Renting a room has never been so popular and is the fastest growing type of tenure across the UK.
The growth of the flatshare market has attracted landlords with the intention of specialising in providing high quality room rents. The idea of shabby bedsits and grubby student living portrayed in TV programmes of old like The Young Ones and Rising Damp are far from the reality of today’s flatshares, which are much closer to what you see in Friends or Not Going Out, these days.
What do today’s room rentals look like?
These days typical flatshares include all bills, and many include a cleaner, flatscreen TVs, high speed broadband and other mod cons. They cater for a young professional market, people who like to live in comfortable conditions and care about their environment, but don’t have time to worry about maintenance – so it’s handy when this is all managed by the landlord.
Visit SpareRoom's renting by the room checklist
Sally Lawson of Concentric Lettings is based in the Midlands and Manchester, and they have even made a video of what it’s like to rent a room in one of their ‘mid-range’ HMOs:
Sally has been investing in property for over 20 years and has helped new landlords buy and refurbish property to a high standard, especially room rents – sometimes called ‘homes in multiple occupation’ or HMOs’.
And here’s another example from Andrew Paris who I have known for years who is developing the most beautiful ‘palaces’ fit for anyone to live in, in Nottingham.
'Our room rents are in the region of £450 - £500 p.c.m. This is all inclusive of rents, gas, electric, water, council tax. High speed broadband also included. There is a weekly clean of the communal areas, the garden/yard is looked after and outside windows cleaned every 6 weeks (all included in the rents)
We make sure our kitchens are fully equipped with pots, pans, plates, glasses, cuttlery and all our houses have a dishwasher, are fully furnished and include a large flat screen TVs in the communal sitting room."
One thing Andrew points out is "It's a very sociable way to live with other professional working young people - we try hard to match prospective tenants with those already in the house."
And this isn't just any landlord we are talking to, Andrew is a real professional. He is a member of the National Landlords Association, East Midlands Landord Association, DASH approved, which is joint local working initiative with local authorities, Nottingham Standard Accredited and a member of the East Midlands Property Owners group.
So it's clear that renting a room is now a great option, whatever your budget and that the 'good landlords and agents operating in this area like Concentric and Andrew are trail blazing a fantastically high quality rental market, which remains good value for money.
And great tenants shouldn't shy away from negotiating - £500 per year can be saved!
SpareRoom.co.uk latest research suggests that tenants who rent rooms can also save themselves a decent amount of money - if they are happy to negotiate a little!
Visit SpareRoom’s renting by the room checklist
According to SpareRoom.co.uk “one in ten UK tenants have successfully haggled rents down by an average of £40.81 per month” That equates to nearly £500 per year.
But this means most of tenants don’t get any money off their rent. 90% of landlords are just offered the asking price and some of these are paying more than the room or property was advertised for.
The hardest place to haggle is London of course where demand is high and supply falling, so there are as many as 13 people are looking at just one room and can end up as a result paying more than the asking rent.
Visit SpareRoom’s renting by the room checklist
Biggest lesson learned from the research?
Even with the demand for room rents in London increasing over the last few years and room rents rising 6.5%, landlords appear more keen to secure the right tenant – than worry too much about maximising rent levels.
Imagine a landlord has a good tenant who pays £500 rent each month on time. But the landlord thinks they can get £550 if they put it back on the market.
That’s an extra £50 a month. Sounds good in theory, but in practice, it’s not a viable decision to kick a good tenant out for one who’s payment track record is unknown.
An extra £50 x 12 months is £600 a year. But much of this money will go on re-advertising the property, signing tenancy agreements, credit checks, an inventory and possible extra checks on electrics. So the £600 ‘extra’ soon disappears. And if the new tenant misses one months’ payment, then the landlord will quickly be out of pocket.
According to Matt Hutchinson, director of SpareRoom.co.uk, “nearly 40% of UK renters say location is the number one priority when choosing a room to rent, while around 25% look for ones in great condition. Over three quarters of Landlords on the other hand reported if they had a great tenant, they would consider reducing the rent for them.”
Take a look at some of our FREE renting and letting checklists including:-