From where I’m sitting, this is purely subjective of course. Having run HMOs for 7 years and I’d only planned to do it for 5 years, reckon I’m now a couple of years past retirement. The plan had been to squeeze as much yield out of them as possible, sell at a profit and do something else. As a plan it had strategy, goals and optimism but, in reality, it was nothing better than a property wealth creation course pie-in-the-sky unsubstantiated greedy wish.
Instead, thanks to the recession and divorce, I have a niche business, constant room demand, an appreciation of real life on minimum or no wage and a set of tenants whom I couldn’t bequeath to another landlord with a clear conscience (on both sides).
What do you mean The Market is changing?
From 2007-2011 every tenant which arrived on the doorstep came armed with a good sob story, housing benefit papers to sign, could be found on any benefit database under several addresses and, if I was really unlucky, on a few police databases as well. Apart from Paul and Andrew in recent times, everyone else has pretty much kept their nose clean (to my knowledge). I suspect a couple are up to some dodgy deals and workings but we need a few in society just to keep the police on their toes and prove we still have freedom of movement (Yes, I do believe Big Brother will be a reality in my lifetime).
Perhaps I’m getting better at filtering advertisement responses? Immediate “no”s are:
- “You got’a room for me and me girlfriend? A single bed will do”
- “My landlord wants me out by Monday”
- “My mum’s told me to leave and stand on my own two feet”
- Text messages enquiring about the room at 11pm on a Saturday night when the sender can’t even be bothered to give their name
- Anyone who doesn’t have the commonsense to hide or gloss over their misdemeanours after basic questioning. E.g. “So what’s your job?” response “Community service” (bet THAT won’t be on his CV)
Instead, I have been receiving a succession of lovely, hard working, paying tenants through the door of both sexes, but I hasten to add that they are all from abroad and grateful for the work that our little town can provide. Sadly, they are also grateful that we have working showers, heating, zero drug policy and they feel safe – somehow I suspect a lot of their previous accommodation stuck two fingers up at the HHSRS (Housing Health and Safety Rating System for those of you who have never been within earshot of a council employee).
Even Tom has been taken aback. His house has not just been infiltrated by one female but three! I broke the news gently as he’d always relied on the overwhelming smell of testosterone as a natural deterrent to any heterosexual female. We had a long “when you’re pissed and punching the wall, the ladies may find it a trifle intimidating and are under instructions to call me if you’re out of order” talk. This went surprisingly well and he retorted with “Whilst we’re being honest, make sure they don’t put their lady products down the toilet. I’m a man of the world but there are just some things I can’t handle.”
So far, so good and to Tom’s credit, he’s even become a bit protective; one of the ladies came to the house via a previous tenant. Last month she kissed her Polish boyfriend goodbye as she left for work, returned home a few hours later to find him dead in bed and, if that wasn’t bad enough, was mugged a week later. She hasn’t gone screaming home to Poland but she and a few friends laid him to rest locally as they couldn’t afford for his family to come here or to return his body home. She and Tom spend long hours in conversation during which he’s vowed to find the mugger……
Fancy your own HMO?
I am currently marketing the following property. This is a good, solid house next door to the promised £85m shopping centre refurbishment which would be ideal for individual or student rooms.