The ac­ci­den­tal land­lord

Evening Standard - West End Final Extra - ES Homes and Property - - Letting On -

SO FAR I have shown three ten­ants round my re­cently ren­o­vated two-bed­room flat and the re­sponse has been a lit­tle dis­ap­point­ing. Yes, they all agreed the new bath­room and land­scaped gar­den were very nice, but it was ob­vi­ous that un­der­floor heat­ing and a fake lawn weren’t high on their list of pri­or­i­ties.

All that the fam­ily from Bul­garia and the cou­ple from Brazil and the sin­gle mum with two lit­tle tots wanted was space at an af­ford­able price. They all told me the same story — they were liv­ing in rented rooms in shared houses, some of them with up to six other peo­ple, queu­ing with their kids ev­ery morn­ing to use the sin­gle bath­room and wait­ing in turn to pre­pare break­fast, and they all craved a place of their own.

Un­for­tu­nately, none of them was able to af­ford my flat. They’d each come to view be­cause they thought the rent was rea­son­able, but they’d all over­looked the fact that they would have to pay coun­cil tax, wa­ter rates and — cru­cially — util­ity bills on top, which would add sev­eral hun­dred pounds a month to their costs.

So, I am hop­ing the ren­o­va­tions will at­tract young pro­fes­sion­als with more spend­ing power. But there is clearly a need in the neigh­bour­hood for ac­com­mo­da­tion that isn’t just cheap to rent but also cheap to run. Dou­ble glaz­ing and mod­ern, fuel-ef­fi­cient boil­ers are good but fancy Ital­ian tiles and un­der­floor heat­ing aren’t that nec­es­sary. Even rea­son­ably well-off ten­ants worry about heat­ing bills these days. It’s usu­ally one of the first ques­tions I am asked dur­ing view­ings. It makes sense to make your rental as fuel-ef­fi­cient as pos­si­ble. In fact, from next April, it will be il­le­gal to re-let a prop­erty with an en­ergy ef­fi­ciency rat­ing of less than B and E. Land­lords who do could be fined up to £5,000.

This will mean that land­lords with draughty rental homes in the UK will have to make sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments, re­plac­ing leaky

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.