What Rent for 1 bed flat in Elephant & Castle?

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Wednesday 11 June 2008 8.47am
It's my son's flat and he is moving in with me next week to help with my childcare so I can work without having to rush home, and he can rent his place out and carry on with his Taekwondo training and Uni studies without having to get more work.

It's a 1 bed flat, inside the congestion zone, on the 1st floor of a 4 story local Authority block in Tiverton Street, behind the big Salvation Army building. It has all the usual mod cons and is fully furnished with a plasma TV up on the wall, phone and internet. It has a big double bed in the bedroom and a futon in the sitting room, so could be shared.

What would the normal rent he could charge?
Thursday 12 June 2008 9.45pm
I would have said between 230 to 260 per week, depending on a lot of factors. Factors include what the communal parts are like (local and ex-local authority property really varies in quality in communal parts), how "safe" the building feels, what the views are like (if any), whether there is anywhere to park, and how large the place is. It is nearly impossible to let a property without a shower.

I would advise getting some local letting agents round to value the property, but then not instructing them if you choose not to. Ask them to bring draft copies of their tenancy agreements with them for you to study. If you do go through a letting agent, it is advisable to ask whether they will charge their fees up front (it is better to pay fees monthly, if you can), whether they charge an administration charge or a tenancy agreement fee, whether there is a charge for checking tenant references and whether there is an inventory make / check-in charge. I would refuse all suggestions that a local agent manage your property (management tends not to live up to expectations), and I would look to pay no more than between 7% to 10% of the annual income from the property to the letting agent. Tell them at the outset that you will refuse to pay renewal fees, and that you will not sign terms of business that compel you to do so. (If they force the issue, ensure that the renewal fee is lower than they are asking for). I would always instruct multiple agents if you agree with their terms of business. Please read agents' terms of business very carefully as most people seem not to, and they include lots of tricky clauses that you might object to!

It is advisable to ask tenants for a 6 week deposit. Remember that this will have to be lodged with the Tenancy Depost Scheme as landlords can no longer hold deposits in most instances.

It is absolutely imperative that if there is gas in the property, you obtain a Gas Safety Certificate, performed by a CORGI registered gas engineer. This needs to be done annually. I advise you to check carefully that the certificate has been filled in correctly.

I would not pay more than 60 for a gas safety certificate. I would look around for prices of inventory checkers/makers (this may seem a waste of money, but it's tough to prove damage to a property in court without independent record). Always ask to see a copy of references provided by agents, and always ensure that you know exactly /what/ has been referenced.

It is likely that you will need a tenancy agreement, probably for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy contract. I'd advise finding one that has been written by an agent recently (remember, it should mention the tenancy deposit scheme), and using their version, but amended according to the tenant and dates you find. Be careful of "off the shelf tenancy agreements", and ensure that if you do use one, you at least compare two editions to ensure that everything you need is included in the contract.

Good luck.
Friday 13 June 2008 4.59pm
You also say that it's your son's flat, but does he own it or does he rent it from the LA? If it's the latter, he is unlikely to be allowed to sub-let (it will be a breach of his tenancy agreement) and if he doesn't need it he should surrender it to the LA. If it's the former, he should still check his leasehold agreement before he lets it out, as he may be breaching his lease if he doesn't comply with any conditions contained within it before letting it out.

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