Notice of rent increase

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  • Mogino
    replied
    I have experienced all that the OP and others have said here.

    A HMO of individual tenants, by virtue of strangers sharing the same space, brings its own list of issues, problems, peculiarities & challenges.

    How the shared areas in a HMO are treated/kept will depend on the age of the property, its layout, its size, how many people share the property, what they are really like and what the landlord is like/expects.

    By far, the biggest determinant in keeping a well maintained & happy, individual tenancies HMO (cleanliness/tidiness wise, not LL maintenance wise), is to know, as best you can, who are the prospective tenants you are considering and whether they share the same/similar views about shared living as you and the existing other tenants, as well as learning about other things like age, temperament, work schedules. Some aspects of shared living can be addressed before anyone moves in and over the years, I have found that it is much better to inform prospective tenants of your and thus the existing tenants expectations of what I consider to be the most pivotal aspects in whether a home is harmonious or not.
    These aspects are cleanliness/tidiness, noise and having guests over (briefly or staying overnight).

    If each prospective tenant is made aware of what the expectations are in these 3 areas (preferably in writing), and getting confirmation from the prospective tenant that they are of like mind, it can greatly reduce the chances of putting incompatible people together. Once a tenant is in-situ, it is much harder to affect changes in their behaviour, whereas informing the prospective tenant in advance, they cannot ever say they were unaware of what was expected of them.
    In addition to the above, a LL needs to obtain a sense about a prospective tenant, during the brief time when they are conducting the viewing of the home, as well as afterwards, with their behaviour, responses and timeliness during phone or email conversations. This is otherwise known as "gut instinct".
    If the LL cannot do viewings themselves, then I would strongly recommend an experienced agent conduct the viewings, to obtain the same sense. Unfortunately, there is no formula for obtaining this sense and while some people might have this ability from the start, others can develop it over time.
    I do not believe tenants conducting viewings alone is a good idea, or the LL/agent never meeting the tenant before move in either.

    However, notwithstanding the above, you can still (as I have) end up with some level of tenant incompatibility in these areas, because some prospective tenants simply lie about their nature and willingness to comply with expectations, just so they can get a room.

    In my many years of running a HMO, I have opted for tenants being responsible for cleaning as well as paying for a professional cleaner.
    I have found issues with both.

    Tenants cleaning.
    1. Unless the LL engages with the tenants and creates a detailed & changing rota, tenants will argue over who does what, or each tenant chooses to "do their own thing" and leave the rest to others. Over time, this can become quite a can of worms.
    2. Tenants usually work during the week and are most likely tired by the time they come home. They may also have other things to do/want to do after work too. Thus, many tenants will not opt to clean Mon-Fri. This then leaves the weekend. At the weekend, some tenants will find something else to do, promising to do their bit of the cleaning "later", but who then don't do so. Those tenants who do their bit (at the weekend or other times) will begin resent those who "forget". If no cleaning is done each week or fortnight, then the cleaning required becomes greater and greater and the tenants' appetite for cleaning can become less and less.
    3. Tenants are not professional cleaners and their efforts vary considerably, as does their knowledge of what supplies are required. They can ignore the less obvious areas that need cleaning too.
    4. If tenants do not get along/are incompatible, all kinds of disputes can arise about the cleaning, or lack of. Tenants may also try to drag the LL into their disputes, which the LL cannot arbitrate over since they are not present and much is verbal/visual at the time.

    Professional cleaner.
    1. Unless the LL regularly inspects the property after a cleaner has visited, there is no way to know exactly what the cleaner has cleaned.
    2. Cleaners will clean the most obvious areas but they can forget about other areas which are not usually seen.
    3. If the cleaner knows the LL is not local, the cleaner may say they have cleaned on any particular occasion (and invoiced for it) but have not actually done so.
    4. As already mentioned, tenants can become complacent and allow dirt/mess to pile up, regardless of whether they have to pay for the cleaning separately or if it is included in the rent. Yet professional cleaners will not clean dishes, pans, etc. and cleaners can become less enthusiast about cleaning such a home.


    The additional rent that is commonly expected of a HMO of individual tenancies compared with a single tenancy HMO can only be determined to be worthwhile through experience, unfortunately, for each LL and for each home. In some areas, renting a HMO to a single group of people is easier and with less hassles/issues and the lower achievable rent compensating for this. But in other areas, the demand for 4+ bedroom single tenancy HMOs is low and so only individual tenancies are practicable.
    The LL just has to determine which is best for him/her, which again, can only really be determined over time.

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  • DPT57
    replied
    Having a lower rent in exchange for tenants cleaning the communal areas is an idea thats great in theory. However, the tenants soon get used to that rent and forget that its lower than it could be and then one of them stops bothering and that causes rows and eventually they all stop, because ultimately they know the landlord will have to get it done. Its the law of entropy.

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  • bananas
    replied
    Yes, that's precisely it. I am ultimately responsible for the hygiene of the communal areas, and the rent is set low on the basis that they all take a share of the cleaning of those, and the obligation is clear in their tenancy agreements - I provided a rota, distributing the work equally so that I would know who to tackle about what was left undone, but in the end nobody was a shining star, so I have informed them of the rent rise and booked cleaners - the rent rise will happen two months from the notice, so July. In the first instance we are paying £150 for a 'blitz' ourselves, and then they will be responsible for the ongoing costs. It will only cost between £15/£20pcm per tenant, depending on whether or not they use the shared bathroom, as it is unfair to charge those with ensuite rooms who don't use it. There is a large cupboard for undone washing up, and I'll provide some plastic boxes for the cleaners to put anything left lying in their way, and people will have to retrieve their washing up and their things at the end. I think they have taken it pretty well, and are probably quite looking forward to a cleaner house.

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  • DPT57
    replied
    There may be some unrealistic expectations here. It's usually up to the tenants how they choose to live and the state of cleanliness of their environment. In my experience of HMOs its below the standards that I would choose to live myself. Certainly the tenants in mine never mowed the lawn or cleaned the windows. This is just something that I think landlords have to accept. Your bottom line should really be the condition at the end of the tenancy not how they maintain it while they're living there.

    Having said that, if they have room only tenancies or there are licence conditions requiring it, then you probably have to provide a cleaner for the communal areas if the tenants are not doing the job.

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  • leaseholder64
    replied
    This laziness problem doesn't just affect HMOs; it also affect purpose built flats, especially where the leaseholder is a non-resident landlord.

    Personally I agree that bringing in cleaners just encourages more dependency.

    In outer London, an untidy front yard is just the standard indicator of a rented property, so I think the OP is optimistic if the expect one in an HMO to be maintained.

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  • AlexR
    replied
    Originally posted by bananas View Post
    We are intending to put up the rent for the tenants in our HMO -How much notice do they all need?
    .
    I believe you have to give two months notice for a rent increase

    Originally posted by bananas View Post
    if they don't do their bit, they they will have to pay a bit more rent to cover someone else doing it.
    .
    I have used cleaners in many houses over the years and it can make lazy tenants even lazier as everyone leaves mess for the cleaner to sort out. In addition the cleaners become demoralised as they turn up to find that they have to sort out piles of washing up etc - before they start to clean. The house will stay clean and tidy for maybe a day if you are lucky.

    Originally posted by bananas View Post
    The only alternative I can see is taking the lazy ones to court or evicting them for breach of tenancy, but that seems even harsher.
    I have always found that the lazy ones "don't have a problem with it (the mess)" and try and say they are just living in a normal way. It is difficult to pin specific actions to specific tenants in a HIMO as the landlord does not live there and has to rely on witnesses. So you may find the good tenants leave,especially if they only have to give one months notice,and you will be left with trying to get new tenants for a messy house. If you know who the messy ones are they must be encouraged to go elsewhere otherwise you will always have a messy house. The 'harshness' you mention is because this is an incompatibility problem - tidy people cannot stand living with slobs and just because someone is untidy,lazy and thoughtless does not mean they are bad tenant - just a pain to live with.

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  • bananas
    replied
    If only we were in London and there were a queue of new tenants though! They aren't bad, just immature. I think pretty typical for the area.

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  • theartfullodger
    replied
    Issue s13 notices.

    But I evict bad tenants

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  • bananas
    started a topic Notice of rent increase

    Notice of rent increase

    We are intending to put up the rent for the tenants in our HMO - not to profit from them, but because despite the tenancy agreement saying 'the tenant shall keep the interior of the property and the shared areas clean, tidy, and in the same condition as at the start of the tenancy (except for fair wear and tear).....' and other similar clauses about the garden, the windows etc. they aren't doing it, and we are going to have to get a cleaning agency in. (Or rather some of them 'were' doing their bit, and then when they saw the others doing bugger all, they gave up, and complained to us, not unreasonably, about their housemates.) How much notice do they all need? They are on rolling ASTs starting with a 6 month tie in on either side. We've never put the rent up on tenants in situ, and I don't like doing it, but the internal politics is a nightmare, and the way I see it, we as landlords are responsible for a hygienic environment for all, and if they don't do their bit, they they will have to pay a bit more rent to cover someone else doing it. The only alternative I can see is taking the lazy ones to court or evicting them for breach of tenancy, but that seems even harsher.

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