The flatshare 5 : your crucial checklist

The UK property market is changing all the time and the lettings sector is especially vulnerable to fluctuations, with a current prevailing trend for rent rises.

In fact, Countrywide’s monthly rental index – based on achieved rather than advertised rents on newly let properties – revealed the average rent across Great Britain rose 1.8% over the past year, with monthly rents now at £998 pcm – as close to the £1,000 pcm mark as they have ever been. 

This continuing run of rent rises has prompted Klippa Relocation to launch a stand-alone professional flatshare service, designed to help clients – both companies and assignees – find the accommodation level that’s right for them. We have drawn on our experience to bring you our five-point flatshare checklist, which will set you on the right path to success:-

  1. Be aware of when a room to rent becomes an HMO: there are strict compliance rules and increasing licensing requirements attached to flatshares, so ensure you know if the property is being legally let. An HMO is defined as a building, or part of a building, where at least three tenants live, forming more than one household. A household is defined by the UK Government as either a single person or members of the same family who live together. So if four unrelated professionals are each renting a room in the same property, this would be classed as an HMO and the dwelling would be subject to extra rental regulations. 
  2. Check if bills, cleaning and maintenance are included: many flatshares aimed at professional workers will offer perks to rival those found in serviced apartments or hotels. It is crucial to establish with the landlord or letting agent if all bills, broadband, a cleaner or maid service and running repairs/maintenance is included in the monthly rent, or whether there are additional charges on top.
  3. Ask about communal space and facilities: a new report by The Times found that living rooms in flatshares were on the decline, with landlords using this shared space as another bedroom. Relocation agents should always inspect the flatshare’s description and cross reference this with the floorplan and the letting agent itself. This will ascertain what communal space there is and the ratio of bathrooms to bedrooms. If in doubt, pay the property a visit.
  4. Take note of the location: something as subtle as the postcode or street can determine what type of flatshare is being advertised. If the property is close to a university campus, it may well attract students over working professionals. City centre properties, smart houses in the suburbs, contemporary new developments and those located close to major business parks are a better bet.
  5. Take a closer look at the details: there are a number of tell-tale signs that mark out a professional flatshare above student digs. For starters, the rent may be more expensive to reflect the condition of the property, the internal specification and the furniture pack included. A property that offers entirely en-suite accommodation will usually have been reconfigured especially with the professional tenant in mind and another giveaway is the attention to detail – look at the quality of the soft furnishings and how the property has been dressed. A ‘hotel’ look with flat screen TVs and smart bed linen is generally aimed at professionals

If you would like any further advice on placing professionals in suitable flatshares, contact Klippa today. We have agents located across the UK who can provide property find and orientation services in all major cities and towns.