Diary of a HMO Landlord: Noise, Leaks, Squeaks & Rubbish

After my initial Diary of a HMO Landlord post all was calm and foolishly thought to myself I’m not going to have much to write about this week, but how things change!

So what’s been happening?

I have had the electricians in at one house rewiring each room so they are on their own circuit and meters fitted so I comply with The Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014 and this also ensures tenants are accountable for their usage in their own rooms, all went well until a phone call the next morning about the central heating making a “gurgling” noise. Turns out one of the water pipes had fractured when the wires were being pulled through, which resulted in a lovely water feature in one of the down stairs rooms. On a positive note double boarded ceilings are still intact so it was just mopping up water, drying out carpets and getting the plumber around to solder the damaged pipe.

New tenants moved into a property, former residents of the Salvation Army homeless hostel who are very happy to have a clean and safe environment to live in and have put up with living on the streets but couldn’t put up with the squeaky fire hinges on their new door, so I treated them to a squirt of WD40.

As mentioned the new tenants love the free broadband access, but in other houses it can prove to be a pain in the arse. We all know broadband is a must especially for students and professional working tenants, but there is only so much a landlord can do as I DO NOT provide the service. One house has had intermittent service due to engineering works being carried out by the ISP but still tenants moan on at me and it came to a head when I get calls at 10PM moaning about the service Virgin Media supplies, as you can imagine I wasn’t best pleased especially when my phone ringing woke our baby!

Had the usual calls from Cardiff Council Housing Options Team enquiring what property I have available this week, also chasing “top up” from tenants that have Overpayment Recovery taken from their Housing Benefit Award, the latest tenant having a deduction of £6.50 per week from their Housing Benefit award to pay back about £5000 in overpayments.

At the other end of the spectrum, chasing professional tenants for their rent, the ones who never set up a standing order so the usual text each month to remind them to pay their rent on time and set up the standing order for next month, which they never do.

Rubbish is always a common theme encountered by HMO Landlords up and down the country, tenants don’t seem to like recycling and if they do manage to put rubbish in large black wheelie bins provided by Cardiff Council they don’t like to wheel them out onto the pavement for fortnightly collection so we soon get a build-up of black bags, I don’t know what is going to happen when Cardiff Council half the size of their black bins, be rubbish everywhere!

Finally my favourite aspect of being a HMO Landlord the legalities of the Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement and tenants serving “Notice to Quit” when they are on a Statutory Periodic Tenancy (SPT), affectionately known as a “month rolling”, or not serving as the case may be. All tenants love it when their fixed term comes to an end and they have the flexibility of a SPT but none of them seem to like the fact that the tenancy runs from one rent day to the next and they have to serve their “Notice to Quit” in writing, giving at least one months’ notice and ending on a rent day. This important point is highlighted when the tenant first signs the AST, also it is on the notice board and once again pointed out once their tenancy moves from a fixed term to a SPT, do they play by the rules, no way!

The latest one believes it is ok to text me on Saturday evening of a Bank Holiday weekend asking if they serve notice this evening, will they still have to pay their next rent payment, then continue to barrage me with text messages and emails up until 7AM today saying they are not paying rent whatever happens because they have found a new place. A phone call this morning has cleared up the situation.

And finally this afternoon I receive a call from the next door neighbour of a property I own. There seems to be an issue with noise, the neighbours words were “it sounds as if they are kicking a football against the party wall all night long”. Next on my “To Do List” find out what or who is creating the continual thudding! I will let you know how I get on.

Feel free to ask any questions via my blog or complete the form below if there are any specific HMO topics you would like me to discuss.

HMO Landlord Fined for Unsafe, Overcrowded and Unlicensed Luton Property

Another HMO Landlord added to our “rogue Landlord” feature, a useful guide of how not to go about managing a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) and multi let portfolio.

HMO Landlord Khaled Ahmed, 36, failed to attend Luton Magistrates Court on 15 October where he was ordered to pay nearly £53,000 for operating an unlicensed, unsafe and overcrowded House in Multiple Occupancy (HMO).

This Luton HMO Landlord has gone for the hat-trick by managing a unsafe, overcrowded and unlicensed House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and following a number of complaints from tenants living at the property at 35 Dunraven Avenue, officers from the Council’s Private Sector Housing team carried out an inspection of the eight-bedroom, four-storey house where a number of health and safety breaches were found the most serious being structure altered internally causing a number of potentially fatal fire safety hazards.

This rogue HMO Landlord provided poorly sub-divided rooms to gain additional smaller bedrooms so more people could live there. One bedroom measured just five square metres as well as a young female student living in the attic space, which could only be accessed by an unstable staircase, without windows, ventilation or heating. Other hazards related to obstructed fire exits, accumulations of rubbish, lack of fire doors, and lack of fire alarms and disrepair to the property.

The Magistrate described the property as a ‘death trap’ run for commercial gain and convicted Mr Ahmed for all breaches.

Mr Ahmed was fined £15,000 for failing to licence the property, a further £4,000 for each of the nine breaches of the Management of House in Multiple Occupation Regulations 2006 which totalled a further £36,000 and a £15 victim surcharge. The Council was also awarded £1,957 costs. Total fines and costs amounted to £52,957 which is one of the highest fines recorded in Luton.

As a further consequence the tenants can apply to the Residential Property Tribunal for a Rent Repayment Order to claim back all rent paid for the past 12 months.

When handing out the fines, the Court also took into account that Mr Ahmed had taken over £22,500 in rent and deposits from tenants.

Cllr Tom Shaw, Portfolio Holder for housing, said: “This is one of the worse cases we have ever seen with tenants being subjected to dangerous and potentially life threatening conditions. What makes it worse is that the actions of the landlord were deliberate and purely for commercial gain.

“I am glad that  substantial fines were imposed, as this serves as a strong warning to any other landlord who thinks they can get away with this illegal behaviour. HMOs need to be licensed to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of the occupants and to prevent them living in overcrowded conditions with insufficient facilities.”

“The Council takes the condition of the private rented sector very seriously and we have recently embarked on a programme of inspecting all Houses in Multiple Occupation within Luton. We will not hesitate to take further court action should any other offences be committed.”

Anyone living near or knowing of such a property which they believe to be an unlicensed HMO should contact the council on 01582 54 72 22 or email HMO.Hotline@luton.gov.uk.

Rooms in Cardiff is a provider of landlord services across Cardiff and South Wales specialising in multi let property, Student housing, professional house share and house of multiple occupancy (HMO) and offer the following services:

Rooms to Rent in Cardiff  £120 Fixed Fee Tenant Finder (No Tenant No Fee)

Property Listing page to advertise your available rooms on Spareroom, EasyRoomMate, Gumtree and Zoopla until let for one Fixed Price.

HMO Rent Guarantee No Void Periods & No Fees

You can contact Rooms in Cardiff via email info@RoomsInCardiff.co.uk

Telephone 0845 496 0000

or by completing the form below to arrange a call from one of our team.

House Share in Cardiff and Beat Fuel Poverty

Figures released today highlight the extent of fuel poverty across the UK since 2010 In Scotland, 28% of the population were fuel poor, Wales was at 26%, and England stood at 16% as Gas and Electricity prices have continue to rise since 2010 then you can bet your bottom dollar fuel poverty has taken a wider grip on the UK population.

At Rooms in Cardiff we always advise tenants looking for a professional house share or Cardiff student housing in a HMO or multi let property to look for private landlord offering monthly rents including utility bills, this way you are sheltering yourself from further utility price rises as well as ensuring you are able to meet you monthly rental obligation and not find any financial surprises at the end of the month.

Rooms in Cardiff is the place to go for those looking to house share in Cardiff and further afield in South Wales.  Whether you are looking for Cardiff student housing or a professional house share, Rooms in Cardiff is your number one resource for private landlord lettings, house of multiple occupation (HMO), multi let property and to find your next housemate.

You can contact Rooms in Cardiff via email info@webletz.co.uk

Telephone 0845 496 0000 or via the contact form below