Should I rent my property to sharers?
In many cities there is a demand for rented houses or flats from groups of friends who are planning to share. The sharers are usually young professionals aged between 25 and 40.
Am I allowed to rent to sharers? Do I need an HMO licence?
In the City of Oxford, and in some other local authority areas, you need a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) additional licence if you are letting a property to three or more non-related people, for example, three trainee nurses.
However, in some parts of Oxford no more HMO licences will be given out. So even if you want to accept sharers, you need to contact Oxford City Council to check if you are allowed to.
My local authority does not request HMO licences
If your local authority does not require you to have an HMO licence, then whether or not you accept sharers is up to you. These should be the decision points:
Your preferences – Letting needs to work for you first. If your property has been your family home, you may prefer to see a family living in it. This is an emotional question, not a rational one.
The rent – Take advice from a letting expert. Sometimes sharers will deliver more rent as each bedroom will be contributing to the rent, that is why our student yields are high. At other times there is no difference between a family and sharers due to the shortage of family houses.
The property – Some properties just suit sharers and not families; for example, 3-bedroom apartments will rarely suit a family.
Wear and tear – Some landlords worry that three or four sharers in a property will cause more damage; images of ‘The Young Ones’ live long in the memory. In reality, most professional sharers treat properties well and you should expect wear and tear from both families and sharers.
Basically, the more people there are living in a property, the more wear and tear you can expect. The Tenancy Deposit Scheme advises redecorating high traffic areas (kitchens, bathrooms) every three years.
This is one of the 50 most asked questions in our new book: Landlord Intelligence.