Student accommodation for 3, two students advice

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    Student accommodation for 3, two students advice

    I am currently advertising student accommodation for a landlord which consists of three bedrooms and shared facilities. We recently had two students interested in the property who were unable to find a third person to join them. The landlord wants a joint and several AST with the rent being paid 4-weekly. the landlord also wants the entire rental amount even if a third tenant is not found which would increase the share of the rent for the two students to be quite high. I suggested to the landlord that it may be wise to negotiate, in the event that a 3rd tenant could not be found, a slightly lower rent which would partly cover the third room's share of the rent but the landlord believes that the students will just get a third person in on the sly and is unwilling to do this.

    Due to this the two students did not wish to place an intent deposit until a 3rd person could be found. I found a 3rd tenant only to discover that the original two have now found somewhere else and not notified me.

    I am again going to reiterate to the landlord my suggestion to consider negotiating a lower rent if only two tenants are found as this (finding 1 or 2 tenants who then pull out before I can find all 3) is likely to continue and the academic year is fast approaching which may mean no students.

    I will suggest if the landlord is concerned about a third tenant being brought in on the sly that the simplest option is to not supply a third bed and then if I discover a bed/mattress/belongings not of the tenant's in the property during a management visit they will be in breach of their agreement and we will get them to sign a new agreement. However it has been suggested to me that I should also suggest simply locking the third room so they do not have access. I did not consider this as I do not feel this is an option as the tenants will not be held under agreements on a per-room basis so we cannot stop them having access to the third bedroom and am looking for confirmation of this. If it is something which is an option it would certainly aid in swaying the landlord to accept negotiating on two rooms. I am aware this may be an option if the tenants were under separate agreements for each of their rooms however in order to keep the landlord protected they wish to use a joint and several agreement to ensure rent can always be collected in full if one tenant does not pay.

    Advice would be most appreciated. (even other suggestions of action should 3 tenants not be found)

    #2
    Are you a letting agent or a tenant hoping to leave the property early?

    Why is it your problem?

    Assuming you are the agent, none of the solutions you suggest seem rational to me. Just tell the LL to decide how much rent is the minimum he is prepared to accept, then advertise the property as a having 3 bedrooms and costing £x pcm for a joint tenancy. If he is unwilling to do this I would be asking why not.

    Then give it to the first suitable pair/threesome who apply. The TA presumably prohibits subletting and long-term 'guests' living there as their principal residence; after that, it is up to the Ts how they share the accommodation/make sleeping arrangements. All the stuff about campbeds before the Ts have even been selected, verges on paranoia.

    If you do as I suggest and get no takers, he will just have to bring the rent down, won't he? Market forces will rule, in the end.
    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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      #3
      Thank you for your response. I am the landlord's agent and I completely understand what you are saying as that is our usual protocol. Due to it being student accommodation however and students only coming in dribs and drabs now - most students will already have accommodation it is mainly individual students coming through clearing etc which will be around now - it is a bit more complicated than normal to find three tenants at once. The landlord has (not unreasonable) estimates of how much each tenant's share of the rent should be (i.e. how much each tenant should pay for their room) and to be fair students are more used to seeing how much each room is (or how much their share is going to be). We do tell the tenants it is a joint and several AST and how much the landlord wishes to receive as rent in total, however if there are only two tenants rather than three it is a rather high price. The agreement does prohibit subletting and long-term guests etc and I do feel that concern about unauthorised extra tenants is getting a bit ahead of ourselves but it is obviously something the landlord is concerned about and I wish to reduce the landlord's worries whilst also finding them tenants. If the landlord had been willing to negotiate and reduce the rent if only two tenants were found we would have three tenants by now and the landlord would have their full rent guaranteed. I hope I am making myself clear and not irrational.

      Comment


        #4
        Your post states that the landlord wants joint and several liability from a group of separate applicants. This is an unreasonable expectation and destined for confusion/problems. I don't know if it has ever been tested but I suspect it could be unenforceable if tenants claimed under UTCCR.

        The landlord needs to either rent the property as a single unit to a single group of people, thus getting joint and several responsibility

        OR

        Let it out on multiple ASTs which may limit the tenants responsibility to their 'room' but usually results in a higher nett rent.

        If the landlord won't go for one of these options, then I would not want to be the agent.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Vault_girl View Post
          Thank you for your response. I am the landlord's agent and I completely understand what you are saying as that is our usual protocol. Due to it being student accommodation however and students only coming in dribs and drabs now - most students will already have accommodation it is mainly individual students coming through clearing etc which will be around now - it is a bit more complicated than normal to find three tenants at once. The landlord has (not unreasonable) estimates of how much each tenant's share of the rent should be (i.e. how much each tenant should pay for their room) and to be fair students are more used to seeing how much each room is (or how much their share is going to be). We do tell the tenants it is a joint and several AST and how much the landlord wishes to receive as rent in total, however if there are only two tenants rather than three it is a rather high price. The agreement does prohibit subletting and long-term guests etc and I do feel that concern about unauthorised extra tenants is getting a bit ahead of ourselves but it is obviously something the landlord is concerned about and I wish to reduce the landlord's worries whilst also finding them tenants. If the landlord had been willing to negotiate and reduce the rent if only two tenants were found we would have three tenants by now and the landlord would have their full rent guaranteed. I hope I am making myself clear and not irrational.
          I understand your position. It does however sound as though this LL wants to have his cake and eat it.

          I agree with Snorkerz that if groups of students who already know each other are not forthcoming, then he needs to let the rooms out - with locks on the doors - on separate ASTs.

          At this time of year I have had a very good response from individuals by advertising on accommmodationforstudents.com.
          'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

          Comment


            #6
            Thank you both for the advice. I am looking into accommodationforstudents.com now. I will suggest separate ASTs to the landlord though I feel they will not be willing to go for this (they informed me outright from the beginning that they wanted J&S). however... needs must! Whilst I have managed student lets before it is not an area in which I have a large amount of experience and in the past it has always been considerably more straight forward finding the tenants, negotiating between them and the landlord and creating the tenancy than it is proving to be on this occasion. Recommendations from others are always greatly appreciated!

            Comment


              #7
              The following is not meant to be critical, just a 'back-up' to my advice to walk-away if the landlord won't use a 'normal' method of letting.

              If you issue a tenancy agreement to A, B & C - three strangers, you are instantly going to have the situation of personal security for each person - HHSRS places a responsibility on the landlord to protect his occupants security.

              If any tenant leaves (example b.), especially before the end of the fixed term, you are not going to be able to re-let their room because you can not make amendments to the AST without Bs permission and A/C can not get a replacement themselves due to landlords no-guests clause. This may not be a problem for the landlord - A & C jointly responsible - but you are the one going to be caught in the cross-fire.

              If 1 tenant causes problems on a joint tenancy, landlord will have to evict the 'good payers' too - you can't section 8 for one third of an AST. This may not be your problem - but you can bet that the landlord &/or tenants will MAKE it your problem.

              I also suspect that if a deposit dispute went to court, a judge would be torn by 3 strangers being forced into J&S liability, I wouldn't like to bet on the landlord winning such a case, no matter how compelling the evidence of damage is. Technically the landlords problem - but you as the agent would be the one getting it in the neck from both sides.

              If you must keep this property on your books, I would say to any individual applicant that the property is only going to be let to a group of 3, but take their details. If others come along, you might want to enable the individuals to make contact but advise them to get advice about the implications of J&S. If you do that, and they come back to you as a 'group' then you have at least attempted to forestall some of the pitfalls.

              Comment


                #8
                I wouldn't start advertising for individuals for the reasons already stated. In my opinion there are 2 options

                1. Wait until a group of three students come along who want to take the house.

                2. Lower the rent in the hope that 2 or 3 people might take it sooner.

                Personally i've never had a problem starting tenancies at this time of year for students but then again i would have started advertising in May/early June.

                The bottom line is that the landlord has left it too late, now he is suffering the consequences. Make sure he is aware of this, put the above options to him and leave it at that. Remeber you might be trying to help but if things go wrong with the "individual" tenant concept you can guess whose door the landlord will come knocking at!

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                  If you must keep this property on your books, I would say to any individual applicant that the property is only going to be let to a group of 3, but take their details. If others come along, you might want to enable the individuals to make contact but advise them to get advice about the implications of J&S. If you do that, and they come back to you as a 'group' then you have at least attempted to forestall some of the pitfalls.
                  Thank you for this. I know exactly what you mean regarding individuals on a J&S. All tenants will have to provide suitable guarantors (pretty much parents or guardians) or we will not to accept them. Then in the event one of the tenants up and left we'd go straight to the guarantor and tell them they will be responsible for the rent arrears and if they don't like it they'd best get their child to give permission to amend the AST. The issues of thing such as the LL wishing to section 8 one of the unpaying tenants (and thus section 8 all tenants) would be explained to the tenants prior to the beginning of the tenancy and the various options which could be provided to them if they wished to stay.
                  You make a good point about if the deposit went to court.
                  I am currently still only advertising to groups (but still getting constant individual enquiries) and will follow your advice as quoted above.

                  I have already made the landlord aware it is fairly late to be trying to get students in this year and suggested if tenants cannot be found to suit them by the beginning of the upcoming academic year then the property should be rented to professionals/a family until the next round of students which the landlord seemed fairly happy with but I know they have their heart set on students.

                  We shall see! Perhaps miracle tenants will appear and fix all the problems!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Vault_girl View Post
                    the property should be rented to professionals/a family until the next round of students which the landlord seemed fairly happy with but I know they have their heart set on students.
                    In that case they are probably clinically insane.
                    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                    Comment


                      #11
                      letting to three students

                      forgive me if I am wrong but a letting to three unrelated individuals would, presumably unwittingly, create a HMO. The only way round this I can think of is to grant the tenancy agreement to two people and say if you choose to have a third person stay with you in BR3 thats up to you and the landlord doesnt want to know anything about it.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Ask the landlord

                        "What rent will you consider per person per week if we can only find two".

                        Tell him/her that you cannot guarantee finding a group of three. Where I operate I would also recommend also that he rents as a two, but not including bills.

                        Ultimately if the landlord will not consider dropping the rent he is likely to lose what income he could have gotten. We had a landlord who turned down students (group of 5) would did not want to pay half rent over the summer, so effectively dropping his rent by 10/11ths (eg just over 10%). He turned them down against our advice.. Now he has an empty house and lost out on approx 14k income.
                        Liability statement. My liability to you is not to exceed the amount you are paying for my recommendations or advice.

                        I see a bright new future, where chickens can cross the road with no fear of having their motives questioned

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Wickerman View Post
                          We had a landlord who turned down students (group of 5) would did not want to pay half rent over the summer.
                          Wickerman, do you mean that they only wanted a tenancy of 10 months (Sept-June) or that they wanted to pay full rent and live in it over the summer?
                          'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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