Students could now become their own landlords

A twist to the usual narrative about how hard it is to be a student these days (£9000 a year fees, student loans, massive debts) and even harder to get a foot on the property ladder for young people (huge deposit requirements, impossibility of saving, rising rents) has come to our attention.

Whilst most students are scrabbling down the back of the sofa for a couple of quid to buy a kebab, there is a new opportunity for the canny and organised ones amongst their numbers to kill a few birds with one stone, with zero outlay. Those birds include solving their current housing dilemma at the same time as becoming a homeowner.

A new scheme announced by Property118.com, a popular community for landlords and property professionals, gives students the option to invest in their own student house. The deal involves offering a mortgage of up to 100% on a property up to £250 000 in value, with no deposit necessary. On loans above 80% LTV, a collateral charge on the student’s parental home will be required by the lender.

We could see students buying their own two or three bed flat or house, and renting out the spare rooms to their fellow students. They’d become live in landlords, and so may also benefit from tax free rent collection up to the amount of £4250 a year, under the Rent a Room scheme.

Interested students and their parents should inform themselves fully of the possible implications of investing in a student property before committing. Studying away from home is a short term commitment, as opposed to a twenty-five year mortgage, and students need to think carefully about what happens once they finish their studies.

For more information visit Property118.com.

Kindle an interest in Flatsharing

We’re pleased to announce that The Essential Guide to Flatsharing is now available for Kindle. Priced at a very reasonable £4.98, the book is now available to download from Amazon.

Whether you’re looking for a flatshare or renting out a room, The Essential guide to Flatsharing has everything you need to know. Written by Rupert Hunt, the founder of SpareRoom.co.uk, and Matt Hutchinson, SpareRoom’s resident expert, the book serves as a no-nonsense guide to the world of shared accommodation. It brings together the pair’s expert knowledge of dealing with flatshares, lodgers and landlords and shares tips and insights on how to avoid the pitfalls of sharing. From financial issues to living in harmony with your flatmates, this book covers it all.

Now available for Kindle for the first time, the guide will prove your stalwart friend and advisor as you travel through the maze of shared accommodation. Download a copy now!

Supporting Social Tenants during the introduction of Welfare Reforms

The Chartered Institute of Housing today launches a new guide aimed at helping its members deal with some of the issues raised by Welfare Reform, and in particular, the Bedroom Tax or Social Sector Size Criteria.  The rules come into force next April, and will mean that social tenants of working age with a spare bedroom or two will lose some of their housing benefit.

One of the options for impacted social tenants to cover the shortfall is to rent out a room, which will also serve to bring in extra income for the household.

SpareRoom has over a decade’s experience in helping people through the process of finding lodgers, and are pleased to be able to share some of our expertise. Beyond offering a marketplace to advertise for lodgers, we also provide information and guidance on many other aspects of the process including: who you need to inform, how to interview lodgers and what kind of house-rules to put in place.

The CIH worked with SpareRoom to produce ‘How To Support Tenants to Find a Lodger’, the latest in a series of How To guides.  It explains clearly and succinctly the ways that councils and housing associations can support their tenants in exploring the option of getting a lodger. As well as highlighting the changes coming into force, the guide sets out how social landlords can benefit from putting together a strategy to help tenants find lodgers, covers legal matters, financial matters including the impact on tenants’ benefits, and offers links to further resources such as lodger agreements, advertising tips and the Rent a Room Scheme, whereby anyone can earn up to £4250 per year tax free by renting out a room.

Practical suggestions cover how to communicate the options to tenants, as well as how to support tenants through the process of finding a lodger. In “Learning from others” the CIH highlights proactive organisations and what they’re doing to support their tenants to rent out their spare rooms.

‘How to support tenants to find a lodger’ is available for free download  from the Chartered Institute of Housing. Find out how to get a lodger to cover the bedroom tax shortfall.

Deadline imminent for protecting tenant deposits in Scotland

If you’re a landlord with a rented property in Scotland, there’s an important deadline looming for protection of tenants’ deposits. From this coming Tuesday, 13th November, the new regulations come into force, by which date you should have registered with your local authority and transferred any existing tenant deposits into an approved custodial scheme. If you haven’t acted yet, here’s why you should.

If your tenants find you haven’t complied with the new deposit regulations, they can take you to court, where you may be ordered to pay back three times the deposit amount for non compliance with the regulations.

Scotland launched 3 tenancy deposit schemes to ensure that all deposits are protected by an independent third party. One scheme is run by SafeDeposits Scotland, a not for profit partnership between landlords, agents and tenants, including NUS Scotland, the student body. The other two schemes are The Letting Protection Service Scotland and MyDeposits Scotland, also government approved.

What do the changes mean for tenants in Scotland?

The schemes give tenants the benefit of access to an independent dispute resolution service if there is any argument over the return of the deposit at the end of their tenancy. The schemes will serve to protect tenants from unscrupulous landlords, as well as helping to improve perceptions of the private rented sector.

Find out more information about deposits in Scotland on the Tenancy Deposit Scheme Scotland page.