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If you are a landlord or letting agent who has rented out properties to tenants in the past, you know that providing references is a crucial part of the process. Thus, we have constructed some useful guidance on how to provide references to tenants effectively.
In this article, you will also learn the benefits of using HomeHak.com to secure and streamline the referral process. Whether you are a seasoned landlord or agency or just starting in the rental industry, this post will provide you with valuable insights.
Keep reading to learn how to provide references to tenants with confidence and ease.
1. Verify the details of the tenancy
Include details such as the tenant’s move-in and out date and whether or not that was in line with the initial agreement.
Also, state if agreements regarding rental payments were honoured. Inform them as to whether or not the tenant gave sufficient notice before leaving your property.
2. Be honest and accurate
Don’t sugarcoat or exaggerate the tenant’s strengths or downplay your tenant’s weaknesses. Provide an unbiased, truthful and balanced assessment of the tenant’s suitability for another rental property.
This will help the tenant find a property that’s a good fit for them and protect your reputation as a referee. In some cases, rather than providing a negative reference for a candidate, a landlord or agent may opt not to provide a reference at all.
3. Provide relevant information
Include information that’s helpful to the tenant and their future landlord or agency. For example: the tenant’s rental history, reliability, consistency and any other relevant information that could impact their ability to rent a property.
Providing too much irrelevant information can be overwhelming and unhelpful. Remember to stick to the facts! Only provide information that is relevant to the tenant’s rental application. Avoid including any personal opinions or assumptions.
4. Get permission from the tenant
If a third party (such as another landlord or agency) approaches you for a reference, remember to contact your tenant before providing it. This will help protect the tenant’s privacy and ensure that their information is only shared with parties that they have authorised.
Explain to the tenant what information you will include in the reference. In addition, your tenants should be informed of who you will share the reference with. Never disclose any unnecessary confidential information in any form about the tenant or their family.
5. Provide up-to-date contact information
You will be helping the tenant’s future landlord or agent to verify the information provided. They should be able to contact you if they have a question about the reference or the tenant.
6. Do not discriminate
This means that you should not base your reference on factors such as:
Membership of the Traveller community.
Instead, focus on the tenant’s relevant qualifications, attributes and suitability as a tenant.
7. Don’t retaliate against a tenant for exercising legal rights
This behaviour will likely reflect badly on you as the referee. Besides, it may perpetuate a culture of illicit activity in the rental property market.
8. Keep records of the references you provide
Make sure to keep copies of the reference form and any other relevant documents. For example: emails or phone call notes. This is crucial as they may be requested from you at a later date.
For accuracy and security, add your signature and the date to your written references. Send the document in a scanned .pdf format to avoid the document being formatted or changed without your knowledge.
9. Provide timely references
Respond promptly to reference requests and provide the reference within a reasonable time frame. This can help the tenant secure a property quickly.
10. Avoid using colloquial language
Remember that tenants who request a reference may not need it for the same city or country where they have rented a home or room from you. Therefore, you should avoid a casual communication style so the document travels well across different regions and cultures.
Keep the language straightforward. Otherwise, if a non-English speaker feeds your text into a translator, they could struggle to understand the context and your sentiment.
How to use HomeHak to provide references:
Considering everything, the process of providing references can be time-consuming and challenging. This is especially important when dealing with a large number of tenants.
HomeHak.com has made it easier for landlords and agencies to provide reliable references to past tenants seeking new homes. Tenants can simply fill in this form to request a reference from their previous landlord or letting agent.
The landlord or letting agent will receive a request by email. As you can see in the below image, the request comes with a template you can edit and use:
HomeHak allows landlords and letting agents to:
Provide ID-verified references to tenants with ease
Quickly and accurately provide trustworthy and credible references
Edit or withdraw your reference from your HomeHak account in case you change your mind
Delete your contact details (from that date, your reference will be attributed to “unregistered member”)
In addition, you can use the HomeHak Tenant Selector to filter and communicate with potential tenants. This will allow you to find new tenants for any properties or rooms that have become available since your tenant recently moved out.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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”
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.com.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Living in an owner-occupied home in Ireland has its advantages, chief among them being comfort and cleanliness. Digs are typically better maintained, more comfortable and usually cleaner than rented houses, as the homeowner lives in the property.
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.
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!
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 this option 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 “My Desired Home” section, 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 “Room in a home shared with owner (DIGS).”
2. Look for digs on HomeHak:
Homeowners can also list their spare rooms for rent on HomeHak.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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? This could be a great advantage if you have pets and would like to rent a spare room in your home. However, don’t forget to 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.
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.
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.
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 to download). Feel free to modify this sample agreement outlining living arrangements to your liking.
If you would like to rent a spare room in your home, we recommend you look at this article.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
Unique to HomeHak is that individual home-seekers can join their tenant CVs to form ready-made households. Imagine knowing up front that all information for four housemates is organised and ready to view!
Since the home-seekers know each other, they probably have good chemistry and are likely to get on well in the home. It will likely mean less hassle and easier property management.
Learn more about one of the most beneficial features of our platform and the several practical use cases it offers for landlords and agents.
Our mission is to help home seekers secure homes they like and, at the same time, help landlords and agents find trustworthy tenants. By succeeding, we will help create happy households that are more likely to treat a property like their home. Consequently, they will probably look after it better and want to stay longer.
Happy tenants will also likely be lower maintenance tenants for the property manager, which helps margins. Check out this article about the importance of having happy tenants.
How does HomeHak’s Co-Applicants feature work?
Home seekers with similar needs or interests, such as students in the same course, people in the same profession, or those who work in the same area can join their Tenant CVs and present as co-applicants for a property, forming a ready-made household.
The co-applicants feature allows agents and landlords to quickly see what ready-made households are listed on our tenant selector. It ensures a happier household, and makes life easier for the landlord and agent.
Have a look at Hanna and her friends’ Tenant CV here!
Understanding what tenants want
To satisfy home-seekers needs, you first need to understand what they want. With HomeHak, they have the opportunity to outline what they would like upfront, which enables better matching with each rental property.
Sometimes, when you advertise a multi-tenant property on a property website, you receive 400 applications and don’t know who to invite or group together in a household.
Selecting the fastest people to apply to the ad, or the most persistent callers on the phone. Neither criterion identifies the person most suited to the property.
Spending time and resources administering, receiving, analysing, filtering and responding to unsuccessful applicants (99% for most properties).
HomeHak’s Co-Applicants Feature allows you to:
Request applicants in your property ad to create their individual HomeHak Tenant CVs. You will be able to verify their IDs, unique renting history, employer details and character references separately.
Request applicants in your property ad who want to live together to join their HomeHak Tenant CVs as Co-applicants. This is a simple process involving a few clicks.
Later, when you review any one of the applicant’s HomeHak Tenant CVs, you can also see details for the other co-applicants on the Tenant CVs.
Your rental application is the ticket to your ideal home. One of the most important stages of the application process happens during your reference checks. For this reason, it’s important to select those references carefully. Read our guide to find out who can be a personal reference on your rental application.
Personal references can be hard to come by, especially when you’re already overwhelmed putting the rest of a rental application together. When you’re in a competitive rental market, it’s important to provide the most impressive references possible. Professionalism is key when choosing who will write your references and how many references you include with your application.
Understanding the landlord screening process
One thing to keep in mind when trying to choose your references is the screening process that landlords will go through. A property manager typically does background checks on your income and rental history. This is done to ensure that landlords can trust you, so they can be confident that you’ll be the right tenant for their property!
To learn more about what information a landlord can request as part of your rental application, check out this handy guide from Threshold.
They’re looking for certain things during this evaluation like credit history, criminal record, reports of bad behaviour etc. If they can, they will likely contact your references and ask them how they know you, what you’re like, and how reliable you are. As such it’s important to put careful thought into choosing your personal references for your rental application.
How to source your references
You should look to find people who know you well enough to speak to your character. Think of the people in your life who could vouch for your personal, financial, and professional reputation.
At this point, you may already have a few people in mind, but be wary of what kind of answers you might get from them. Reflect on your relationship with these people and consider how they would speak about you in terms of your professionalism, your timeliness, and behaviour.
Choose your references wisely
It’s common for a landlord/agent to ask for a minimum of two rental references, but don’t let that put you off. The reason they do this is so they can verify from an independent third party that you’re genuine and trustworthy. The ideal references will be able to express your characteristics and qualities in a positive way so that the landlord has faith in you.
Before you go putting everyone you know on your Tenant CV, you first need to work out if they will actually provide you with a reference, and secondly, that what they have to say actually helps your situation.
You don’t want to select someone who might have something negative to say. Bear in mind they may not want to be contacted by anyone. Best practice is to reach out and discuss their feelings on the matter first! Written references are widely accepted, but it helps to have a few contact details available just in case.
Who Can Be A Personal Reference On Your Rental Application?
Previous landlord– This is probably the best reference to have (if you’ve had a good experience with them of course!) Having a former landlord’s reference on your Tenant CV will immediately catch a property manager’s eye.
An employer – that knows you well and can speak highly of your work ethic, accountability, and attitude is an excellent reference. In most cases, your employer is someone who has worked with you for a long time. What they have to say about you professionally is valuable!
Co-workers/ career mentors– also considered great references. Again, someone who knows you professionally who speaks positively about your attitudes and behaviour.
Volunteer Supervisor – A volunteer supervisor who has worked with you can provide you with a vote of confidence in terms of your hard work and diligence.
Friends/Family– it can sometimes be thought that a family member or friends aren’t useful references but this isn’t always the case. Don’t worry if you don’t have a tenancy history. You can compensate by adding a few people you know who can provide a positive character reference. Someone who speaks highly of you can be more valuable than just saying ‘they can pay rent on time’.
Honesty is the best policy
If you haven’t got the best credit history or if there’s another peculiarity that you think will be revealed during the screening process, the best thing to do is be upfront and honest. Everyone has a different story! A Tenant CV is a great way to explain how great of a tenant you are.
However, if you’re worried about anything (i.e., rental arrears, damages) be prepared to discuss these with the property manager. Put your best foot forward and let them know the steps you’re taking to improve upon your history.
The addition of personal references instantly elevates your rental application, but always go with your gut. When considering your options reflect carefully about who can be the best personal reference on your rental application. Choose people who you can trust!
HomeHak Tenant CV
HomeHak provides the tools to easily include references on a beautiful Tenant CV. A Tenant CV is a document that showcases your attributes and interests when looking for a home. The idea is to build a Tenant CV once and use it as often as you need! The step-by-step process couldn’t be simpler, and it has a lot of benefits!
Check out how you can start building a Tenant CV here.