Seven FAQs for letting agents and DIY landlords

Speaking on the phone from the office

We have prepared the most frequently asked questions to help you understand HomeHak and our unique approach for letting agents and DIY landlords.

 

Keep reading if you want to discover how HomeHak can help you find organised and trustworthy tenants.

 

Speaking on the phone from the office
Photo by Berkeley Communications on Unsplash

 

1. What is HomeHak for Letting Agents?

HomeHak is a people platform that substantially cuts the time and cost of sourcing organised, trustworthy tenants for letting agents and some DIY landlords.

 

2. What does HomeHak do for Letting Agents?

HomeHak facilitates a database of organised home seekers in the market. We work with home seekers to prepare them before applying to you for homes.

 

When you want organised tenants, go to HomeHak Tenant Selector. Filter, sort, and select from the latest home seekers in the market and deal properly with a targeted number of applicants suited to your property.

 

There is no need to advertise and invite hundreds of applications for every property. Why antagonise thousands of desperate home seekers with property ads when each property only has a few beds? Focus on better-organised people with good-quality applications.

 

Cut productivity and financial costs of needlessly administering hundreds of emails and phone calls. Better concentrate your resources on servicing existing landlord clients well and winning new business.

 

Why incur the burden and risk of protecting data for hundreds of applicants instead of dealing properly with the home seekers who ideally suit your property?

 

3. How does HomeHak help home seekers and tenants?

HomeHak helps home seekers to organise, store and promote their home-related information so they can present their case for a home professionally.

 

Home seekers can apply for a home with one great HomeHak Tenant CV instead of repeatedly sharing sensitive information over insecure emails in formats that do not help their profile look good. Importantly, they have greater control over their information. We also help home seekers to demonstrate their trustworthiness with tools to verify their identity and collect character references.

 

Seven-FAQs-for-Letting-Agents-and-DIY-landlords
Photo by Ilyuza Mingazova o Unsplash

4. How much does HomeHak cost for letting agents and DIY landlords?

Join and use HomeHak for FREE (without having to include your credit card details) as a letting agent for six months and a DIY landlord for one month. After this free trial period, there is a fee of €25 per agent/member – for the year. It is FREE to advertise a property for rent on HomeHak.

 

5. How does HomeHak earn income?

HomeHak is a people platform focused on providing value to home seekers, as well as letting agents, DIY landlords and homeowners who want to let a room.

 

Home seekers benefit from many features for free during the free trial period. Afterwards, home seekers get some features for free and can pay for additional features they find valuable. Membership is currently €25 per annum for someone employed. Students pay nothing for their first year and get discounted membership afterwards (currently €10/60% off). Anyone “retired” or “between jobs” pays nothing.

 

6. What are differences between HomeHak and property websites?

Price

Property websites make income from letting agents and DIY landlords advertising properties for a fee. In addition, they use properties as click bait and earn income from advertisers featured on the property pages. After a free trial, HomeHak earns a subscription from some home seekers, letting agents, DIY landlords and homeowners who rent a spare room. Advertising a property is FREE.

 

Focus

Property websites focus on advertising and property. However, HomeHak focuses on meeting the needs of people who:

  • Need to get selected to rent a home that meets their needs and want to protect their personal and home-related data.
  • Want to provide top quality professional letting agency services.
  • Are DIY landlords and homeowners who want to carefully select the most trustworthy ideal tenant/housemate/lodger and avoid overwhelming administration and GDPR risk.

 

Quality over quantity

Property websites, as advertising websites, strain to reach a high quantity of views of property advertisements and generate a high amount of enquiries for advertisers. HomeHak focuses on quality. We help letting agents and DIY landlords determine which home seekers’ needs are best met by their property and who would make the best tenant. They can then do a good professional job with a smaller number of the more organised applicants and save the cost of needless admin involving hundreds of unsuccessful applicants.

 

7. How can you get started with HomeHak?

If you want to receive HomeHak Tenant CVs as applications, just include this phrase in your property ads: “We welcome Tenant CVs from HomeHak.com as applications for this property”

 

Contact us for a demo if you also want instant access to trustworthy tenants. Support an alternative to the dominant property websites and save time and money. 

 

 

 

 

Why you should consider living in an owner-occupied home in Ireland

Friends at home

If you’re looking for a place to call home in Ireland, you might want to consider living in an owner-occupied home. These types of accommodations – also known as “digs” – are occupied by the homeowner, meaning that the landlord lives on the premises.

 

Living with a “landlord” in their home may not always sound like the most attractive option. However, the many advantages of this type of accommodation make it an alternative worth considering.

 

In fact, owner-occupied homes are becoming increasingly popular among national and international students, interns and professional workers. They tend to be more affordable than student accommodation and offer more freedom and flexibility than traditional living arrangements.

 

Take a look at the advantages of living in an owner-occupied home and discover how to connect with landlords who offer this alternative option on HomeHak.

 

Friends at home
Photo by Surface on Unsplash

The 6 Benefits of Living in an Owner-Occupied Home in Ireland

The current housing situation in Ireland is not ideal, to say the least. There is a shortage of places available for rent, and the prices have been on the rise. As a result, many people are considering owner-occupied homes as an alternative.

 

Owner-occupied homes are pretty common in Ireland, especially in places where there is a high demand for rental properties. While it is not without its own set of challenges, there are some definite benefits to this living arrangement:

 

1. More affordable

According to an article published in July of 2022 by the Irish Times, the “cost of renting in Ireland rose 76.7% between 2010 and 2022, 4½ times the EU average.”

 

On top of that, electricity and gas have increased up to 45.2% and 47.11%, respectively, so far this year. Depending on the agreement you reach out with the landlord, you may not even need to worry about utility bills, or can at least split them between the landlord and the other occupants.

 

Digs are also an excellent alternative for students that cannot afford to live in purpose-built student accommodations. An article published in the Irish Independent in 2022 stated that the average cost of the cheapest room in Irish university accommodation is €5,451, for the entire academic year.

 

2. Quality of the property

Living with your “landlord” does have another benefit. Is something broken at home? You can simply notify the homeowner once you are both at home so they have a look at it. It is definitely quicker and simpler than having to wait for them to find the time to come over to the property.

 

Owner-occupied homes tend to be better maintained than rental properties, as the homeowner has a vested interest in keeping the property in good condition. Therefore, it could be expected that they are willing to make minor repairs or at least notice faster any issues that could require a professional to fix. However, this will really depend on the person and how careful they are with their own property.

 

Two-people-in-a-kitchen
Photo by Wasa Crispbread on Unsplash

3. An Irish experience

Some international students or working professionals will be attracted to the idea of living with an Irish person or family. Not only because it could be an opportunity to practise their English skills, but because the homeowner may be able to recommend places to visit and local food. For those who would prefer to live in an Irish home instead of sharing a house with other expats, living in an owner-occupied house could be just what they were looking for.

 

4. Safety and location

First-year university students may use a bit of company and help when leaving their homes for the first time. For international students, the need for support and security when moving to an unknown and foreign country is probably even more important. Imagine that, for instance, you are sick. At least you will know someone in the house who can call you a doctor.

 

In addition, digs are often located in desirable neighbourhoods, in nicer and safer areas in the suburbs of the city. Check out this article and find more tips for first-time movers.

 

5. Comfort and cleanliness

Living in an owner-occupied home in Ireland has its advantages, chief among them being comfort and cleanliness. Digs are typically better maintained and more comfortable than rented rooms, which can often be too small and badly isolated. While owner-occupied homes may not always be spotless, they’re usually cleaner than rented houses.

 

Person in the living room with computer
Photo Thought Catalog on Unsplash

6. Amenities

It’s no secret that digs tend to have better furniture and amenities than rental properties. For example, owner-occupied homes are more likely to have helpful items such as an ironing board, gardening tools, or household electrical appliances like a dishwasher or a dryer, and more expensive and comfortable furniture and fittings. Of course, there are always exceptions to every rule. On the whole, it’s fair to say that owner-occupied homes tend to be better equipped than rentals.

 

7. Freedom and flexibility

Living in an owner-occupied house gives you more freedom and flexibility. For example, some homeowners won’t require you to commit to a certain length of stay. You won’t have to worry about breaking a lease nor sign up for the utility bills in your name either. This can be a huge relief if you’re not planning to stay in one place for a long time.

 

8. Company

Not only do you get the benefit of living in the company of the owner of the property, but in some cases, the remaining spare room/s may also be rented to other international or Irish students. This can be a great way to get to know some new people from all over the world!

 

Housemates
Photo by Chewy on Unsplash

 

Setting expectations when living in an owner-occupied home

Having a clear set of house rules is always encouraged when sharing accommodation with others, be it your housemates or the homeowner. Indeed, most homeowners may want you to sign an agreement where both parties commit to respecting specific rules. This is certainly a great tool to set clear expectations in advance and a way to ensure the stay will work for both parties.

 

These are some of the questions that we recommend you clarify with the homeowner to ensure both of you get on well and have similar expectations around cleanliness and other house rules:

 

  • Will you pay bills, or are these included in the price?
  • Are you allowed to invite people to stay over?
  • Will you rent the room only from Monday to Friday or will you also spend the weekends?
  • Can you bring guests to the house?
  • Will you share the living room and some amenities, like the TV?
  • How will you divide the household chores and the cleaning of the communal areas?

 

Of course, owner-occupied homes come with their own responsibilities, but for many people, the pros outweigh the cons. If you’re considering making the switch, be sure to do your research and weigh all of your options before making a decision. In addition, an honest conversation with the homeowner beforehand could prevent conflicts from happening in the long run.

 

 

Get selected to live in an owner-occupied home on HomeHak

Have you decided to look for an owner-occupied property in Ireland? HomeHak can help you with your search!

1.  State this preference on your Tenant CV

  • If you want to be found by homeowners looking for home seekers to share accommodation with, you can include the “dig/owner-occupied” option on your HomeHak Tenant CV.
  • First, click on your profile picture at the top right corner and then on “Settings, Create Profile, Menu.”
  • Under “Create my Tenant CV”, go to the fourth option “My Desired Home”, and click on “Edit.”
  • Choose the option “Property and household type” on the left side of the screen
  • Lastly, in the question “I/We would like to rent”, choose “Shared property with owner occupier”

2.  Look for digs on HomeHak:

Homeowners can also list their spare rooms for rent on HomeHak.

  • Go to the tab “Home for rents”
  • Select “Shared with owner occupier” in the Living arrangement dropdown menu. Remember to use the filters to search for a room suitable to your needs.
  • Once you have found a room you are interested in, you can shortlist it, apply for a viewing or ask the landlord a question.

 

Have you made up your mind about living in an owner-occupied home? You can find more information here:

 

 

 

Some practical ways we can help people get selected for a home in Cork

View-of-Cork-city-at-night

Cork is in the midst of a housing crisis, with rents rising and the availability of rental properties falling. The latest figures released by Daft.ie in its Rental Price Report for Q3 of 2022 showed a price increase in Cork of 12.1% over in the third quarter of 2022, compared to the same period in 2021. According to this report, the average price now in Cork City is sitting at €1,708 per month, up 127% from its lowest point.

 

The shortage of housing is also noticeable. On the 29th of November 2022, there were only 83 properties available in Daft.ie to lease across the whole county. On that same day, there were only 40 in the city.

 

According to a Cork Chamber Report, the housing crisis is now not only a social issue but also a significant challenge for businesses because it is causing skills shortages. The accommodation crisis is putting immense pressure on employers in Cork. They try to attract and retain workers in a highly competitive market.

 

Cork has a strong, diverse economy with more than 190 multinational firms employing almost 43,000 people. However, it is just impossible to keep bringing more people than there is accommodation for.

 

View-of-Cork-city-at-night
Photo by 2sometravel on Unsplash

Housing crisis impact on Cork’s healthcare

This situation is hurting the overall prosperity of Cork and having a negative impact on Cork’s economy. Many people are finding it difficult to live here even despite having a secure job.

 

For instance, healthcare professionals are struggling to find a home in Cork, many of whom having relocated from overseas. Lacking these essential frontline workers could potentially have tangible effects on the population of Cork. Indeed, according to a study from Cork University Hospital and Cork University Business School in November 2022, the country’s health services would “collapse” without overseas doctors so change is urgently needed.

 

As part of their agreement to work for the State, nurses and midwives hired from overseas are given housing support. However, this benefit will only cover the first six weeks they are in Ireland. Due to the housing situation, these essential workers are often being asked to share bedrooms or, in at least one instance, beds with strangers, the Irish Nurses and Midwives’ Organisation (INMO) says.

 

Liam Conway, Cork-based industrial relations officer for the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), explained that rising costs and rents are having serious impacts on the ground: “By failing to address the matter urgently, we are losing our competitiveness to recruit nurses and midwives from overseas and driving nurses and midwives in the current services to consider moving abroad.” Nonetheless, to evidence the need for new recruits , earlier this year, it was announced that more than 500 jobs in the healthcare sector would be created in Cork, Louth and Meath.

 

The risk of losing staff and investment

The increase in accommodation prices, coupled with the cost of living crisis, will also have a knock-on effect on other businesses in Cork city. People have less money to spend on goods and services, such as local shops and restaurants. Furthermore, the lack of affordable and adequate housing may deflect some people away from the city. This could ultimate cause a decline in Cork’s overall economic activity.

 

While at the moment, Cork “contributes 19% of Ireland’s GDP and has the 4th highest disposable income per capita in Ireland”. This situation can also deter employers from setting up businesses in Cork. Companies might not always be able to afford to pay their employees enough to cover their costs. As a result, the city will suffer from a lack of jobs and investment in the long run if no measures are put in place.

 

An urgent call to action

Cork is expected to be the “fastest-growing city in Ireland over the next 20 years with a population that will grow by 50% to 60% in that period.” The housing crisis will hinder Cork from reaching its full potential and urgently needs to be addressed.

 

Maurice Manning, director of housing for Cork County Council, informed the councillors that his department had set a target of 750 new housing units in West Cork for the end of 2022. In the longer term, Project Ireland 2040 will also address this matter by including additional social housing units in Cork City, the City North West area (90 dwellings), Ard Fermoy (52 dwellings), and Kilnagleary Carraigaline (49 dwellings).

 

Street-in-Kinsale-Cork
Photo by Kirsten Drew on Unsplash

The government has been called on to invest in public transport and infrastructure in Cork to make it easier for people to commute to work. Therefore, the 2040 plan also includes investments in public transport in the Cork area.

 

The BusConnects program is expected to deliver a number of sustainable transport projects to improve “traffic management, bus priority and other smarter travel projects along with new urban cycling and walking routes”. The project has an estimated cost of €200m and is foreseen to be completed by 2027.

 

These measures should help alleviate the accommodation crisis in the medium-term. However, something needs to be done in the short term to provide more affordable housing options for existing and prospective employees in Cork.

 

The rent-a-room relief

The rent-a-room relief, for instance, aims to generate more available rooms for rent by providing a tax break for those who rent out a spare bedroom in their home. This scheme allows homeowners to rent out one or several rooms in their home for up to €14,000 per year without having to pay any tax on the income.

 

This can also help offset the increasing cost of living by providing homeowners with an extra source of income. While this incentive may not solve the housing crisis overnight, it can help to provide some much-needed relief. Besides, it is an especially relevant solution for a city like Cork, where there are thousands of unoccupied bedrooms.

 

Employers can do something about the housing crisis

Employers can also get involved with supporting their workers who are struggling to find a home. Their involvement is especially crucial for employees that have relocated to Cork for business reasons. They risk losing skilled and talented workers, wasting time spent recruiting, training and onboarding staff not to mention the decrease in productivity and engagement rates.

 

According to a recent Accenture research, Cork is the top city outside of Dublin for tech talent, with over 10,000 employees that have the in-demand skills that technology companies in Ireland are looking for. This figure shows the need for employers to get involved with alleviating the housing crisis in Cork. However, most of the time, the only role of the employers is just subsidising the cost of temporary accommodation.

 

Conversation-with-HR
Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

How we can all help

Uniquely, with HomeHak.com, employers can now take a more active role in supporting their staff to get selected for a home. Companies can start by ensuring their employees are prepared and well presented during the home search process in Ireland. Employers can sponsor their employees’ HomeHak membership. This will help them with the creation of their HomeHak Tenant CVs. They can include their renting and work history, references, desired home, location, and their needs as tenants.

 

In addition, employers can create a HomeHak Employer page on HomeHak to promote their employees’ Tenant CVs and help them stand out from the crowd. This will generate visibility for employees and networking opportunities. Staff members could share the Employers’ HomeHak page with their landlords when they give notice that they are moving away. The employer can include links to the page on their social media accounts to highlight their employees’ Tenant CVs.

 

Would you like to read more eye-opening data about the housing crisis in Cork and the whole country? Check out the article “Why employers should help their staff find a home”.

Networking can help alleviate housing crisis in Cork

In reality, the key to success in finding affordable accommodation has always been word of mouth. The more people one knows in a new city; the more likely one is to find a place to live. HomeHak’s strengthens home seekers networking power. Anybody can now help home seekers find a home in Cork.

 

With HomeHak, home seekers can share the link, unique code or QR code for their HomeHak Tenant CV with their family, friends and colleagues. As when job seekers share their LinkedIn profiles, sending a HomeHak Tenant CV helps home seekers position themselves at the top of mind of their connections whenever they hear of a home vacancy in Cork.

 

This brings a different and more proactive approach. The person in need of accommodation can proactively search for a home. HomeHak allows people to do something instead of waiting for the next property ad to appear, like everyone else. Their connections (such as coworkers, friends and social media followers) can support them in their home search in a very practical way by simply sharing their Tenant CV.

 

Everybody can share HomeHak Tenant CVs on any social platform, such as Facebook groups or LinkedIn. This shows the  enormous potential for exponential visibility. Considering that 70% of people found their current job through networking, why not expect at least a similar result when searching for a home?

 

Cork can be a great place to live and work, but only if everyone has access to a safe and comfortable home. Waiting for the government to change the current situation is not the only way to go. We can all play a part in using our connections to support home seekers in Cork. Otherwise, we would be risking losing the spirit of this city.

 

References:

Newsletter for Letting Agents (6th December, 2022)

In this newsletter*…

 

  • Newsflash: accommodation is needed for medical professionals in Cork
  • Meet three doctors, a nurse and a consultant who seek accommodation in Cork, today.
  • You can help. It is easier than ever to prioritise medical professionals for accommodation
  • See how property professionals can help in a practical way
  • Who else is searching for rental homes in Cork?
  • Sharing is caring. If you do nothing else, please share this newsletter with property professionals.

*The data in this newsletter was correct on 6th December, 2022

1. Doctors and nurses in Cork urgently need accommodation.

Change is urgently needed. A study from Cork University Hospital and Cork University Business School claims that the country’s health system would “collapse” without overseas doctors.

 

According to the Irish Nurses and Midwives’ Organisation (INMO), these essential workers are often being asked to share bedrooms or, in at least one instance, beds with strangers.

 

You have probably seen the recruiter ads on LinkedIn inviting doctors and nurses to apply for medical roles in Cork.

 

International health professionals play a vital role in the provision of healthcare to the citizens of Cork. Many travel thousands of kilometres to work on the frontline in Cork.

 

It’s hard to source and recruit medical staff. Unfortunately, though, many cannot find accommodation after they relocate to Cork and they are leaving our city as a result.

 

This home seeker successfully found a home with HomeHak:

 

Kate's testimonialabout HomeHak

 

2. Meet doctors and nurses who need a home in Cork, as of December 6th, that you can help:

If a Preview Tenant CV doesn’t load, it maybe the home seeker has been offered a home. Also, to review a members Full Tenant CV you must be a registered member of HomeHak – as it may contain sensitive information the owner wants to protect.

 

Sarra
Sarra is a frontline doctor in the Cardiology clinic at CUH. She has worked in three hospitals in Munster over the past few years. Sarra has been hosted temporarily by her friend for the past six weeks. She is offering between €1,000 and €1,500 for a one-bedroom apartment. This is the Preview CV for Sarra.

 

Katherine
Kate is a Doctor joining CUH in January 2023. She is an experienced renter and needs accommodation for herself and her partner Kieran, a school teacher in Cork. Kate is organised and presents her rental history, employment details and ID verified in her Tenant CV. Her rent target is €1,200 – €1,300 p.m. See Katherine’s Preview HomeHak Tenant CV here.

 

Hilal
Hilal is a Physician newly arrived in Cork, ready to start work on 1st January 2023. He needs a home for himself, his partner and two kids. He has sponsorship from his home government and is willing to spend up to €2,400 per month renting accommodation in Cork. Check out Hilal’s Preview Tenant CV.

 

Nithin and Sherin
Nithin is working as a nurse at CUH since May 2021. He is looking for a home with his wife Sherin and their two children for up to €2,000 per month. Nithin and Sherin have both created a Tenant CVs, including landlord references and ID verification. View their details here.

 

Fulvio
Fulvio is a Consultant Psychiatrist who will begin work in Cork in March 2023. Clearly an organised person, he is searching in plenty time for a home with at least two bedrooms for his partner and himself. Fulvio’s Tenant CV contains rental history, employment details, and his ID is verified by stripe. His budget stretches to €1,900 p.m. Review Fulvio’s Preview Tenant CV.

 

3. Help our frontline medical professionals in Cork

It is now much simpler for you to help our hospitals accommodate their frontline medical staff.

 

Uniquely, on HomeHak, you can see the Tenant CVs of the staff in our hospitals currently searching for homes to rent in Cork:

 

  • In conjunction with Cork University Hospital, we have created a page that lists CUH medical professionals who are searching today for homes to rent in Cork.
  • On tenants.homehak.com, in the search box, enter words like/including “Nurse OR Doctor OR CUH OR Mercy OR Bon Secours OR Mater OR Hospital” (If you enter more than one search term use capital letters for the word “OR”).
  • If you enter all these words, today (6th December) you will see 49 medical professionals who need homes, even if you are not logged into HomeHak. Click here to review their Preview Tenant CVs.
  • If you are a registered member of HomeHak, you can review 106 Preview Tenant CVs for medical professionals today with this search.

 

Until now, if you wanted to help and prioritise medical professionals, you would have to filter through hundreds of applications to find the frontline medical staff.

 

Even then, there was no guarantee your property would suit the applicant. Maybe the commute wouldn’t work, the rent was too high, or the amenities didn’t match their needs.

 

From now on, with HomeHak it couldn’t be simpler to prioritise key staff for rental homes.

 

4. Property professionals, here is how you can help:

If you’d like to prioritise doctors, nurses and medical practitioners for your properties, follow these steps:

HomeHak-Tenant-Selector

Cork University Hospital is the first institution to create a page on HomeHak to help their employees find accommodation in Cork.

 

If you have a property available close to or on the bus route to Cork University Hospital, you can narrow your search even more and consider CUH staff:

 

5. Who else is currently searching on HomeHak.com?

Besides medical professionals, here is a list of home seekers that have created a good HomeHak Tenant CV during the last 12 weeks.

 

Are you looking for an organised tenant with credentials pre-prepared?

Results if you are registered* on HomeHak

  • With ID Verified: 297
  • With References: 91
  • With Rental History: 264
  • Healthcare professionals: 56
  • Students: 14
  • Rent Affordability up to €1,500: 249
  • Rent Affordability up to €2,000: 88
  • Rent Affordability up to €2,500: 28

Results if you must register* on HomeHak

  • With ID Verified: 266
  • With References: 83
  • With Rental History: 241
  • Healthcare professionals: 55
  • Students: 12
  • Rent Affordability up to €1,500: 219
  • Rent Affordability up to €2,000: 73
  • Rent Affordability up to €2,500: 22

*Log in to your HomeHak account to have access to a bigger pool of trustworthy tenants with credentials pre-prepared.

 

6. Sharing is caring

If you do nothing else – please share this newsletter with your colleagues or anyone who might be able to offer accommodation to medical professionals in Cork.

We want to hear from you!

Finally, if you want to help, but you’re not sure how to get started, please get in touch. Reply to this email and we’ll contact you.

 

Also, let us know what you think about HomeHak’s mission to support healthcare workers in finding a home in Cork?

 

If you would like to be involved in this campaign or HomeHak’s people approach to home renting, let us know. We would love to hear your feedback and thoughts!

Homeowner informational pack – How to rent a spare room in your home

Welcome-Home

You want to rent out a spare room. 

Would you like to rent a spare room in your home but don’t know where to start? The usual process is to advertise your home on a property website. With the shortage of accommodation, you could be overwhelmed with applications. Another challenge is you don’t know much about the applicants, so how do you know who to trust?  Maybe you don’t feel comfortable inviting strangers to view your home.

 

HomeHak’s Tenant Selector allows homeowners to filter, sort, select and contact organised home seekers who could be happy in their home. Make an informed selection about who your property would suit best. If you do decide to advertise your spare room, ask for applicants to submit their HomeHak Tenant CVs so that you can filter, sort and select applicants in a consistent format in one place.

 

Once you have selected someone to view your home, there are many factors to consider and discuss with your potential new resident. This article prompts you to enquire about typical topics and what you may want to agree on at the beginning of any arrangement.

Important

This post focuses on an arrangement where an owner-occupier invites a home seeker to rent a room in their home. This is not considered the same as a landlord-tenant arrangement. Landlord and tenant legislation do not cover you, so the rights and obligations under that legislation do not apply to you. For example, you are not obliged to register as a landlord with the RTB. This also means that residents living in your home live under a licensee agreement, not a tenancy agreement, and are only entitled to reasonable notice if you terminate the arrangement.

 

In this article, we use the terms “homeowner” instead of “landlord” and “resident”, “lodger” or “home seeker” instead of “tenant”.

 

Welcome-Home
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Selecting your resident – some considerations and discussion points

Once you have selected the home seekers and invited them to view your home, there are topics we recommend you discuss with your potential resident before selecting who will move in.

Furthermore, you can also establish a formal agreement between yourself as a homeowner and your future resident. There is an example template linked at the end of this article.

Duration and Nature of the Stay

Discuss the intended length of the accommodation period and whether or not that period could be extended. Enquire about their plans and how long they need accommodation.  You may have future commitments and need the room back after 6 or 12 months or at a certain date. It is fair to manage expectations so your resident can plan accordingly. Communicate openly about the availability of the room, as flexibility is often attractive to residents.

Damage Deposit

If you are operating a damage deposit system, be clear about the conditions relating to the deposit and provide the resident with a receipt. Make it clear that the damage deposit is not rent and will be returned at the end of the accommodation period if all goes well. If any damage does ever occur, discuss the situation immediately. This will be less awkward than introducing it as surprise news at the end of the accommodation period. Return the deposit if no damage has been caused on the resident’s departure.

Utilities

Give the resident sufficient information about the approximate cost of utility bills. Make special considerations for individual situations. If the resident will be working from home, they could maybe contribute a certain percentage of the electricity or gas bill to reflect the extra consumption.

 

Working-from-home
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Rent Payment

Agree on the amount of rent, the day and frequency of payments, the method of payment, and to who it should be paid. Make it clear what is included in the “rent” and if utilities are included, for example. If there are situations when the rent can be increased or decreased in future, make these clear in advance.

Extra services

You may want to offer the resident extra services with the room, such as a secure parking space, cooked meals, laundry services, bed linen changes, etc. If you propose such and agree on additional services with your resident, make sure you factor in the cost of the services into the final agreed rent price for the room. Remember, if services are included in the rent, they must be delivered.

Common Areas

Outline which areas of the home may be considered common areas and which are off-limits to residents. . Generally, a resident would have access to the kitchen, living room, bathroom, back kitchen/utility room, and their bedroom. Still, every household varies, and if you prefer a resident to use a specific toilet, for example, that should be communicated.

 

Person in the living room with computer
Photo Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Time and consumption limits

Inform the resident of any time limits which may apply to the use of amenities such as the shower, the heating, the tumble dryer, etc. Most people can appreciate the rising cost of living, especially concerning utility bills. If you want to set consumption limits, make the residents aware before they move in to avoid potential disputes later.

Other Limitations

To rent a spare room in your home without incidents, you may want to discuss other limitations. For instance,  consider if there will be limitations on visitors, noise, hours of entering and leaving home, use of common areas, etc.

Expectations and Preferences

Discuss any personal expectations, pet peeves or preferences you have regarding your home. It could be related to anything from noise levels to security to cleanliness and so on. Every home and every person is different. If you are accustomed to doing things a certain way, it’s important to remember that people cannot read your mind! Open communication and setting reasonable boundaries early on will help to avoid any frustrations in the future.

Smoking

Many homeowners don’t allow smoking. However, if you permit smoking, discuss the rules for smoking at your home. Outline if there are designated areas, where to dispose of cigarette butts, where to empty ashtrays, etc.

Sharing of Household items

There may be some everyday products that you are comfortable with your resident using. If you are willing to share, we recommend creating a checklist of items to agree on, for example, milk, sugar, tea and coffee, toilet paper, kitchen towels, cleaning products, dish soap or dishwashing tablets, shower gel, shampoo, laundry detergent, etc. Discuss with the resident which common products they have permission to use and how such items will be bought. If certain products should not be shared, discuss these in  advance.

 

Man-cooking-kitchen-at-home
Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

Scheduling use of common areas

Schedules can be helpful where multiple people are living in the home. Everyone has different day-to-day lives. It’s considerate and useful to compare schedules with the resident. If necessary, agree on times of use for the busiest areas of the house.  For example,  you might schedule the use of the kitchen for cooking meals or the use of the main bathroom for taking showers or baths. The goal is to ensure that everybody’s daily routine can run smoothly. Understanding everybody’s schedule from the start can also avoid disruption if, for example, you or your resident must work awkward shift patterns.

Keys

Discuss the resident’s responsibilities regarding holding keys to your home. Specify any conditions, e.g. don’t make copies or that there is a fee to replace lost keys.

Security

For many homeowners, knowing there is a trusted resident in the home offers added security. Demonstrate to the resident how to properly lock doors and windows and set alarms or any other security equipment in the home. Specify your expectations about locking up when the home is unoccupied or before bed. If you have other people nominated as keyholders for your home, such as neighbours, family members, or a security company, make sure your resident is also in the loop.

Household Services/Contracts

Explain any services you may have contracted related to the home and how the resident should handle them in your absence, e.g. refuse collection, signing for post & packages, allowing access to builders, childminders, window cleaners, etc.

Household Responsibilities

Discuss the sharing of household responsibilities with the resident. This might involve, for example, taking turns each week to clean the common areas of the home, watering the plants/garden or taking out the bins to be collected, etc. Discuss and outline the expectations in advance, so there is no confusion later.

Embracing differences

Maybe your resident comes from a different cultural or ethnic background? If so, it is considerate to gen up in advance so that you can ask thoughtful questions about cultural differences that might affect the experience for both of you. Ask the resident what a typical day in their life looks like. Enquire about food and eating habits, work or study hours. You will possibly discover more similarities than differences and more conveniences than issues. For example, if your resident is from Spain, they may like to cook dinner later in the evening, allowing you full use of the kitchen during Irish dinner time!

Pets

Disclose plenty of information about your pets to the resident in advance. Make sure to introduce your pet to the resident before they move in It is important to avoid issues with allergies or where a resident has a fear of animals. Before agreeing to a property viewing, disclose details like the type of pet, size, temperament, etc. Be clear about any expectations concerning your pet, like ensuring doors, gates and windows be kept shut.

Would like your resident to feed your pets sometimes or keep an eye on them while you are away? Would you be happy to recognise such services with a discount on rent? Mention such expectations in advance. If you agree with a resident that they can bring a pet to your home, obtain the same information about their pet.

 

Dog-owner-at-home
Photo by Evieanna Santiago on Unsplash

Special Requirements

Discuss with your resident if you, any other household member or the resident, have special requirements, such as a potential need for minor medical assistance. For example, if someone has a severe nut allergy, it would be a good idea to inform all household members where they can find Epi-Pen and how to administer it – just in case. Other conditions might include diabetes, epilepsy, low blood pressure etc.

Emergency numbers

In the event of an emergency, discuss with your resident what to do. Maybe you have an accessible list of phone numbers for local emergency services and family members or neighbours. For your resident, it might be a good idea to share contact details for a family member of theirs, a friend or their workplace in case of any unfortunate circumstance.

Notice period

Agree on a reasonable notice period for termination of the agreement in advance. People living in your home as residents are living under a licensee agreement, not a tenancy agreement, and are only entitled to reasonable notice if you choose to terminate the agreement. Should you require the resident to move out of your home, the process is more transparent if you can invoke a previously agreed-upon notice period.

For when your resident wants to leave, outline how your resident must communicate the notice (e.g. email or letter). State how long in advance they should advise you of the leaving date. Make it clear that you will return the damage deposit at the end of the final rent period if everything is satisfactory.  

Sample homeowner-resident agreement

Finally, if you rent a spare room in your home, consider having all the norms in writing. To make it easier, we have created this sample agreement (click here). Feel free to modify this sample agreement outlining living arrangements to your liking. Simply click on the option “File”, and then on “Make a copy” to edit this template.

 

Further reading

If you are considering the option of renting your spare room(s), we recommend you look at the article about benefits of renting a spare bedroom in your home.

For more information about the Rent-a-room relief, visit Citizensinformation.ie.

Why employers should help their staff find a home

Employees-with-HR-person

Companies looking to hire new employees are significantly impacted by the housing crisis, according to the latest Morgan McKinley quarterly employment monitor: “The lack of housing supply in cities in addition to soaring costs is leading to a rise in emigration, further emptying the talent pool”.

 

Employers are struggling to keep native Irish talent due to the lack of supply in the Irish rental market. Besides, hiring international employees has become a highly complex task. Morgan McKinley’s report claims that “the housing shortage within Dublin is causing companies to struggle with securing overseas talent, leading to a reduction in non-EU professionals and a narrowing of the talent pool”.

 

Shortage of accommodation is not just a Dublin problem, as the figures speak about a nationwide accommodation crisis. According to the Renting and Risk report from the homeless charity Threshold and the Citizens Information Board, on August 1st this year, there were “just 716 homes available to rent in the State in comparison with an average of 9,300 at any one time in the years between 2006 and 2019”.

 

Employees-with-HR-person
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

The impact of Ireland’s accommodation crisis on the workforce

 

Ireland’s housing crisis, coupled with the requirement for many employees to return to the workplace and live in or close to the cities after working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, raises the following questions: Are companies doing enough to support their staff to find accommodation? Should employers help their staff find a home?

 

The general support employers provide to new hires relocating to Ireland is to cover the expenses of the trip and several weeks in either a hotel or a room rented from temporary housing providers. However, the problem comes when the employee must leave their provisional home without finding a longer term home.

 

The prospect of lacking something as fundamental as a place to live generates enormous stress for the employee, especially when they are in a foreign country. Unsurprisingly, absenteeism, disengagement, a decrease in productivity and, in some cases, resignation are the most common consequences.

 

According to the Irish company Excel Recruitment, the real cost of employee turnover can range from 33% to a stunning 200% of an employee’s annual income, depending on the complexity and seniority of a role.
The high cost of finding and replacing talent and the hit to productivity are strong enough reasons. This encourages some employers to have a more proactive role in supporting their staff to find a home.

Employers who help their staff find a home will see an increase in productivity

Available and affordable accommodation that fits the needs of the workforce is crucial to attract, keep and grow a skilled and productive workforce. Businesses should advocate and invest in finding suitable housing for their staff, not only to assist their employees but also the local economy.

 

Employees that live in the area near their workplace will have shorter commute times and, therefore, a better quality of life. Long commutes may not only push them to look for another job but also affect their wellbeing and productivity. A Britain’s Healthiest Workplace study carried out with 34,000 workers revealed that those who commute over an hour to go to work are more likely to experience stress, health issues such as obesity and depression, and financial concerns. The study also found that employees commuting less than 30 minutes per day “gain an additional seven days’ worth of productive time each year compared to those with commutes of 60 minutes or more”.

 

The relationship between homes and wellbeing 

This type of data is relevant for Irish employers. As revealed in an Aon survey, ‘work-life’ balance is their top wellbeing concern. Besides, this research also states that “96% of businesses in Ireland have at least one employee wellbeing initiative in place”. This figure is especially high when compared to the average of 86% in European firms.

 

Another piece of research carried out by The Happiness Research Institute, Kingfisher and B&Q shows the impact of accommodation on overall happiness and wellbeing by stating that a home contributes more to happiness than a job or a salary. The findings, gathered from over 13,000 people across Europe, showed that while a happy home accounts for 15% of a person’s total happiness, only 6% and 3% of happiness is based on what we earn and the job we do, respectively. This 2019 survey also unveiled that 73% of people who are happy at home are also content in life.

The link between happiness and the home

Support that goes beyond paying the hotel bill

Employers that don’t help their staff find a home will feel the consequences of an unhappy and disengaged workforce. An unpleasant experience in a new city will make any employee less likely to stay in the company. This could also harm the brand’s reputation.

 

Employee experience begins way before starting the new job.  The Recruitment teams should  set the right expectations about the moving process. A prior-first-day orientation to the new hire should help alleviate the relocation stress. For example, the welcoming package could include a local guide. This resource should incorporate information about public transport and recommendations for local services such as grocery shops, hospitals or gyms. This will help international workers know where they would like to live before getting started with their home search.

 

Employers can create opportunities for their staff to connect and help each other with their house hunting. Getting co-workers to network “reduces the likelihood of turnover by 140%”, increases productivity and, in this particular case, it could help employees find a house through their professional connections.

 

Households formed by like-minded people, such as employees of the same company, are more likely to have good chemistry than those where complete strangers cohabit. Employees who live near or with each other will also enjoy spontaneous get-togethers. This can also enhance the employee experience overall. When employees live together, they can commute to work in groups and share the cost of transportation.

 

Happy talent is productive talent. Hence, the company would ultimately benefit from these types of living arrangements between team members.

 

Girls-at-home-with-dog-laughing
Photo by Chewy on Unsplash

 

The company’s duty of care

Another reason a company should support their workers in finding a home is that they owe it to their staff. Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 the standard duty of care places an obligation on the businesses to do everything that “is reasonably practicable” to protect the health, safety and welfare at work of all employees.

 

Employers are also morally obliged to protect their employees from undue risks when they relocate. Therefore, they should make every effort to protect employees travelling and relocating to a new city for business purposes from any physical or psychological harm.

 

By safeguarding their employees and preventing them from experiencing distressing situations such as not having a place to live, the company will also protect its own image and reputation.

 

Businesses can execute their duty of care by guiding their relocated employees. They should help them avoid accommodation scams, choose safe neighbourhoods for housing, and find reliable and convenient commuting options.

 

The social contract: why employers should help their staff find a home

The social contract between employers and employees has long been established and should not be forgotten. Employers provide stability and fair compensation in exchange for their employee’s dedication, hard work, and skills. Since finding housing is a necessary component of stability, employers should become powerful allies in their staff’s housing search. This behaviour will also help strengthen the relationship between employers and employees, turning them into advocates of the company.

 

All things considered, it seems logical for employers to build as much housing support into the recruitment process as possible. Employers should help their staff find a home and navigate the complicated Irish home market.

References:

  1. The housing crisis is making Ireland’s skills shortage worse, a new report reveals.
  2. Housing Crisis Threatening Job Growth as Vacancies Up 6.9%.
  3. Collapse in number of properties on rental market since pandemic laid bare in new report.
  4. The True Cost of Replacing an Employee. [online] Excel Recruitment.
  5. Long commutes costing firms a week’s worth of staff productivity
  6. Aon survey reveals ‘work-life’ balance is the top wellbeing concern for Irish employers
  7. What makes a happy home?
  8. Networking Statistics: General Stats, Benefits, Face to Face, and More!
  9. Duty of Care

The 7 Benefits of Renting a Room in Your Home

Woman-at-home

If you are reading this, you have probably considered or have some experience renting a room in your home. Did you know that Eurostat figures confirmed that Ireland had the third-highest share of people living in under-occupied dwellings in the European Union in 2019? That means that we have more spare rooms than most EU countries. Despite this fact and a recent increase in residential construction, the reported housing shortages in 2019 in Ireland were estimated to range between 32,000 and 50,000 units.

 

While some people may be understandably sceptical about opening their homes to new people, platforms like HomeHak.com are here to relieve the apprehension by offering a solution where landlords can choose a resident for their home by utilising HomeHak Tenant Selector’s detailed filtering system.

 

Woman-at-home
Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash

Gain access to a pool of pre-qualified tenants with HomeHak

Using the HomeHak platform, tenants can take a number of steps to make their Tenant CV desirable to homeowners, landlords and agents seeking to fill available accommodation without the overwhelming response of posting the listing on a public platform. In addition, tenants can verify their ID using Stripe, and invite ID-verified users to write references on their behalf. They can also display rental history, employment history and their available budget.

 

Therefore, you can easily identify candidates who fall into the price range you are expecting for the rooms you are offering. Renting a spare room in your home is now much easier and safer!

7 reasons to rent your spare room with HomeHak

Here are some of the many benefits of using HomeHak.com to find a tenant for your home:

1. Earn extra income & split the cost of living

The number one reason people around the world rent rooms in their homes is to earn extra cash! You can also save more money by sharing the cost of living with tenants. The Rent-a-Room Relief scheme provides an incentive to homeowners in Ireland who want to rent a room in the house that they occupy as the main resident. Essentially, it is available to live-in landlords. Those benefiting from the scheme can earn up to €14,000 in a single tax year, exempt from income tax, PRSI, and USI. Besides, if you decide to sell your home, the scheme will not affect your capital gains tax.

 

Supplementing your income by renting a room in your home could potentially allow you more freedom. You might choose to work less, take more holidays, pay off debts, grow your savings and more with the extra income.

2. Provide much-needed accommodation for frontline workers and students  

Nurses and other health care providers are frequently travelling inter-county or from overseas to work in hospitals and care facilities in Ireland. Some have faced huge difficulties securing adequate housing in the vicinity of their workplaces.

 

Similarly, students returning to university in September have also been challenged with finding a place to call home for the academic year. Some students are seeking part weekly basis accommodation, which may be a good fit for homeowners who like the idea of renting a room but would also like to have the house to themselves or some family time at the weekend. HomeHak’s Tenant Selector can help to identify students from local universities or staff from local hospitals who may be in need of a home in your area.

 

Doctors-in-a-hospital
Photo by Luis Melendez on Unsplash

3. Exchange friendship, culture, food and language

People from all over the world have created their Tenant CVs and are looking for places to live on HomeHak. Would you like to learn about new cultures, and foods or learning a new language? Hosting an international resident at your home could be an exciting opportunity! This may allow you to have an immersive experience and meaningful connection with interesting new people.

4. Benefit from the extra security, especially for those living alone

You’ve probably heard the old saying “There’s safety in numbers”. Having an extra person at home will provide you with extra security should you ever be unlucky enough to be a target or victim of a crime or have an accident in your home. You may also feel more at ease when on vacation or on a work trip, knowing that someone is at home taking care of your house. Your residents might even take care of your pets and plants while you’re not home!

5. Combat isolation in older adults

With an ever ageing population, there has been an increasing number of older adults who live alone in Ireland. According to the Loneliness, social isolation, and their discordance among older adults findings from The Irish Longitudinal Study on ageing older adults who lived alone had a higher risk of social isolation than those who lived with others. The study also notes: “Loneliness and social isolation are not a necessary fact of the ageing process and recent efforts to alleviate these potentially damaging phenomena should be encouraged.”

 

Matching the numerous individuals in need of accommodation with older adults who live alone, such as empty nesters whose children have grown up and moved out, could provide a strong and effective relief to the social isolation often experienced by the demographic.

6. Get some extra help around the house

Some residents may have special skills they can offer you. For example, they could be qualified landscape gardeners, chefs or professional care providers. Suppose they are open to carrying out some tasks you have available in the home. In that case, you could propose a once-off or ongoing reciprocal agreement. For example, a reduction in the cost of rent in exchange for specified services provided in the home.

 

Man-and-woman-cooking-in-the-kitchen
Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

7. Set out your own terms – Your house rules apply

Since you are the owner of the home, you can set out any rules/guidelines and precedent between yourself and the resident in the form of a written agreement prior to them moving into your home. Deposits, rent, and conditions can all be defined by you as the landlord. Spend some time considering what conditions might be important to you and your lifestyle or living situation. After that, craft an agreement around your needs. This will ensure you find a tenant who is a great fit and agrees to uphold the agreement you propose in exchange for the accommodation provided.

 

Of course, there are also various drawbacks to renting a room in your home. New relationships can be tricky to navigate, and you might not be accustomed to sharing your personal space with others. If you are receiving benefits you should check how the extra income could affect your entitlements.

 

Being a landlord may not be the perfect solution for everyone’s unique situation. However, if you have an urge to rent a room in your home, have good communication skills and are open to new experiences it could be the perfect opportunity to earn substantial extra income with a small amount of work contributed compared to if you were to earn the money at work.

 

Sign up to rent your spare room/son HomeHak today and select a tenant for your home.

Newsletter for Letting Agents (22nd of October, 2022)

In this newsletter* you will find:

 

  • A video Tenant CV from Jon, a great example of an organised home seeker
  • Find great, organised tenants in minutes: Some pre-prepared search results.
  • HomeHak in the news, including an interview on the Neil Prendeville show
  • An important update on our ID verification policy. No Fake Agents here!
  • A feature for Letting Agents to improve productivity: Auto update all applicants

*The data in this newsletter was correct on 22nd October, 2022

1. Featured Tenant CV on HomeHak Tenant Selector

 

During the last 10 weeks alone, more than 300 new tenants have created a good, excellent or top-class Tenant CV on HomeHak.

 

This is Jonathon*, who has prepared one of the most impressive Tenant CVs we have seen this week!  Jon seeks a 2 to 4-bed home for up to €1,700.

 

*This home seeker was happy to showcase his Tenant CV when he was looking for a home in October 2022.

 

 

 

2. Find great Tenants in minutes.

HomeHak Tenant Selector currently has 870 “Good” or better Tenant CV’s available for selection to registered Letting Agents (340 if you are not registered).

 

To help you find the most ideal tenants for your properties with the minimum effort, we have created some filters of tenants searching since 8th August 2022:

Results if you are registered* on HomeHak

  • With ID Verified: 320
  • With References: 125
  • With Rental History: 253
  • Healthcare professionals: 32
  • Students: 26
  • Rent Affordability up to €1,000: 354
  • Rent Affordability up to €1,500: 281
  • Rent Affordability up to €2,000: 117
  • Rent Affordability up to €2,500: 30

Results if you must register* on HomeHak

  • With ID Verified: 267
  • With References: 85
  • With Rental History: 253
  • Healthcare professionals: 27
  • Students: 19
  • Rent Affordability up to €1,000: 300
  • Rent Affordability up to €1,500: 239
  • Rent Affordability up to €2,000: 96
  • Rent Affordability up to €2,500: 24

 

*Log in to your HomeHak account to have access to a bigger pool of trustworthy tenants with credentials pre-prepared.

 

3. Cork renting platform in the news!

September was a busy month for HomeHak in the press! We appeared in several national and local newspapers, podcasts and radio stations such as Red FM, NewsTalk and TheCork.ie.

 

Listen back to this live interview on the Neil Prendeville Show!

 

HomeHak-on-the-Neil-Prendeville-Show-RedFM

 

4. Verify your identity in just 3 minutes with Stripe

HomeHak distributed guidance from An Garda Síochána to deter the scourge of rental fraud and scams. We are determined to discourage bad actors from the HomeHak platform.

 

Stripe ID verification will be required for all letting agents on HomeHak from Tuesday 8th of November. It is already a requirement of Landlord and Homeowner members. It is a simple 3-minute process that will help us build trust in the community.

 

The “ID verified with Stripe” badge will be displayed on your profile, showing you are not a fake agent. It will provide extra peace of mind to home seekers and landlords. Here’s how to be verified:

 

How-to-verify-your-ID

 

If you have any questions about this new requirement, please let us know! We’re here to help!

 

5. Feature of the week for Letting Agents:

Sometimes, agents receive hundreds of applications for a single property. How can they respond to emails and phone calls seeking updates, even after renting the property? What about the dent to the agency’s reputation because it is not possible to update everyone?

 

Update everybody automatically with two clicks

With HomeHak, the agent can change the status of a property being let and automatically update all the home seekers who shortlisted or applied for that property:

 

Features-for-letting-agents

Think about the time that you can save on administration and how you could better utilise it sourcing new landlord clients.

 

We want to hear from you!

 

HomeHak will save time and cost for your letting agency while ensuring you deliver a better result for your clients.

 

What do you think about HomeHak’s features for Letting Agents? They have all been designed to help you make an informed decision while saving hassle, time and money.

 

If you don’t have an account, contact us to set it up today.