Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Fair Shares; Shared Tenancies Needn't Be a Bureaucratic Nightmare, as Long as You Get Organised, Says Nicola Venning Homes & Property

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Fair Shares; Shared Tenancies Needn't Be a Bureaucratic Nightmare, as Long as You Get Organised, Says Nicola Venning Homes & Property

Article excerpt

Byline: NICOLA VENNING

WHEN it comes to tenants sharing, most landlords take the view that less is more. Two makes company but threes are crowds, after all, and logic would suggest that fewer tenants mean less wear and tear and far less paperwork. However, such is the current state of the lettings market that many spacious homes once snapped up by young families - or couples at least - now stand empty for weeks at a time.

"Some of the higher budgets from, say, American bankers are also not around at the moment," says Lisa Simons, lettings director with John D Wood. "Now, landlords have to consider letting to three or four individuals.

It's a way of getting a decent price in a market that has dropped a bit."

It can also be a good deal for tenants who, together, might afford a far higher grade of property than they could afford on their own.

Beverley West lets a four-bedroom house in Fulham. Last year she spent [pounds sterling]150,000 completely refurbishing it with a new kitchen, bathroom, wooden floors and carpets. She put it on the rental market at [pounds sterling]550 a week, just before Christmas, but after three months there were still no takers.

"Five families looked but they wanted two bathrooms. If we had had that other bathroom we probably would have been able to let it," she says.

Eventually, unable to find a family or couple, she let the property to four young professionals on a slightly reduced rent of [pounds sterling]495.

Simon Gallow is another landlord who, after the 11 September attacks on New York, had to wait six months to find an overseas tenant. He spent [pounds sterling]25,000 doing up his three-bedroom flat in Parsons Green before a middle-aged couple from New Zealand took it on for a short let.

When they left, rather than risk another long wait, he decided to compromise.

"I was against the sharing thing," he says. "I thought multiple people would cause multiple problems - not least, multiple partners. But the women who now rent it treat the flat well and are charming." To find them, Gallow agreed to drop the rent from [pounds sterling]500 a week to [pounds sterling]410, but he did get two architects and a dentist. …

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