12 student houses to let but NOT to families!!!!! "

You and the campaigning groups and Shelter want more landlord regulation and property licensing. WHAT DO YOU EXPECT??????????

In the example (I assume Article 4 is operation). A landlords, will have to keep their property EMPTY, rather then rent to a family. As the landlord would loose the right to rent that property to students / sharers in the future.

This is because once student house is rented to a family. Under Article 4, it becomes a singel family dwelling house.

The landlord would need to apply for Planning Permission to change the property from a dwelling house to a HMO (e.g. rented to flat-sharer, 3 nurses or students).

Apply for Planning Permission is where the problems comes in. It is up to the Council to decide wether to grant planning permission or not, or impose silly conditions such as demading one parking space per bedroom. So a 3 bedroom house would need 3 parking spaces. Or their planning policy may say no ALL students houses.

I know I have not explained Article 4 well....

Anonymous said...

I should add with The London Borough of Newham. Their property licensing scheme is unfit for purpose. You have 3 different types of licenses. If you have a license to rent to families, you can't rent to sharers, without spending £500 on a brand new license.

So after crossing one hurdle, you have another hurdle, Newham has Artcle 4. However, Newham's planning policy said you can't rent to any sharers e.g. 3 nurses etc..

We will see more advert such as "no families" or "no sharers / no flatshares"

RenterGirl said...

I am complaining about the fact thta there are now an impossible series of conditions and requirements to rent (apart from the references/guarantors. And that houses are sometimes let by chnaging all the rooms ( rooms) instead of to families, done by greedy landlords who can mke more money. Faimilies siffer. HMO tenants suffer with no shared space. The HMO rules were brought in after landlords behaved badly.

Anonymous said...

RG- "The HMO rules were brought in after some landlords behaved badly."

And it only targets landlords who aren't behaving badly.

HMO licensing has made no difference whatsoever to badly behaving landlords. If anything, it has encouraged them by creating a larger underground market.

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space cadet said...

"The HMO rules were brought in after some landlords behaved badly."

I always thought they were brought in by councils to try and control the area, whilst making a tidy little profit at the same time. There is well-thought out regulation, that helps people and then there is this. Who are HMOs really helping? It's not tenants, and it's not landlords. It's the local authority.

Barney from Newington said...

"The HMO rules were brought in after some landlords behaved badly."

Should read:

"The HMO rules were brought in after Shelter convinced the Scottish parliament that the risk of fire in shared accommodation was 46 times that of family accommodation".

space cadet said...

Barney, i'm wondering why you write such churlish comments? Only, it makes you sound like such a heartless bastard.

Barney from Newington said...

You think that I am joking?

That is exactly what happened.

RenterGirl said...

Oh, just ignore Barney. Mostly I do. He's just bitter troll. landlord who thinks he should be able to treat tenants excetly s he sees fit ie badly. That's why he hates Shelter: because they stop him.

Anonymous said...

Barney from Newington said...

"The HMO rules were brought in after Shelter convinced the Scottish parliament that the risk of fire in shared accommodation was 46 times that of family accommodation".

-"That is exactly what happened."

I disagree.
Can you provide a link to prove your statement?

Regards, HB Welcome.

Anonymous said...

They were quoting a 6x for all HMOs vs single family, and 17x for 3 storey HMOs vs single family as part of their "Private Rental Danger" campaign on 'fire safety' around 2000 (inflammatory? Shelter? :-).

"Tenants in bedsits are six times more likely to die from fire than people living in houses occupied by a single household

Adults living in bedsits three or more storeys high are almost seventeen times more likely to be killed in a fire than those living in single family houses"

It is also the case that the current lot of HMO licensing started in Scotland in 2000, and had huge input into that.

Quite possible that a 46x figure was in there somewhere or other for the Scotland region.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anonymous (Barney?),

Your links don't prove Barney's statement.

Though I do agree with much of what you've just posted.

What Barney said was:-

"The HMO rules were brought in after Shelter convinced the Scottish parliament that the risk of fire in shared accommodation was 46 times that of family accommodation".

Which I believe is incorrect.

He goes on to say:-

-"That is exactly what happened."

I disagree, it is not exactly what happened at all. It is only very vaguely what happened if you look at it from a rather jaundiced point of view.

However, Shelter were right to point out there was/still is a big problem with slumlords and HMO's- though from looking through the consultation reports of the time, I'm not convinced they had a 'huge input'.

Unfortunately, HMO licensing hasn't worked and doesn't work on the very areas where it is most needed. It has become a huge bureaucratic exercise for local authorities to administer 'good' landlords shifting the focus from the real problem. It has also resulted in a lot of bad unintended consequences.

It is time to scrap it and have a thorough re-think of how to effectively tackle the real problem.

Regards, HB Welcome.

Barney (the bitter troll) from Newington said...

Anonymous is not me however I do recognise that the figures he quote are as per the Entec report which I believe is the official recongnised fire risk for HMOs in England and Wales (despite being discredited by the Cowell report).

At the time that HMO licensing was introduced the figure quoted in Scotland was much higher but this appears to have been downgraded. As reports that used to say that the risk was a statistical fact now state that the fire risk in HMOs is much higher than in family accommodation.

Unfortunately I can't find links to support this, nor can I can find a link for either "The Entec report" or "The Cowell Report".

Barney (the bitter troll) from Newington said...

I agree that HMO licensing should be scrapped.

It is a very good example of why a little legislation is a dangerous thing.

I don't think most landlords would have a problem with a law that stops overcrowding of properties and implements basic safety standards.

Unfortunately the safety standards for HMO licensing are now set at aspirational levels and some councils are forcing all landlords to fit carpets in their properties.

This is restricting supply and causing rents for HMO properties to be very high which upsets tenants.

Thia leads me on to another sore point, the current court consultation in Scotland to outsource the court process.

The consultation is a joke you get a choice of three options of outsourcing the court system to a lay team of property professionals and no option to stick with the current court system or for the PRS to be exempt from the measures (most evictions are in the social sector).

The case study they use to justify the change in system is an ex soldier who kills himself because he gets evicted.

What the PRS needs is pragmatic common sense decision making from a grown up parliament but instead we get ridiculous emotional blackmail.