8 Reasons Why Landlords Should Process & Take Their Own Viewings

So, remember my previous blog post? You know, the one just before Christmas; the one which caused rumours to circulate about me having gone through a surgical procedure, which allegedly explained why I was behaving like a whimpering little girl? The one where I clearly lost faith in humanity as I explained how the tenancy enquiries I was receiving for a soon-to-be vacant property went from bad to catastrophic, remember? Remember? Remember?

God, that was torture, and the light at the end of the tunnel seemed like nothing but a tiny spec of distant bullshit.

I knew *why* it was happening, I just didn’t like that it was happening to me. I was a 24-carat halfwit for going against decades of seasonal trends pointing south. I should be fed to the lions for even attempting to pull off such a ludicrous stunt- to market a rental property at the ass-end of the letting season (two weeks before Christmas, to be precise). I don’t know what I was thinking. I don’t know who I thought I was.

Note to self: reserve the notion of finding new tenants between mid-December and early-January for only my worst enemy. Maybe I’ll shuffle through every other landlord website/forum and advise the community to find-tenants during that ‘optimal’ period! :)

But credit where credit due, I can’t give full credit to the soul-destroying applicants for the demise of my masculinity. I’m sure Brexit and the rise of Trump also had something to do with my surge in hormonal outbursts and tenderised nipples. What a monumental suck-fest it’s been for us liberal-lefties, innit? I despair. Anyways…

Unsurprisingly, as soon as everyone shuddered away their hangovers, and unwillingly threw themselves back into the grind after the New Year, the quality in applicants increased 10-fold. So it wasn’t long before my faith in humanity was partially restored, and able to proceed with securing a tenant that I’m feeling rather confident with. YESSSS, GO ME!! *High five*

The Tenancy Viewings…

Naturally, during the process of finding a new tenant I had to go through the viewing process. Viewings are always eye-opening experiences, particularly this time round. In fact, I’m more convinced than ever, that at some point in time, a mass scale experiment went very wrong, which caused neurological deficiencies for a very large pool of people. Coincidentally, a large percentage of whom applied to be my tenant.

Long story short, I encountered some proper imbeciles. Perhaps the most alarming incident was when an applicant fell in-love with the property almost immediately; so much so that he was skipping through each room like an excited 13yr old boy that had just achieved his first erection. “It works! It works! It really works, just like in the those videos!!” Unfortunately, his enthusiasm wasn’t contagious. In fact, his continuous and droning narration on how he would perfectly dress each room, to meet his, and I quote, “incredibly high-standards”, got very annoying. Quickly.

Save the theatrics for your drama workshops, Dorothy. Do you want the place or not?

Eventually, he simmered down and enquired about the interest I had received so far. I explained I had already received a few offers (which was true), but I was going to allow all applicants an opportunity before making any finalised decisions. He quickly showed twitching signs of concern, which followed by a snappy offer.

Only thing was, his method of securing a deal for a ‘product in demand’ was frightfully psychotic. I kid you not, he offered me 30% less than the asking price (he offered to pay me £700PCM, when my asking price was £1000PCM, and the market price was £1100) and no deposit.

Wait, what the hell? What just happened? Are there men in white jackets, holding large fishing nets, looking for this guy, or was he trying to pull off an advanced psychological marketing tactic far beyond the abilities of my puny mind to trip over (if it’s the latter, the jokes on him)?

I was mostly scared because he was visibly smug and confident about offering me a plate of steaming turd. When I queried him on the no deposit BS, he said that’s what the advert said. No, it didn’t. It really didn’t.

Like I said, experiment gone badly wrong. Somewhere. Sometime.

So. Anyways. Tenancy viewings are interesting, and after years of experience I came to the realisation that I’d be an idiot if I didn’t take viewings myself, or at least, have some significant involvement.

WAIT! Before you attack! I know, my statement will step on some hairy, fat sausage-toes attached to many landlords that use high-street agents to take viewings, and of course, the beautiful agents themselves. But I admit, there are a million caveats to my blanket statement, which justify why many landlords shouldn’t or can’t take viewings themselves. However, generally speaking, for the landlords that live relatively close to their investment, have experience dealing with people, and obtain a shred of common sense, they’d be foolish not to take their own viewings. Note, I don’t use the term “common sense” lightly; most people don’t have it, so the market for letting services will always be gigantic.

Why landlords should process & take their own viewings

Many of the sentiments with in the list won’t be anything new; I’ve said most of it before at some point, so don’t be alarmed if you’re hit square in the face with a foggy mist of Déjà vu…

  • 1) Taking your own viewings is cheaper
    It should come to no real surprise that this is first on the list, and perhaps the most compelling reason for many (although, price alone shouldn’t be seen as the most attractive reason in this list).

    I can’t think of any convincing reason why the services of a high-street agent would be required for strictly the “tenant find” stage if the landlord is willing to take their own viewings. The leads can be generated by using an online letting agent, and that’s a billion squid saved right there.

    Pushing the potential savings on the transparent and upfront fees aside, there’s also the avoidance of other unsavoury agency fees commonly associated with “tenant find” packages, which are typically wangled into the small print, like tenancy renewal fees, admin fees, reservation fees, and various other ridiculous fees.

    It’s those extra fees which really sneak up on ya’ and punch ya’ in the nuts.

  • 2) Gut Instinct / real life impressions matter!
    I’m going to Frankenstein the crap out of this point by copying/pasting sections from posts I’ve previously written and mashing it together. This is a drum I’ve smashed the living crap out of many times before…

    I rank ‘gut instincts’ as one of the best referencing methods available, and ironically, it’s the one tool most letting agents are, by design, unequipped with (or just plain ignore).

    Most agents mostly see numbers and currency symbols, which means they rarely consider whether the prospective tenant is ‘practically’ suitable. What I mean by that is, as soon as I meet an applicant during the viewing, I instinctively start assessing their personality, presentation, and our chemistry- all of which provide valuable information in helping me determine whether an applicant is suitable for me and my property. Through no fault of their own, agents won’t inherently have that fabulous tool at their disposal.

    An agent will tend to vet applicants on paper, while a good landlord (and exceptionally good agent, which are far and few between) is more likely to vet the tenant on paper and in pragmatic terms (i.e. judging the tenant’s characteristics and mannerisms).

    In my humble opinion, the ‘gut instinct’ element should make the proposition of taking your own viewings imminent.

  • 3) The opportunity to flag ‘other’ signs of danger
    I’ve also already written an entire blog post on this point (Holy Moly, I’m really creating a patchwork quilt of old shit with this blog post!), where I list potentially awful signs of awful tenants. It was a good one.

    When I first started my BTL crusade I used to primarily focus on the references the applicants provided, which would include income and references. In retrospect, that was naivety at it’s best, because any old numpty can earn a buck and bribe a few people with a bottle of cider to vouche for them.

    A good tenant is so much more than the details in their tenancy application form, but unfortunately, seeing beyond the black ink is difficult when you don’t take your own viewings. How many people would do business with someone they’ve never met? Very few. Yet, we seem to effortlessly do it in this industry.

    I put my applicants through a screening process that they’re not even aware of. They ain’t got a freaking clue that while they’re burying their heads into the kitchen units, assessing whether there’s suitable storage to house their reserve of freakish amounts of tinned food in the event of an apocalypse, I’m working the crap out of my five senses and giving them a shakedown; I’m looking for flesh wounds that indicate signs of participation in a bar brawl; I’m sniffing around for unpleasant odours only obtainable by a nasty smoking habit (I don’t accept smokers) and/or soap allergies; I’m looking for head-lice crawling around on their hideous little scalp; I’m analysing the cleanliness of their cotton socks (if they don’t offer to remove their shoes before entering the premises, interview over!). It’s also particularly interesting to assess someone’s reaction when you tell them you’re going to do a credit check on them- the response is often very telling.

    How many agents look through Facebook as part of their referencing protocol? I’d be surprised if any, yet it’s been one of the most resourceful and valuable methods of referencing for me over the years. But you can’t blame agents side-stepping, because judging the political party an applicant is endorsing isn’t their job, nor should it be. But it’s definitely with in my interest; if an applicant is sharing and/or liking Britain First or EDL posts, or has pictures of what is clearly an unsightly living environment, that is all invaluable information.

    See, the thing is, most people wouldn’t be perceptive to any of those things. How many agents would say, “the applicant ticket all the boxes… but he/she smelt of an ashtray”? Not many. They’re more likely to usher you into their branch to sign the contracts, and in-turn bump up their commission. Cha-ching!

    I guess this ties in with the ‘gut instinct’ factor, whereby landlords are genetically programmed to be more perceptive.

  • 4) Makes for a better relationship
    No two ways about it, landlords aren’t liked. We’re sitting-pretty under the armpit of society next to ticket inspectors and estate agents. Landlords are driving up house prices; we overcharge for shitholes swarming with dinosaur-sized parasites, and we’re getting those less fortunate than us to pay off our mortgages. We really should get a real job. And we really would… if this wasn’t so damn easy.

    Many tenants walk into a tenancy loaded with those thoughts, and when there’s such contempt for the man in the Ivory tower, you’re potentially dealing with someone that won’t hesitate to use the carpets as a tool to soak-up bodily fluids.

    Rich Landlord

    Often, viewings are the only time, and arguably the most suitable time, for us to show the applicant that the landlord is actually super awesome, and that we don’t all match the negative preconceived version. That can make one hell of an impact to the success and longevity of a tenancy. However, if you do fit the mould, you’re probably better off tucked away in your pit, and leaving it to the hired help. I told you, there are caveats.

    Generally, I believe tenants appreciate good landlords, and good landlords can be a wonderful deterrent for rent arrears and other disasters that can lead to suicidal thoughts, and just as equally, a magnet for desirable tenants. Agents can’t bridge that gap, because they’re seen as the ‘middle men’, and merely the wall between the tenant and the ‘asshole landlord’

    I always go into viewings believing that a ‘good tenant’ is looking for a ‘good landlord’.

  • 5) Nothing worse than paying for crap that doesn’t work
    Many moons ago, I used to pay highstreet agents to find me tenants. In exchange for my hard earned cheese, I’ve been provided with both beautiful examples, and disastrous one’s that made me want to grind away at my flesh with a toothpick.

    But, after years of paying extortionate amounts on agency fees, do you know what I realised?

    If I find a donkey tenant, it’s all on me.

    If an agent finds a donkey tenant after shelling out several hundreds of pounds, it’s still all on me.

    Hang on, that doesn’t seem right. No, it doesn’t, does it?

    That’s the thing, agents aren’t held accountable for supplying a ropey tenant, even though they do it ALL THE TIME. If they were actually held accountable for every tenant that fell into arrears or destroyed a property, there wouldn’t be any agents trading by sunrise. So why should I pay £800 for the privilege of being bent over and screwed into an oblivion, when I’m capable of screwing myself, only better, and harder?

    That concept has always had a profound effect on me, ever since I paid a local highstreet agent £800 for a DSS tenant that almost immediately fell into arrears. Talk about being shafted to hell and back. I could have easily found dogshit and thrown it into my property myself… for free.

  • 6) The resistance against compromising
    I know what type of tenant I want. I really, really, really do. It’s almost natural for landlords to be particularly selective, because we have that emotional connection to the property (that’s arguably detrimental to the cause).

    I’ve learnt from many bad experiences that a landlord should always avoid compromising when it comes to tenants. Stick to the blueprint of a good tenant and don’t feel pressured to go down a different path, even if time is of the essence. I’ve said it before and I’ll say again: keeping a property vacant for the right tenant will *always* maximise profits.

    During my recent woeful experience, I ignored the majority of enquiries I’d received because they were so comically bad. Many of them were completely incoherent; it was almost like someone got pissed up and had nothing better to do than send bogus enquiries. Actually, I kind of wish that was the case, because otherwise I’m in fear for the applicants. They don’t have a chance. I’m always baffled when someone is too lazy to run a spellcheck.

    From my experience, many letting agents would have taken a punt on a few of those enquiries, and in some cases, convinced the landlord to take a punt (the landlord often doesn’t realise it’s a punt). It’s happened to me.

    I allowed the greasy whispers of a money-grabbing asswipe agent convince me into thinking an OKAY tenant, which didn’t seem all that great on paper, was worth “giving a chance” No question, it was my fault for going against common sense, but I had no grounds to doubt an expert. I think it’s a trap many novice landlords are notoriously perceptible to, to accept a barely suitable tenant on the approval of an expert. But hey, if we’re paying the experts, why wouldn’t we listen to them?

    When you’re receiving a barrage of lousy applications (it happens), an agent might be compelled to let their standards lower for the purpose of getting the ‘show on the road’. A landlord is more likely to remain stringent and uphold the standards. For example, if I took 10 viewings and they were all evidently awful in various different ways, I would keep searching, while an agent might think… “we’ve seen enough, let’s just pick one. Jack was the best out of a wave of garbage, he’ll do.”

    My point is, when a landlord physically interacts with an applicant, we’re in a better position to remain stringent because safeguarding our investment is our number one priority, and I can’t say that’s always the case with an agent.

  • 7) Flexibility with agencies
    I completely get that some landlords can’t or don’t want to handle the management. I get it. Who the hell wants to deal with a whinging crybaby when the toilet won’t flush because it’s been clogged with last night’s kebab? Screw that shit (pun intended).

    Like I said, I’m not denying the need for high-street agents, and I never have. I’m not even denying that some agents provide exceptional service.

    However, there’s nothing in the rule book that says a landlord can’t delegate responsibility. Landlords are perfectly with in their right to take the reigns during the viewings and picking the tenant, and then passing on the management responsibility to an agency. Although, if you picked wisely in the first place, the management should be minimal, and you’d essentially be paying an agent 8%-10% to transfer money from one account to another. Truly expensive monkey work. Of course, there are other reasons why landlords may legitimately need to use a management service regardless of minimal bang for buck (e.g. landlords that reside overseas).

    In any case, there is the option of obtaining management services after doing the most crucial step of finding a suitable tenant. Alternatively, if you use an agent from the offset, to source and take the viewings, you generally lose the flexibility, because you’re kind of just stuck with the agent. It’s notoriously difficult to breakaway from an agent with your tenant when the agent sourced the tenant. Trust me, they’ve made sure of that. However, if you find the tenant and then use a management service, I imagine it would be extremely difficult for agents to keep their hooks sunk in.

    There are many disheartened comments on this blog from landlords that have enquired about taking over the management, because they’ve realised that they’re paying through the nose for what is effectively an automated standing order of rent transfers. That’s a whole lot of money for sweet-nothing. That’s the reality of using a managed service when you have good tenants.

    So yes, perhaps there’s a goofy argument for flexibility when you take your own viewings.

    And when I say “perhaps” I mean there definitely is. And it’s not goofy!

  • 8) Chinese Whispers & Clarity of expectations
    Do you know what I like about viewings? I like the fact I can ‘truthfully’ and ‘accurately’ answer any of the questions thrown my way, coupled with being able to make my expectations abundantly clear. Straight from the horse’s mouth!

    Now this may not *seem* like a big deal, but it really is.

    “What is your rule on putting holes in the walls to hang up shelves?”

    No, fuck you.

    “What about smoking?”

    No, fuck you.

    “Can I have guests?”

    No, fuck you.

    “Can I change the gas supplier for a better rate?”

    No, fuck you.

    See, no confusion, straight to the bloody point!

    (was that too much profanity? Apologies all around if so!)

    Setting your expectations will not only reduce unexpected surprises, but it will also allow the tenant to determine whether you are the right landlord for them, which is just as crucial.

    Agents won’t have all the answers, so there’s often a lot of delaying to accommodate the frustrating back-and-forths. And in reality, many agents will bypass the truth-finding journey, and opt for the ‘lying through the teeth’ policy instead, which usually means muttering the most appeasing responses. Because that’s just easier, right?

    There’s also the element of Chinese Whispers to be recognised and concerned about. An agent once told me that ‘a few’ of the applicants were hesitant on making an offer because the skirting boards needed repainting. WTF? Who in their right mind, let alone multiple minds, would get frightened by slightly off-white skirting boards? That’s literally all that was wrong with them. I really couldn’t take this shit-for-brains agent seriously.

    Low and behold, he tried to up-sell me decorating services to remedy the situation. SHOCK!! I imagine one applicant made a passing comment on the off-white skirting boards, and the asshat agent saw an opportunity to Hollywood the story up in order to add a few zeros onto the final bill.

    SEE YOU IN HELL, maaaan!!!

    Ultimately, using an agent for viewings creates a hazardous blind-spot. I don’t like that. Not at all.

So yeah, that’s my list of reasons why I think it’s always better for landlords to process and take their own viewings. I know they can be a royal pain in the ass, and the idea of paying some greasy schmuck in an oversized suit to elevate the pain sounds incredibly tempting. But I’m not convinced the potential risks are worth it.

Just to re-clarify, there ARE a buttload of caveats supporting agent viewings.

Ok, so now I’m going to pass over the mic. I’ve got a pile of questions for you lot, so just answer whichever is relevant, pleeeeeease:

  • Do you take your own viewings?
  • Can you think of any other advantages?
  • Got any amusing or disastrous viewing stories?
  • Have there been instances where you wish you would have taken viewings?

Love, Peace & no dividing walls! x

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70 Comments- Join The Conversation...

Showing 20 - 70 comments (out of 70)
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 13th February, 2017 @ 16:44

@anon
... come back!! We can resolve this... :/

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Sarah 13th February, 2017 @ 18:04

I have always done all the viewings myself, especially after reading this blog! I like the tip of seeing who offers to take their shoes off 😂 My top 3 applicants last time all offered to remove theirs (this wasn't the only reason I liked them but it did help!)

Anyway last time I had a guy come to view my property, on paper he was perfect, good income etc etc. He even offered an extra £100 per month without any negotiating... offered this by the estate agent I would have snapped it up!
On meeting him however it was a different story.... he had the worst odour seeping from him that I nearly gagged. He looked an absolute mess and smelt as though he hadn't seen a bath or washed his clothes for a longtime. I had a viewing straight after him and had to air the whole house with copious use of air fresher!!
Anyway he was a nice man, but just thinking about what state he lived in made me run a mile!! Meeting with prospective tenants face to face can save you from one hell of a mess when check out comes around. It's a ball ache doing the viewings but so worth the effort! It freaks me out to think that guy could be living in my house ruining it as we speak....

It also cost me nothing last time as I used a weeks free trial with an online letting agent and found a tenant on day one... happy days!

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Linda 13th February, 2017 @ 18:06

PMSL at the comment immediately above. Poor Anon.

God you're funny. Either that or I've been out of the U.K. far to long!

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william 13th February, 2017 @ 18:21

I think your blogs are great. They make me smile because clearly you have a wicked sense of humour which is so necessary when one gets dicked about. At least one can kid oneself you saw it coming and laugh about it, because there is not much else to do except learn and get on with sorting it. What is also apparent is underneath the profane image lies a lot of experience and knowledge and a very perceptive judge of character and an observant judge of human nature. This is vital to a good tenant / landlord relationship which inevitably must be founded on mutual respect and trust. Look after your tenants and they will look after your property. You reap what you sow but do so, while having fun .. you will do a better job. I have been in property for a very long time and have seen a lot but there is no question that dealing with fun, irreverant, politically incorrect, foul mouthed profane folk is so much better than dreary boring ' watch your language' and 'I beg your pardon' folk who prefer the dry old text book approach. No one is forcing folk to read your blogs... so either they switch off or ease up on the primness and enjoy the mischief as there is so much to learn from these blogs which are perceptive and informative. I say this with decades of property experience behind me.
On the question of agents and conducting inspections I always use the same agent for all my properties because if one is loyal rather than touting for the best deal, this is reciprocated and the agent will bring you the best tenants and go the extra mile to get them. If you go for jack the lad who couldn't give a shit but will discount a fee to get the job, do not be surprised by the poor service you will get. For those exceptions which must occur with any rule I apologise.
I totally agree with The Landlord .. always meet them as soon as possible once they meet your letting criteria and if you accept them, then maintain regular contact to ensure you are aware of potential worries /issues before they explode into dramas / debts etc. The only times things have gone amiss have been where I have not met the tenants until it was too late, and one has that oh shit what have I let myself in for.
Folk do things for reasons so gut instinct is key in working out what motivates your prospective tenant such as where they see themselves living a year on after letting your property, and where will they be working etc . Ask them why they are moving .. their responce and body language will highlight a potential problem in a heartbeat, at which point you can either take punt or tell them the flat is not for them. A little known and oft disbelieved fact despite the deluge of horror stories, is circa 80% of tenants do not have a problem with their landlord and vice versa, so if you get a shocker ask yourself whether you should have seen it coming and what you could have done better to avoid falling into the soft and brown. After all you are the only one who can get this right for yourself which is quite a motivator and so much more important than trying to sanitise a blog into a politically correct government style dreary advice leaflet which certaianly in my case would be the last thing would read.

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Chris 13th February, 2017 @ 19:42

I think there are some very good points made. I believe in telling it like it is, however, when far more expletives are used than is necessary to make the point, I do find it a turn off and am unlikley to continue reading.
[ and that's speaking as a fella - I'd imagine there would be a far higher proportion of female landlords who would NOT like to read something as described above ]

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 13th February, 2017 @ 19:47

@Sarah
Oh yeaaah, the shoe test really does help separate the wheat from the chaff :)

Haha, God, you described that so well that I have the taste of rotten milk and eggs in my mouth *vomit*

But yes, that's exactly why I take my own viewings!

Nice one regarding the online agent/free tenant! I love a happy ending.

25
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 13th February, 2017 @ 19:49

@william
Thank you :)

Definitely agree with your comments on gut instinct and assessing body language etc! Viewings are extremely telling in so many different ways.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 13th February, 2017 @ 19:51

@Chris
Oh come on Chris, you said it yourself, "some very good points"- don't leave!

I'll make an extra effort in my next blog post- less of the profanity! What do you say, give me one more chance?

Jesus, tough crowd today!

27
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Richard 13th February, 2017 @ 20:55

Love the blog, lots of useful tips and amusing too.
Agree with viewing prospective tenants yourself although not possible for me as I am overseas.
I did a lot of research to find a good agent and settled for 'a smaller local one' so far things have gone well.

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Emily 13th February, 2017 @ 23:50

Good advice. We do our own viewings. Another thing we do is watch them before they get to the door. Shows what they are really like before they put the charm on.
Don't have a problem with the language,makes me chuckle and we all think it even if we don't say it! Especially re holes in walls. I do all the decorating stunt work too

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Mike 13th February, 2017 @ 23:50

I do all my own viewings , partly to assess the right attitude, which does not come across on a form. I need to feel comfortable with tenants. But it also allows me to quiz them a little - I have a big preference for those who are keen on fitness as a hobby (eg running). They tend to be clean livers, not party girls (or guys)

Perhaps I am unusual, I buy 3 bed semis, and put expensive stuff in them to let as high quality furnished HMO, and that seems to attract the right kind of people, (or I have managed that so far, touch wood!- or am I just lucky so far?)

I also do rent guarantee insurance , and malicious and accidental damage insurance, so am risk averse.

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Paul 14th February, 2017 @ 09:43

I used to work in a role dealing with landlords and tenants, and the general opinion toward letting agents from both camps was very very low! But as with most things there are very good letting agents out there. However despite such privileged knowledge gained over 30 years I did use an agent once, particularly after falling for their self congratulatory resume of their so called professional abilities. Stupid me! I soon realised that their main objective was to get anyone in, and I mean anyone, and ended up with me attempting to educate them in some areas of landlord/tenant law! Since that day I have done all viewings, which is the best option and for all the reasons mentioned, but mainly because you can apply your gut feeling when making the final decision and after physically seeing the cliental coming to 'your' door.
So far, touch wood, I have excellent tenants that match the excellent standard family homes I provide, of which I am proud. So why would you let someone else mess that good record up?
However, after meeting other property owners who have experienced similar poor service from so called letting professionals, dare I say it, I now offer a property management service to landlords (and tenants), and at a very reasonable cost, with absolute minimal fees to tenants. After all, the landlord and tenant relationship is, or should be, a partnership, and people should only pay for what they get.

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Benji 14th February, 2017 @ 11:20

@Landlord,

I always charge slightly under the market price

Cheers!

Loving it that some landlords charge below market average. That means some landlords (me!) are charging above the average. So in your example above, I'm charging £200 pcm for carrying out exactly the same service. Around £10K more than you over an average 4 year tenancy.

I don't have voids and have no problem in finding good tenants. I'd get it if I was struggling, then I'd also be charging less but it is a sellers market right now and looks like staying that way for some time.

Grow some balls and try it next time- £100 above the market average.

p.s I'm also deeply offended by all the fucking swearing.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 14th February, 2017 @ 11:35

@Richard,
Thank you :)

Yeah, I'd always go for the local smaller option! The large chains are generally junk. Glad you've had good fortune so far.

33
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 14th February, 2017 @ 11:37

@Emily,
Thanks!

Yeah, I usually eye up the tenants as they creep towards the house as well. Funny how we all have these little rituals to help us get a clearer picture of what/who we're dealing with.

Oh Lordy, holes in walls... I've had a few heart-attacks over those!

34
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 14th February, 2017 @ 11:40

@Mike
Definitely hear what you're saying about fitness enthusiasts, although I've never really thought about it when referencing! Good point though, worth considering.

It your system is working, it's working! Who are we to say it's wrong/unusual?

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 14th February, 2017 @ 11:42

@Paul
Agreed! :)

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 14th February, 2017 @ 11:47

@Beni

FUCK YOU BENJI!! SURELY IT'S TOO LATE TO LOWER THE COST ONCE I'M BLOODY STRUGGLING??!!? DAMAGE IS DONE!

FEEL FREE TO CONTINUE OVERCHARGING FOR YOUR SHITTY PROPERTIES, AND I'LL CONTINUE DOING MY THING, MY WAY!

I am furious right now!

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 14th February, 2017 @ 11:50

@Benji
I genuinely wouldn't be surprised if you're Fergus Wilson!

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Benji 14th February, 2017 @ 12:40

Oh dear! Seems you're a little upset, have a hug.

Better now?

By struggling, I mean half a dozen empty at the same time. At the moment, I have nil voids and a choice of tenant.

Think about it logically, why would you want to charge £200 pcm less than me for an identical property? Charging less doesn't make you a better landlord, it just makes you a mug.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 14th February, 2017 @ 12:50

@Benji
I like mitigating my risks, Fergus!

When I started marketing my property I saw about 14 similar properties available for rent in the same area.

Interestingly enough, I just looked on Rightmove, and the few that were available for £1100 are still being marketed. Of course, that could be the agents artificially inflating their stock, but I'd rather have not taken that risk of being left on the shelf.

I'm pretty sure there is no way I would have achieved £200 more, perhaps £100. But I'm cool with that. It's a fair price, and I found a good tenant (I believe I have anyways), and there was only a 3 day void period.

If you're not going to lose sleep over me hypothetically losing £10k over 4 years, then I'll try not to either.

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Benji 14th February, 2017 @ 18:01

Up to you pal (or may I call you Judith?) but that ain't good risk mitigation. £10K in the bank is.

For me this is a business, if you want to do it as a hobby, fill yer boots.

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Libbi 14th February, 2017 @ 21:08

I'm with the Stephens, (Fry and Hawking), neither of whom could be described as unintelligent, both of whom have commented that there no substitute for a good "fuck" when choosing an expletive. Love the blog, and don't do the initials and asterisks thing thing, its demeaning - you are addressing hairy arsed, hard nosed landlords, not the f**king women's institute.

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William 14th February, 2017 @ 21:56

Well said Libbi. A refreshing vision of the real world. To illustrate the point ...Trump uses capitals and exclamation marks for every twit or blog or blat etc. (For the avoidance of doubt other than this site I do not read or use them).
The point is, more is less. How does Donald now really express something he feels strongly about because he has used up his ammunition for getting the pivot
point across, amidst a mass of smoke and mirrors, as everything he says now appears the same. His mistake is up there with folk who say something is very unique ...which means what, if it is already unique?
Back to the point ... keep doing what you do The Landlord .. you are providing a great service with humour.

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Delichieuse 14th February, 2017 @ 23:38

Love your blog, really funny every single time (please don't change anything or you'll just be another one of these boring blogs...I wish I could write like you!). Very good tips as well, at least for the future...currently in dispute with DPS as my previous tenants (found by an "amazing" local (!) agency) trashed my precious house, smoked and party there for a year and are now denying everything...yet some people say that I shouldn't complain because I am already lucky to be a landlord...anyway, if anyone has any advice re a deposit dispute, I am listening!

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William 15th February, 2017 @ 09:33

Poor you Delichieuse. It sounds like you did not make a detailed schedule of condition with loads of photographs agreed (And dated) with the tenants with both sides signing a copy before they took possession.At the end of the tenancy you agree the check out on site with the tenants comparing the check in report withe the exit report. Have 3rd party (or witness) to verify both docs. (Letting agent or inventory clerk).If problems, take more dated photos and send the lot to the DPS.They will take the matter up with the tenant take a decision on how much of the deposit you keep if not all of it. If Tenant does not respond within a couple of weeks the DPS send you a legal declaration to sign witnessed by a lawyer following which they will release the Deposit to you. The other point to bear in mind is a lot of tenants, especially the younger generation often do not appreciate the full implications of an adverse entry on their credit rating and no decent landlord references to use when they grow up. Worth mentioning this because one is not obliged to give a good reference .. one has more of a duty of care to other landlords to give a full and frank factual horror story. Sounds like a hassle but once you have a template use it should really help avoid the worst in most cases.

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David 15th February, 2017 @ 11:33

@Delichieuse

The DPS are quite reasonable if your tenancy is reasonable and conforms to OFT356

bit.ly/356terms

You will not get away with asking for more than wear and tear, they can dispute any request for redecoration, however, you might have a cleaning term. So if you put in that they have to steam clean the carpets once a year and they don't you might get £50 to £80 for that. If the walls are covered in spag bol then you can reasonably ask that is cleaned or they pay to get it done.

If you did not take photos it is your word against theirs but unless the place is a sty the balance of probabilities are that you at least cleaned it before letting, photos from ads help or a bill from decorator showing it was decorated a month before they came in.

I only hope your deposit was protected in time and with all correct paperwork as tenants like these are bound to catch you out if you did not do additional paperwork or deposit within 30 days.

I always advise to video properties on arrival and departure, the latter is almost as good as a reference.

If they smoked dope, your nets and walls turned green and you have a clause covering this you can take your actual costs to correct it.

I rented a place years ago that I painted myself, the colour had this weird green tinge so I took the paint back because it did not match the sample. In the end I found it was previous tenants smoking dope. I had to paint 3 coats of white emulsions as a barrier.

Go to any block of modern flats with nets, you will see the green nets effect, lazy bastards are too lazy to even stick the nets in the washing machine every 3 months.

@William you need to be VERY careful what you say, there is case law that anything you can't substantiate, can result in defamation case, these are usually heard in High Court and typical "pay to play" in that Court for a SIMPLE case is around £40k, costs are not always assured.

@Delichieuse

My advice is, bite the bullet and move on having learnt your lesson to be professional and do a proper inventory. That means listing every scratch and taking video and photos. Put them on a dedicated account on mega.nz so you have them when you need them. Even create a hidden video on YouTube as soon as they occupy, the date is stored and you just send them the URL of the video. Bear in mind that photos and videos have hidden meta data so do not try to fake it.

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David 15th February, 2017 @ 11:39

@Libby

My English teacher gave me this years ago:

FUCK is a magical word which, just by its sound can describe pain, pleasure, love, and hate. In language, "fuck" falls into many grammatical categories.

It can be used as a verb both transitive (John fucked Mary) and intransitive (Mary was fucked by John).

It can be an action verb (John really gives a fuck),

a passive verb (Mary really doesn't give a fuck),

and adverb (Mary is fucking interested in John),

or as a noun (Mary is a terrific fuck).

It can also be used as an interjection (Fuck! I'm late for my date with Mary).

It can even be used as a conjunction (Mary is easy, fuck she's also stupid).

As you can see there are very few words with the overall versatility of the word fuck.

Aside from its sexual connotations, this word can be used to describe many situations:

1. Greetings........."How the fuck are ya?"

2. Fraud..............."I got fucked by the car dealer."

3. Resignation......."Oh, fuck it!"

4. Trouble............."I guess I'm fucked now."

5. Aggression........."Fuck you!"

6. Disgust................"Fuck me."

7. Confusion............." What the fuck....?"

8. Displeasure............"Fucking shit man..."

9. Lost........................"Where the fuck are we?"

10.Disbelief..............."Unfuckingbelievable!"

11.Retaliation............."Up your fucking ass!"

12. Apathy................."Who really gives a fuck?"

13. Suspicion............."Who the fuck are you?"

14. Directions.............."Fuck off."

It can be maternal........"Motherfucker!"

It can be used to tell time..."It's four fucking twenty!"

It can be used as an anatomical description..."He's a fucking asshole."

Lastly, it has been used by many notable people throughout history:

"What the fuck was that?" -Mayor of Hiroshima

"That's not a real fucking gun." -John Lennon

"Where the fuck is all this water coming from?" -Captain of the Titanic

"Who the fuck is gonna find out?" -Richard Nixon

"Heads are gonna fucking roll." -Anne Boleyn

"Any fucking idiot could answer that." -Albert Einstein

"It does so fucking look like her!" -Picasso

"You want what on the fucking ceiling?" -Michaelangelo

"Fuck a duck." -Walt Disney

"Houston, we have a big fucking problem." - The crew of Apollo 13

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William 15th February, 2017 @ 11:56

@David
Very good point ref defamation and Court costs. The key is the word factual as established by signed check in with photos and the dated signed check out with photos.
Pictures / video speak eloquently without the need to write anything.In the same way as Landlord does not have to give a reference and declining to do so would set alarms bells with most landlords. If in doubt one should always pass anything one is not sure about by a tame lawyer.

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Libbi 15th February, 2017 @ 12:27

@David

I think I love you. I have just laughed out loud several times reading your post, I certainly wish I'd had such enlightened teachers; I'm definitely going to pinch these words. Thank you for brightening my day.

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The Landlord 15th February, 2017 @ 12:37

@Benji
Errr.. you may call me Judith, but...

Actually, yeah. That's fine. I was just trying to process the fact you were essentially calling me your wife, but then I realised I'm cool with that.

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The Landlord 15th February, 2017 @ 12:51

@Libbi
Thanks Lib's!!

Fine, I'll keep my potty-mouth activated for you :)

Thing is, I rarely ever swear "out loud" in real life, however, I am constantly swearing in my head, particularly when I'm dealing with a numpty. And since this is a "personal blog", an online diary essentially, I just write what's going through my mind- otherwise, what's the point?

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David 15th February, 2017 @ 13:40

@William

You are missing my point.

The problem is you may have all the evidence in the world, but if they find the right lawyer who specialises in such cases you have to pay to prove you were right.

Just move on (while you kick the living shit out of them in your fantasy or dreams).

One of the reasons you tell your kids to consider the legal profession is because generally they get paid whether they win or lose.

A friend of mine told me last week of spurious claim made against his insurance company when somebody hit him and was in the wrong. They made no claim on the vehicle, it was old so they knew they would lose it. Instead a year later they brought a medical claim, his insurance company wanted to settle.

He said NO WAY, he proved they had lies, brought a fake witness who he broke and got to change their story, he had photos of the things they said were ruined in pristine condition and had video to boot.

Even a big insurance company decided they would rather settle as it was cheaper.

You may be right in many things but it costs to prove it.

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David 15th February, 2017 @ 13:42

@Libbi

I knew there was one person out there for me, who would tolerate the hump on my back and the weird eye!

I am sure there are a lot more with social media and the way the younger generation are inventing new English, Def.

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David 15th February, 2017 @ 13:45

@Landlord

I know what you mean, my mum always said it was a failure of expression and people I work with can be very extreme one way or the other.

I find I invent new words, especially when driving, they do not cause offence but I know what I mean.

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David 15th February, 2017 @ 13:55

@Landlord

Re your blog post, Hallelujah and Amen to that.

Gut feeling is everything and of course it is "lost in translation" when there is an agent because they will not really "feel" it when they choose the wrong person.

Smoking IS a factor, it says you are WEAK, have no self-respect, are an addict, do not take advice, think you know better (go visit your local cancer ward for likeminded people). Most of all it says you make bad judgement decisions.

Facebook and social media, I had a lady trying to sell our firm professional services. She ticket, I mean ticked all the right boxes but something smelt funny. A quick look online found that she spend most of her uni days drunk and passed out in the corridors with her thong laden bare arse in the air. (No @Landlord you can't have her number!!) Not once or twice, but hundreds of times.

Again No Self Respect, why is this important? If they do not respect themselves they will not respect your property.

@Sheralyne Sorry we are way past that, you are ALL covered in tar and covered in feathers, the world has moved online and your business - such as it was - is over. Sure you can carry on for a bit, but I would not go signing any personal guarantees to company debt. I reckon you will migrate, think Uber.

@Anon & @Caz & @Chris (@landlord I hope you checked your analytics to see if they are all the same Mary Whitehouse) They are only words and used in the right proportion, I am sorry if this offends you, it is not for all people, so FUCK OFF!! Just kidding!! Seriously, there is a great video that helps you understand swearing and put it into perspective, highlight this and paste it into your browser address bar

youtu.be/-2ezqpFWnfU?t=214

@Landlord, do not change, I love you just the way you are (sic). If Anon (Keyboard Warrior) or Caz et al want you can make them editors of a duplicate blog at IamSensitive.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk they can edit every post and you can create a separate mail list for anyone that whinges like this!!

WTF is this "I bet you will not publish this" bullshit anyway, if you want the author to take note then a message to the site will suffice. I will tell you what it is, they want to get a social crowd to back them up, well fuck that, this is your blog and we do not need their off topic complaints polluting the thread. I mean if Anon actually had something else to say other that "Boo Hoo I do not like your swearing" (YAWN) then fair enough.

So back to the topic, a business associate of my father has many properties, he used to have pre-viewing interviews or rather say to tenants he did, but reduce the chaff on the phone. People call to arrange the viewing and he starts by asking them to tell them a bit about themselves, then say nothing, the silence makes them spill.

Then he would say "OK I would like to offer you a pre-viewing interview at your current property" he told me he did this more for effect than anything, just to see if they gasped, accepted it readily, flatly refused or had the intelligence to deflect and avoid.

To be honest I think you can weed out quite a few on the phone, these are difficult questions to ask if you want to test someone, it is not so much the replies but the way they answer them, how quickly, how awkwardly, what they add (always leave them to speak until they stop and then for a bit).

How much rent were you paying at your last place?
How much were your Gas and Electricity at your last place?
How did you pay these (Direct debit, Quarterly bill, Meter)?
Where were you born? (Make a note of this in case you ever need to trace them)
Where did you go to school? (see above)
Did you attend Uni, if so what did you study and grade?
What do you do (trainee banker, recruitment consultant, Costa)
How much is your annual salary? (calc last rent as % of annual salary)
Why are you leaving your previous property?
Tell me about your old Landlord/Agent what were they like?
How often do you vacuum your current flat?
How often do you clean windows of your current flat?
Did you ever pay to get the outside windows done?
Out of interest how much did you pay for that?
Could you do basic repairs if I paid for parts?
Do you have a partner?
Do you or have you ever taken recreational drugs?
What about just a bit of weed?
What about cigarettes?
What about your partner, do they partake any of above?
How many pints of beer or glasses of wine do you drink a week?
How long do you envisage your tenancy lasting?
What might change that?
Would you be prepared to authorise an extended criminal record disclosure and barring service checks.
Do you have any mental health issues?
Would you class yourself as a vulnerable tenant?

Remember most of these are just to rattle them, to see how they answer, sometimes you don’t want too smart an answer, mostly you want to determine their sense of decency and self-respect.

Gut feeling is everything, which is why it was an excellent post, actually it was f'ing amazing, (for the KB warrior).

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The Landlord 15th February, 2017 @ 14:46

@William
Thanks William @ comment #43, appreciate it :)

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The Landlord 15th February, 2017 @ 15:04

@David
Comment # 47 deserves a blog post of its own!! Personal favourites:

"Fuck a duck." -Walt Disney

lol @ "Where the fuck is all this water coming from?" -Captain of the Titanic

Interesting that you finally addressed the subject matter in your 6th comment ha!

"passed out in the corridors with her thong laden bare arse in the air!" Brilliant. Perhaps not the best candidate for a tenant, but a wife, now that's something else to seriously consider...

Interestingly, I previously wrote a blog post on an applicant that I referenced on Facebook, and all his pictures were of him partying! His profile picture was of him smoking with two women, which were clearly pissed off their tits, kissing one another. It looked a mess.

Would agents actually dig that deep (even though it's really not that deep)? Doubtful!

I think you frown upon smoking just as much as I do! Nastaaaaay habit.

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Borrie 15th February, 2017 @ 16:14

I've always, perhaps misguidedly, used high st agents and apart from one or two crap situations over 17 years, I've mostly been lucky I guess. One thing that has been noticeable over the last couple of years is that where an agent (for one particular flat) has offered the "not so great" tenant up with a 6 months up front payment - along with the usual deposit.

One such came and went with absolutely no problems at all (apart from being a bit of a PITA from time to time) and the other one's first proper monthly payment is due in a couple of weeks. We shall see.

I just wondered whether location was the real influencing factor here.... e.g. nicer area = nicer potential tenants?

I've yet to try "online" agents as being abroad a lot, managing viewings can be difficult to coordinate.

What's anyone's thoughts or experiences?

Good luck y'all...

B

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Delichieuse 15th February, 2017 @ 20:45

@William @David
Thank you very much for your comments, I never thought of the videos and the youtube post when they move in, really good one, thank you!
I had the check in/check out reports done by an external company, have loads of pictures as well but these tenants have been lying all the time and making up stories and invoices (for example they said someone broke into the property and broke the fence when the estate agent told me they had locked themselves out and he saw them going over the fence. They reported the "break in" to the Police and according to them they shouldn't be liable because they think the property wasn't secure enough and they felt distressed...). I guess I am just worried whether the evidences will actually be checked by DPS and what they really look at to make their final decision.

Back to the subject, I did my own viewings this year and followed my guts feeling... I found the perfect tenants (so far) so I couldn't agree more with this post! Thank you again for all these great tips!

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The Landlord 15th February, 2017 @ 20:54

@Delichieuse
Thank you!! :)

I didn't reply to your previous comment because you seemed to be in good hands with the other chaps.

Awesome to hear that you did alone this year, and the fact you did it well!

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Katie 16th February, 2017 @ 07:53

Hi Landlord. I wanted to share my experiences which made me go down the letting agency route.
I advertised a property via my social media network locally.my lovely well kept, well priced house had so much interest in could say it went viral! I made it clear that I would be doing all the same checks an agency would do and doing the viewings myself. Once I had 12 couples lined up to view it put all other enquiries on hold. So on the Saturday I waited for over 2 hours and only one couple actually turned up - they were not suitable (skanky and weird). The next weekend I arranged 30 more viewings. Only 3 couples showed up. Of those one couple were OK so I took details and they fell at the very first credit check hurdle. At this point I decided my time was too precious and I contacted a local agent. I have always hated the fact that they charge tenants so much but I was now thinking that their fees are off putting to time wasters so they serve a purpose. I negotiated them down to 200 quid including vat, and for that they advertised, handled enquiries, accompanied viewings, managed change of utilities, did inventory, contract, credit checked, referenced, employer checked, and I was so pleased that I used them again and I will do in the future too.

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The Landlord 16th February, 2017 @ 10:31

@Katie
Hiya.

I hear you loud and clear. And I totally agree, time is precious, and people don't value it enough. However, what you experienced seems excessive time-wasting. My only thought is that perhaps you marketed the property in the wrong way, "social media network"

I'm only speculating, because I don't know the finer details of where and how your property was marketed, but I'm assuming places like Facebook. I can't imagine social networks are the most effective or reliable means of generating leads. I'm sure if you used an online agent like OpenRent (I'm only mentioning them because I chose to use them this time round), and got your property on Rightmove/Zoopla, you would have received much better quality leads. OpenRent specifically allows you to enable an "advanced screening" filter, so all applicants have to answer certain questions (beyond name, email and contact number) before the enquiry get relayed to you. I'm sure that massively helps separating the wheat from the chaff! All my applicants turned up.

In any case, you found tenants and received a service you were pleased with, so that's all that really matters ultimately :)

Thanks for sharing, always interesting to hear different experiences!

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Chris 16th February, 2017 @ 10:39

Agree with using Open Rent, or similar ( not your Gumtree as they seem to generate poor quality enquiries from what a lot of people have said. )
A 'Telephone interview' is a good idea for enquiries received asking for a viewing.
If I don't think the potential tenant enquiring is worth my time arranging a viewing, I'll say " I'm arranging a collective viewing and will get back to them with a time and date " - which I don't.
For those enquiries that do sound of interest, I will set up viewing times back to back, every 30 minutes, so for no-shows, my travel time isn't wasted.

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The Landlord 16th February, 2017 @ 11:11

@Chris
Good point, definitely agree with a telephone interview. Talking to an applicant before hand will let you know straight away if you even want them to apply!

Yeah, I think Gumtree does generate a lot of poor quality leads, but to be fair, they do generate a large volume. The "advanced screening" option helped massively when it came to Gumtree leads!

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The Landlord 16th February, 2017 @ 11:20

@Borrie
I'm always wary of large upfront fees, because it's usually a ploy to distract from something sinister. There isn't really a good reason to pay so much upfront unless you're struggling to find a landlord willing to accept you, and there's probably a reason for that! 'Cannabis farmers' are notorious for paying large amounts upfront, so they're left alone to farm! Scary!

But as you said, the tenant you were offered was "not so great"

If you're out of the country a lot, it may not make practical sense to do it yourself- and that's when a letting agent is very useful. But if you have a vacancy coming up while you're in the country, you could give the whole online thing a spin...

For you, I guess it boils down to timing, which is fair.

"nicer area = nicer potential tenants" - generally, I'd say that's true. But it doesn't make much difference to me, because I'd *still* be stringent with my referencing despite location.

Thank you, and good luck to you, too :)

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David 16th February, 2017 @ 19:23

@Katie

Simple answer to noshows, they paypal you £50 cancelation refundable on arrival.

Are you really an Agent in disguise?

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Katie 17th February, 2017 @ 08:17

Haha - no I'm not an agent.I've been a landlord since 2001. My day job is a recruitment consultant so I pretty much interview people constantly- I had telephone 'interviewed' all my viewers prior to offering the viewing. And even though i use an agent now, i still insist on meeting prospective tenants cos my own instinct is so valuable to me. I agree with @Landlord and suspect that social network marketing was the error - my ad was going to passive home hunters as opposed to active ones, so their interest wasn't proven from the start. However it did find me a fabulous tenant for another property so has been successful in the past.

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John 21st February, 2017 @ 09:23

Absolutely agree spot on.

Meeting tenants face to face is very important. I've had many trusted friends recommend people they know who are looking for accommodation only to find that these people almost 100% will have some form of severe personality disorder and will make your life hell. Trust noone else!

My advice is always advertise yourself and filter the Replies. Don't make appointments but tell everyone, even put in the advertisenent, to turn up to an open viewing. Anyone serious will make it though allow for people to get from work until making your mind up otherwise you penalise those working in place of the bone idle. I always finish the open viewing then see who's making me a firm offer and decide from them if a decent tenant exists. Half the enquiries you get won't come so if you've booked an appointment then you'll be twiddling your thumbs for half the time. If they arrive en masse let them look around and just watch the reactions to see who cares or not and who is evidently interested. Overeagerness is unattractive. As are the people who want to offer more money just to be flash or are desperate and back track on their offer or expect a platinum service for it . Body language, politeness, deference, questions, intuition are all important. Plus who on paper is going to cause you less work and hassle. I always insist on a rent advance of £200 which is only refundable if I change my mind and is deductible from the first month's rent because unbelievably people agree to move in and don't show up so this filters out those guys.

Being flexible is very important if you've found the tenant you want, there will always be an issue to sort out. The perfect tenant may for example may not have the deposit for you until they get it back from their old place, and if they are ideal elsewhere then it pays to wait and those guys normally pay up. If they're total arses and you didn't spot their white supremacist tenancies then flexing the rules never works. If they treat you like their servant on a viewing it's only going to get worse as the contract comes into force.

Good tips re Facebook and criminal records bureau. For basic referencing I've always used Lettingref. It manages the detail and the emailing and processing of referencing with a credit check for a tenner plus you can store documents with the tenants file.

One thing to add about agents, I used to use an agency to find tenants and move them in. They would collect the first month's rent and deposit, deduct their fees and register the deposit and then send me the difference. I took over until the tenants moved out and the agency managed the handover and looked for new. Until one time the agency goes "bust" (ie crook boss runs off with hundreds of thousands of pounds rent unpaid to landlords) and I discover my sudden liability of £2,400 of deposits unprotected and now irretrievable from both the agency or the deposit scheme as noone bothers to write to the landlords at their home address to troll then they only have three months to lodge a claim. A landlord friend lost £6k when an intermediary agency employed by the agency he had originally employed went bust, without the original one paying him a penny. So the lesson is do it all yourself.

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Tom 21st February, 2017 @ 11:48

I've decided to find my own tenants using openrent. The amount of enquiries has staggered me, the quality of some of them has not - not openrent's fault, just the stupidity of the people who apply. A who's who of human crazy. Some of these people are a total waste of my time, and the planets oxygen. However, I've got to say, I've found some very good potential tenants and I've got some stories to tell my friends. Win win, saved some dosh. Thanks MR Landlord.

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David 21st February, 2017 @ 12:46

@John

One thing Landlords should be aware of when using agents is how they use the deposits as cashflow, this should not be allowed, Lawyers have client accounts for a reason, it should be the same for agents.

So here is how the scam and yes I am going to call it a scam because I have seen it too many times.

Agent takes deposit, tells Landlord it is protected in authorised scheme (if they even get that done on time - one did it at 45 days and said "it is ok, what matters is that it is protected, we sent them a letter saying we accepted the admitting liability and will hold them liable for any sanctions).

Agent does protect deposit but in an insurance backed scheme.

Agent keeps deposit in main back account and uses it as a cash flow fund, paying staff, rent on that fancy office, etc.

Agent starts to have cashflow issues, people make complaints and the Deposit Company kicks them to the kerb.

AT THIS POINT THE LANDLORD BECOMES LIABLE BECAUSE THE DEPOSIT IS NO LONGER PROTECTED.

Agent realises the end is nigh, forms a new company with similar trading name, spells directors name slightly differently on co house reg for new co or uses nominee Directors.

Old company carries on trading as long as possible, new company registers with Deposit company and new lettings now go through new company.

Debts are run up to old company, it may move address on paper, it goes bust and new company buys goodwill from administrator. Lease of office is taken over, sometimes staff not even aware because company uses a trading name.

I have had occasion to trace agent MD home address for client and have got them to cough up but others not so lucky.

@John, others on here have ended up paying over £10,000 because agent gave bad advice on deposit protection.

My suggestion is that Landlords do everything themselves, but in the event they use an agent, they protect the deposit themselves and in a custodial scheme not an insurance scheme.

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