WTF Is Up With All These Dogshit Tenancy Enquiries I’m Receiving?

YES, I do kiss my mother with that mouth! xo

So, ‘Plan A’ was to release a blog post covering the whole ‘letting agents being banned from charging tenants an admin fee’ debacle, which many of you will already be familiar with, but that JUST got squashed like a teen’s zit before prom. I had a proper little spectacle prepared as well.

If you’re not familar with what caused a bunch of disgruntled and blood-hungry letting agents to band together with pitchforks, don’t worry about missing out, because it’s in the coming. In fact, I’ve written a large portion of it already and I was so freaking close to finishing and publishing, but then I got spectacularly derailed by a barrage of comically dog-shit tenant enquiries I’ve received during my current tenant-finding mission, and I simply couldn’t contain my excitement. Obviously, the dogshit enquiries took presidency over the more serious issue concerning the fall of the heinous ‘admin fees’, which letting agents have been inflicting on tenants and getting away with for generations. It wasn’t even a content. So, onto ‘Plan B’…

I’m currently looking for tenants

No doubt about it, it’s seasonally the WORST time of the year to go fishing around for tenants. There literally couldn’t be a more ineffective window of opportunity to do it.

Who even entertains the idea of relocating so close to Christmas and New Years, other than cannabis farmers, psychopaths and individuals with silly and undesirable circumstances? I imagine the market at this time of year is swamped with DSS tenants (because let’s face it, those poor schmucks are in the market all year round) and victims of domestic issues (which means they’re unstable as fuck), looking for a quick and unexpected escape. Not exactly a promising pool of prospectives.

Unfortunately, I’ve been dealt with a very weak hand, which means I’m going to have to face what’s out there.

It’s definitely my tenant’s fault. He couldn’t keep his cheesy little pecker firmly in his crusty little pants for a couple more months, consequently he’s on the verge of becoming a proud father, so he’ll soon be checking-out of my gaff to make claim over land with more square-footage. Selfish prick.

It’s always tough losing a valued tenant. I think I’m still in the denial phase; when he broke the news to me I side-stepped the congratulations, and instead I just leaped into a raging plea, fuelled with desperation and passion:

HOW MUCH SPACE DOES A NEWBORN ACTUALLY REQUIRE? THEY’RE LITERALLY LIKE JACKET-POTATOES! YOU CAN STORE HIM IN THE AIRING CUPBOARD FOR AT LEAST 2 YEARS!! YOU’RE GOING TO SPOIL THE SNOTTY LITTLE BRAT WITH TOO MUCH SPACE!! JUST STAY WITH ME!! PLEASE!!!

With great regret, my plea landed on deaf ears. Apparently his unborn child is more precious than our relationship, and that was perfectly demonstrated last month, when my awesome tenant of 3 years handed me the devastating notice of termination.

Heart-broken.

So here I am today, miserably looking for tenants at the ass-end of the letting season.

Fuck my life!

Marketing & Lead generation

Needless to say, I handed over the responsibility of marketing my rental to an online letting agent so I could get my property thrown onto the likes of Rightmove and Zoopla for maximum exposure.

I’ve successfully used and recommended the majority of the most reputable online agents already, and this time I decided to use the awesome OpenRent once again, because I wanted to give their 5 day free trial offer a spin- a shiny and quite remarkable offer that was introduced after I previously used them.

I’ll probably write-up a proper review on OpenRent’s free trial offer after I’ve finished using their service. I will say one thing now, though, which is that I’ve been thoroughly impressed with their service so far. But going forward, I want us to revel in the enquiries I’ve received so far (which of course, has no negative reflection on OpenRent’s service, because I would have received the enquiries regardless).

The Tenant Enquiries I’ve received so far

WTF is this shizzle?

So before I get into it, let me lay down some of the relevant specifics regarding the tenancy that is up for grabs, all of which is clearly stipulated in my adverts:

  • It’s available from the 27th January, 2017
  • No DSS
  • No pets
  • Looking for long-term tenants, but will only be offering an initial 6 month fixed term
  • Applicant must be employed with a steady job
  • There are tenants currently in situ, so viewings will need to work around their schedule

Pretty bog-standard, right?

My property has been on the market for just under 2 days at this point, and I’ve received the following 6 horrendously pitiful enquiries:

Enquiry 1

Telephone enquiry:

Hi, I’m interested in your property, it looks really nice. Can I arrange a viewing with my girlfriend?

Yeah, sure. I’m taking viewings next Monday and Friday evening, when would be most convenient for you?

Next Wednesday would be good. BTW, my girlfriend and I would like the property before Christmas because my parents want us out of their house, is it possible to make the property vacant by then?

Aye?

I couldn’t work out if this numpty wanted me to kick out my current tenants 2 weeks before Christmas, or whether he didn’t read the terms of the tenancy. And then, I couldn’t work out which scenario would be worse. Either way, it’s not very reassuring that his own flesh and blood wants him shipped out before Christmas. That’s some cold shit right there. He must be a proper unbearable wally or something.

Sadly, this was probably the best enquiry out of a stinking bucket of turd. So let’s move onto the good stuff…

Enquiry 2

Telephone enquiry:

Hi, I’m actually not the tenant. I’m a landlord looking for a place for my tenants. I need my property back, so I’m trying to help them find a new home. They don’t speak English and they’re on housing benefit. I’m prepared to give them a good reference if that helps.

What the fuckity-fuck? They literally sound like the worst tenants on the planet, and the landlord sounds mentally impaired for even trying to execute this manoeuvre. GOOD LUCK!

Also, offering a reference for the tenants you’re trying to get shot of to sweeten the deal is… well, bat-shit crazy!

Fellow landlord to fellow landlord, are you snorting something you shouldn’t be?

There’s probably more to this situation than meets the eye, it sounds particularly toxic. I’d be scared to even scratch away at the surface- the Lord only knows what I’ll catch.

Enquiry 3

Email Enquiry:

do you accept dss and accept pets as i am currently in a situation due to anti social behaviour from my neighbour and hate crime against them i am having to move from my council property

I stand corrected. This person IS the worst tenant on the planet.

Truly terrible situation she’s in (and I mean that, genuinely), but… Holy Moly, what a bottom-of-the-barrel sales pitch! She pretty much ticks every box for what NOT to write in an application.

I do admire her honesty, though- certainly makes my life easier.

Enquiry 4

Telephone Enquiry:

*Queue screaming baby in the background*

Hi. I’d like to view your property. 10am today would be good with me, because I’m near the property.

*Landlord checks Rolex*

So, you mean, in an hour? No, sorry, I can’t do that. I’m taking viewings next Monday and Friday (as stated in the advert), are any of those days suitable?

*Crying baby gets significantly louder*

Sorry, can you repeat, I CAN’T HEAR YOU? I’M FREE AT 10AM!

Not surprising really, because YOU decided to call ME while your baby was shitting his pants and having a tantrum.

I will call you back in a bit.

Brilliant, can’t wait.

I’ve never understand why some parents insist on making phone calls while their baby is having a hissy-fit. Weird.

Enquiry 5

Voice message Enquiry:

Hi. I’m interested in your property. I would like to rent the property for 4 weeks. Can you please call me back…

*Slaps forehead*

4 weeks? WTF is this shit?

I just double-checked my advert, and there is definitely no indication of it being a “Holiday-let” So this enquiry is just plain weird. What made the voice message particularly deceptive is the fact that the woman sounded very well-spoken. I’d expect better from a voice like that.

In any case, she couldn’t pay me enough to allow that shit-train to go ahead; I’m not going to go through the hassle of doing an inventory, securing the deposit, and serving all the required documents for a puny 4 week tenancy. Hassle aside, it’s also a potential legal disaster, because the shortest duration a tenancy can legally be is for 6 months, despite what is agreed upon or written in the tenancy agreement. She’d have me over a barrel from day one.

ON YOUR BIKE, LADY! I’m done with your Tom-foolery.

Enquiry 6

Voice message Enquiry (in muffled voice):

Hi, I’m currently working part-time and in temporary accommodation. I’m interested in your property. I will be getting some help from housing benefit… but I’m prepared… I mean, the council are prepared to pay more err..hmmm… or make some kind of deal/arrangement. I will be going into full-time employment soon, so it won’t be for too long.. hmmm….. my contact number is…. *I hear keyboard tapping noises*….*Phone-line drops*

Err… Okie Dokie!

What isn’t wrong with that enquiry, besides from the fact she didn’t manage to provide a phone number (which was probably down to Karma rewarding me for a good deed)?

“I will be going onto full-time employment soon, so it won’t be for too long”… clearly, my advert must give a clear, but inaccurate, indication of me having recently fallen off a turnip truck. The ol’ “I’ll be getting a 100k salary + bonuses job soon” line will always be a classic. Granted, I probably would have fallen for it if I was… 4yrs old.

So they’re all the enquiries I’ve received so far. 6/6 total bullshit confirmed. What the hell is going on?

Quality of tenant VS quality of property

So straight off the bat I want to dismiss the speculation that might be rattling around in that melon of yours.

I know what you’re thinking! You’re thinking that if I’m receiving such terrible enquiries I must be trying to flog a piece of steaming shit. While that logic is generally sound, I refuse to get dismounted from my high-horse on those grounds in my particular case, because it’s definitely not true.

The property is modern, neat and well-presented, and it’s fitted with a new kitchen. It’s located in a very popular part of town, which is notoriously desirable among renters, particularly working professionals commuting into London. I’ve compared it to similar properties available for let in the same area, and mine is definitely one of the better examples. It’s a 2 bedroom mid-terrace, which has a competitive asking price of £1,000PCM (so it ain’t cheap).

My point is, the beyond-stupid enquiries I’ve received so far are not reflective of what I’m trying to sell. That’s why I’m compelled to believe that I’m part of a sick and twisted joke. One can only pray!

All applicants seemed nice enough… but totally absurd.

I’ve been harsh. I know.

BUT WHAT THE HELL, that’s a real bad run of enquiries, even if it is still only early days. After the first 4 enquiries rolled in they just started becoming funny. If I don’t laugh, I’ll stab my eyes with a fork, just to make it all go away. None of the applicants were even marginally enticing, they were all just comically bad.

You know what I found most frustrating? Actually, “frustrating” isn’t the right adjective, “absurd” would be more accurate. It was the apparent and total lack of attention paid to my advert; every nut-job that applied seems to have ignored my advert description/requirements. Is the current market just saturated by people that can’t or refuse to read? Worrying!

I have no qualms with chancers; I expected pet-owners and DSS tenants to apply with a “I’m the perfect tenant” sales-pitch (they ALWAYS do), trying to worm their way into a tenancy. But not one of them said, “I know you said you don’t accept [insert something undesirable], BUT…”, instead they just point-blank ignored the fact they didn’t meet the criteria.

You know what? I wonder if they even bothered to read the advert description. It’s almost like every applicant didn’t look beyond the pretty pictures, like a 6yr old flicking through a comic book.

At best, that highlights incompetence, and at worst, utter rudeness. I don’t want to deal with incompetence, not from a tenant anyways. I do sympathise with people in unfortunate situations, and I genuinely want to help people, but when people approach a situation with such blatant carelessness, it’s extremely repelling.

In conclusion, I’m either the butt of someone’s very cruel and ugly joke, or it MUST be the time of year that’s responsible for the influx of poor quality enquiries. Maybe my initial assumption isn’t all that far-fetched- maybe there’s genuinely a very limited amount of sane applicants roaming around during this time of year. It makes sense.

But I must say, every applicant I spoke to, or at least heard over voice messages, seemed perfectly reasonable and pleasant, albeit stupid and dismissive of the tenancy details/criteria. Either way, I was courteous and polite with everyone I spoke to (as always), but obviously the voices swirling around in my mind were opposing and in shear disbelief.

Dealing with poor enquiries

Dealing with poor and unsuitable tenancy enquiries is part of the job, especially during the current climate, where there’s a major financial and housing crisis. There are much more “desperate” people looking for housing compared to those in a more fortunate position. So when you’re marketing a low-to-mid tier property, you’re most likely always going to get inundated with weak enquiries above anything else. You can’t blame people for trying during these desperate times.

However, as a landlord, whether you’re handling the enquiries yourself, or relying on hired help, I know how important it is to remain focused on finding the best tenants. That can mean refraining from surrendering to desperation and going against better judgement. So my festive word of advice: Stay strong. Always. Oh, and avoid vacancies during this time of year like the plague.

How would high-street letting agents deal with these BS enquiries?

Throughout this eye-opening and painful experience, I’ve been digging deep- really fucking deep- for a silver lining. And I found one.

Know what it is? I’m just glad I’m the mug processing these BS enquiries, and not an agent.

From my experience, most letting agents (definitely not all, especially the agents that read my blog) would have taken a punt on a few of those enquiries just so they can show the landlord his/her money is being ‘worked’, despite how unqualified the applicant. I’m not blaming the agents, because landlords can be unreasonable, so the agents are screwed either way. If they don’t process some of the applicants it won’t be long before the landlord starts raising questions and knocking furniture over. Landlords expect viewings for the price they’re paying high-street agents. Lots of viewings. But the thing is, as soon as you let an unsuitable applicant climb over the first barrier, the chances of ending up with an unsuitable tenant increases.

We also have to bear in mind that agents work on commission and they need to make a living like everyone else, and that’s a difficult thing to do during the dry season. I’ve fallen victim to that hunger and desperation before; I’ve had sleeze-ball agents try and push through applicants that I wouldn’t even trust in my garden shed. I have a feeling a lot of shit gets pushed through the doors during this time of year.

So, yes. All-in-all this is my Christmas, and it’s cold so far, despite the fact we’re experiencing one of the warmest Decembers on record. So cold.

On that note, spill the beans- tell me about your most memorable bullshit enquiry, whether you’re an agent or a landlord. I’m sure there are some corkers waiting to be shared!

xoxo

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100 Comments- Join The Conversation...

Showing 50 - 100 comments (out of 100)
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 16th December, 2016 @ 11:03

@Kerry M
Stay strong!

As said in a previous comment, I also think it has to do with the condition of the current economy. There are much more "desperate" people looking for housing, than those in a more fortunate position. So when you're marketing a low to mid tier property, you're most likely always going to get inundated with more weak enquiries.

I've received 8 enquiries now: 6 of them (the one's above) were all useless, but I've received 2 decent ones since. So my stats are pretty in line with yours :)

We can do this!!

50
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 16th December, 2016 @ 11:10

@Kath C
100% agreed.

I can't say it enough: it's always worth taking that initial hit of a longer void period if the end result is the ideal tenant.

While it might not be good for the pockets in the short-term, in the mid-to-long term it's definitely good/better business!

Too many landlords, particularly new landlords, sacrifice "quality" for shorter voids. From my experience, that's a false economy.

51
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 16th December, 2016 @ 11:11

@steve
Haha, if anything, this experience has given me a newfound respect for agents, because I can only imagine how many awful enquiries they have to sift through on a daily basis! And those walk-ins, while they make good conversation, they must quickly become soul-destroying!

52
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 16th December, 2016 @ 11:14

@alan
lol @ smash ass pig

I thought I'd heard it all!

53
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 16th December, 2016 @ 11:17

@Paul Barrett
Yeah, I hear ya.

But my property is genuinely a mid-tier property in a good location. But since the economy is so bad, and the housing supply is so insufficient, I think the lower quality applicants are now seeping into the mid-tier sector. Anyone and everyone is just trying out of desperation.

54
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 16th December, 2016 @ 11:23

@Lindsay
LOL @ guinea pigs in the corner! Bet they would have made the house smell lovely.

Their big mouths was a Godsent.

Pleased to hear it eventually worked out for you.

Fortunately I've had plenty of experience kissing frogs/toads/beasts :|

55
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 16th December, 2016 @ 11:28

@Catherine,
We're in this together! We can do this!

"Landlord with DSS" is right, 10 days notice *probably* goes against your statutory rights.

If your tenant was paying rent monthly, then they should have given you at least one month's notice.

So you're probably entitled to use the deposit to cover some of the rent + expenses to find replacements!

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Jenny 16th December, 2016 @ 12:45

Yes, but soon you won't be able to charge any admin fees etc

57
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Gordon Marks 16th December, 2016 @ 12:48

Re Gordon Marks...Council Tax.

You may have misunderstood.

The tenant, has informed the local council. That his Main Residence was not that on which he should have paid rent. INstead, he informed the Council that his main residence was eleswhere.......even though I have photos ( dated) of his personal items in the property on the day he actual moved out. The Council state that there was now, no AST in place, just a rolling contract. Under Section 6 of the local tax . The owner is fully liable for the Council Tax. UNLESS I can PROVE otherwise....photos, payment of bills, apparently is Not Prove.....

58
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 16th December, 2016 @ 12:50

@Jenny
That applies to agents (not *me*)... plus, what's the relevance of your point? :S

As a landlord, I've never charged tenants admin fees in my life.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 16th December, 2016 @ 12:53

@Gordon Marks
Ahhh I'm with you now! I was proper confused before, I knew something didn't sound right.

What a little snot-weasel (the tenant)!!!

Do you know what the council will accept as proof?

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Gordon Marks 16th December, 2016 @ 16:58

Council and what is excepable prove.....
No idea what is exceptable .........I have written to the tenant at his latest address saying PAy me what you rightly owe within 14 days or I will issue a small claims court action.
I gave alsocontacted SHELTER... as this could cause other landlords to kick out any tenant refusing to sign a new AST agreement..causing an increase on tenants looking to Shelter and councils for new accommodation.
I have also hooked to see my MP ( who happens to be the Cheif Whip in the Cabinet) for his concidered opinion.......I will keep this page informed

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Stella 16th December, 2016 @ 17:03

I love reading your comments, it helps a lot, thank you. Hope you find some great tenants soon!!

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David 16th December, 2016 @ 18:03

@Landlord with DSS & @Catherine

A word of notice, that is bullshit.

First off, regardless of what your tenancy agreement says, if they said that then they are unfair contract terms.

Guidance OFT365 says you may only charge you actual costs to get a new tenant, including interest charges at only 4% above base rate.

http://bit.ly/356terms

Of COURSE they are NOT liable for Energy or Council Tax if they have left the property.

Honestly giving such bad advice to newbies is really foolish.

**BULLSHIT ALERT **BULLSHIT ALERT **BULLSHIT ALERT **BULLSHIT

"If they only gave you 10 days notice then you can probably withhold part/all of the deposit (so long as you are using a deposit protection service)

The tenants need to give you one months notice, so in your case they are still liable for the rent , council tax, energy bills etc until their notice period is up."

**BULLSHIT ALERT **BULLSHIT ALERT **BULLSHIT ALERT **BULLSHIT

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 16th December, 2016 @ 18:11

@David
AND DAVID, DO YOU KISS YOUR MOTHER WITH THAT MOUTH? Yikes!

For the record, I've successfully claimed rent payment up until replacement tenant's were found + expenses to find new tenants, after a tenant gave me 7 days notice.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 16th December, 2016 @ 18:12

@Gordon Marks
Ok, cool, please let me know how it pans out. Good luck :)

@Stella
Thank you, very much appreciated as always!

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Gordon Marks 16th December, 2016 @ 18:18

Just have email from the press office at SHELTER.....passing my "issue" onto Shelter's
Policy makers department.....I will keep you updated...
Seasons Greetings to all.

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Landlord with DSS! 16th December, 2016 @ 19:03

@david

Go ahead and try it yourself.

You sign a contract to rent Someone's house. If you walk out within the 12 months period. You are liable for All costs ( rent, heating, council tax etc) until the landlord has re-rented the property AT THE SAME RENT as you agreed.

I too, also sued a tenant who walked out after only 1 month in the house.

I got the full £1500 deposit + 2 1/2 months rent as compensation and damage to carpets from their dog until I re rented the house.

Tenant had a lawyer, I didn't. They settled before court.

Outside the 12 month contract it's a rolling month notice.

To quote "the Apprentice" harsh but fair 😀

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Nige 16th December, 2016 @ 19:32

@Landlord

Oh I love stories like this !!
I took back a property and it was jaded and needed a good clean.
Being stupid..again !! I was immediately approached by a couple with 4 kids living with parents in a 2 bed flat. They had been told by a neighbour that it might be available.

Desperate !! Can't stand living in cramped conditions etc.Boo hoo Boo hoo..sob sob sob.

As I intended to sell in the nearish future I offered it to them ''as is'' at a reduced rent of 50 quid a month less than the LHA allowance (in the days when they could keep the difference).

Like yourself I put all the cards on the table and said that this was a short let and could be a route to getting another property.
i.e. I evict and then they would get more priority on the housing ladder.

After much humming and grunting the male eventually said it wasn't for them so I just said OK and ended the viewing.

As they left the female started a fight beating the guy up and calling him all the names under the sun and hitting him because he had turned down the offer. All we heard was that the property could be cleaned very quickly. Plus lots of words where I covered childrens ears.

One week later and a dose of elbow grease and the waving of a paint roller it was let at 200 a month MORE than the LHA allowance.

ONE YEAR later they still hadn't managed to secure another property !! Lucky escape for me and more rental.

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nets 16th December, 2016 @ 23:02

Just a quick one. If anyone has a tenant on a AST(assured shorthold tenancy) and it expires with no further signed tenancy. You do still have a active tenancy agreement. You have a statutory periodic tenancy. Which means all terms and conditions remain the same. Only difference is that you do not have a date for the expiry. So tenants can give a months notice from any date and Landlords can give two months notice from any date.

Also be aware that technically a AST has an end date and the tenants can give back the keys(without notice) on that date. The law is a minefield

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David 16th December, 2016 @ 23:33

@Landlord @Landlord with DSS!

Just because you had ignorant tenants and got away with it does not mean you can give that as advice.

Would you evict a tenant and throw their stuff on the street?

No because you know you would get slapped, it is the same, thing.

You want to try it then good luck to you but all you need is one informed tenant and you will see.

You are grown ups and you all have war stories which is fine, just do not give it as advice.

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David 16th December, 2016 @ 23:44

@Nets

No not quite, as many a Landlord here will testify, the AST terminates where it ends. A Statutory Periodic Tenancy is a tenancy created by statute when you stay in a property at the end. The terms of the new tenancy are the same as the old if the new tenancy is substantially the same.

The real minefield is the deposit protection, depending on year of AST and SPT you could find yourself in hot water if you did not protect the deposit and issue prescribed information for the newly created tenancy.

For some tenancy agreements you do not have to re-protect the deposit but you must issue the latest "how to rent doc" and it is a good idea to give PI with new tenancy dates just in case (depends on age of tenancy).

Strictly speaking a tenancy agreement may specify a notice period but it is near impossible to enforce and as I said above you can only claim your actual costs.

When the tenancy becomes SPT the one month two month notice for tenants and landlords respectively applies.

Yep the law is a minefield!

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Landlord with DSS! 17th December, 2016 @ 00:08

Yes David,

You are also handing out advice that tenants can sign AST contracts and simply walk away with no consequences. So far it's clear you are wrong.

The contracts are there to, hopefully, protect all parties. Landlords have to give notice, tenants have to give notice. Consequences if you don't.

Yes, after 30 yrs of renting out flats and houses I have some war stories. Lots of good tenants but also some real arseholes who have zero respect for the homes that they rent.

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David 17th December, 2016 @ 00:19

@Landlord with DSS!

I will continue to give legal advice to Landlords and Tenants alike.

See you in Court!

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David 17th December, 2016 @ 00:25

@Landlord with DSS!

You are right that there are some arseholes both Tenants and Landlords, it takes all sorts.

When it comes to tenants, the way I see it there are some people who simply do not care about anything.

It is not just a lack of respect, (both of self and others), but a disdain for everything.

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Jenny 17th December, 2016 @ 09:14

I still maintain the real issue is so many landlords have flooded the market with buy to let's, there is a massive oversupply, therefore, poor quality tenants who can be fussy on Decor etc. Some dss rental properties have to be in Tip top condition before they will let. Why bother ? There's easier ways to make money, ive slowly started getting out of domestic buy to let as also legislation will carry on hitting private landlords as beaurrocracy gets worse. With what's left of my domestic portfolio, whenever they come up for let, I'm always faced with poor quality candidates '

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tim 17th December, 2016 @ 10:06

Jenny- I agree with your comments, the writing is in the wall for landlords. There is a perception in the media that "easy money" has been made by landlords sitting back and reaping the rewards of property inflation. The government sees the capital growth as an easy target - and don't be surprised to see a special tax on landlords selling buy-to-lets, over and above capital gains. Get out of that trap! The chancellor hinted that incorporated holdinds of buy to let's will also have a special form of tax ( but don't worry big business, there will be an exemption for the city and pension funds).
I digress. In Liverpool the bottom end of the market has been kept healthy with an influx EU migrants who strive for a better life.
Choosing tenants has to be about intuition too. Like food, if it smells bad and you eat it you only have yourself to blame. If something seems wrong it is wrong.
I took on a Hungarian couple with a child. The son was respectful and well mannered; could bad parents really have such a good kid? I took them on without any background checks ( except id). Best tenants ever. Intuition paid off.
I won't be taking any more DSS from now on.

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Nige 17th December, 2016 @ 10:08

@Jenny
The real problem is lack of responsibility probably fueled by a must have culture. We have a generation (s) where it is a right to have anything you wish i.e. house, car, phone, holiday, without having put the effort into creating.
If you can't afford it now then a small rectangular piece of plastic will pay for it.
I have no doubt that countless landlords will be short on their rent this Xmas as they spend thousands on plastic junk for their kids. I know that I suffered this and when I told a tenant that it wasn;t 500 rent they owed me it was a 100,000 pound house that they owed me . Yes they had two cars and a caravan !!!!
If the government policy was '' if you damaged the last house and got evicted then you do no get another'', then we might allocate social housing to those who need it , NOT DEMAND IT.

I shed no tears for those tenants who misused my properties and now find themselves unable to get another property.

Funnily enough there is no database set up to warn landlords of problem tenants. (I believe the USA has one). There are ways however that a tenant can find out whether a landlord is good, fair etc. Its all one sided.

All a landlord really wants to do is run a business where everyone respects the property and terms and conditions of the tenancy. Instead landlords are faced with having to obtain a law degree to understand the rules, regulations and crap thrown at us.

Only a housing crisis brings this home to the tenants who abuse the system and they suddenly find that the nice house that they trashed was preferable to emergency accommodation.

I am just glad that I am out of it now and my friends who are landlords feel exactly the same way and are selling up.

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Nige 17th December, 2016 @ 10:22

@Tim
There is a special tax aimed at landlords.
For small landlords the CGT rules are different to those who run a business. Whatever happened to indexation and a reduced rate depending upon how long you held a property.
For tax reasons the average small landlord is subject to taxation in the same way a building society passbook interest would be taxed. No business relief on CGT.

Its another case of allowing businesses to grow then suddenly imposing conditions on thee cash cow.

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The Landlord 17th December, 2016 @ 10:48

@David
Oh, but I had to go down the proper legal channels to claim the money- the tenant was fighting his case, so it wasn't through the good fortune of the tenant's ignorance.

http://www.landlordlawblog.co.uk/2013/10/10/can-a-landlord-refuse-to-end-a-tenancy-early/

If you just move out and do not arrange for new tenant to take your place, note that the landlord is fully entitled to claim the rent from you until the end of the fixed term and to sue you if you don’t pay it.

However the landlord is NOT entitled to have all the rent paid up front – she is only entitled to have it on a month by month basis – as she would get it if you were living there.

I believe you're incorrect about this, and you're the one giving incorrect advice. So yes, I'd personally advise landlords to seek legal advice, because there's a good chance they can claim expenses for finding a tenant and the rent (up until new tenants are found). HOWEVER, since it is Christmas, agree to disagree n' all.

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The Landlord 17th December, 2016 @ 10:55

@Nige,
Ha, that's the thing with finding tenants, it's always one of those "sliding doors" moments i.e. fate changing moments of life.

You had a lucky escape! Congrats :)

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The Landlord 17th December, 2016 @ 11:08

@Jenny
Can't disagree with your comments about easier ways to make money. I've said that for a long time. It doesn't help that a lot of the TV shows (Homes under the hammer, Property ladder etc) glorified the industry and gave too many people a false impression.

I still think there's good money to be made, but it's definitely not as easy as it used to be.

In any case, I don't know if God heard my wallowing or what, but I've received a good run of solid enquiries since I posted this blog. I was never worried about oversupply or having to settle for a poor quality tenant because I know what I'm selling and I know my local market.

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Nige 17th December, 2016 @ 11:17

@Landlord

Oh Im really looking forward to 2017 but I shall be lost !!
Which new car shall I buy ? Which holiday shall I choose ?

My garage will be empty of kitchen units, handles, screws , plumbing and electrical bits.

My ''office'' will be bundled up and stuck in the roof (for 7 bloody years) .

No longer will I be buying dustbin bags and popping to the tip daily to dispose of rubbish left by tenants who do not seem to know when dustbin day is.

One of the upsides of being a landlord was my investment in a wood burner. I have heated my house virtually for free with scrap fences, wood that somehow accumulates in gardens and left furniture. I will have to search around council estates for dumped furniture now !!

Maybe its time for me to have the 55 inch or bigger blue ray system tv plus all the 2000 tv channels drinking another 6 pack of lager and flicking ash on the carpet.

And finally (as the old saying goes..''a painter and decorators house is always the worst decorated'' ) I will be able to concentrate on bringing my own property up to the standard that I let all my properties in. At least I will know that whatever I do will stay DONE and not have to be repaired in 6 months.

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Simon Pambin 17th December, 2016 @ 13:34

David @63

Why would Council Tax and standing charges for utilities during the lesser of the minimum notice period and the time it takes to re-let the property not be recoverable? That, of course, assumes that the landlord makes a reasonable effort to mitigate his or her loss by seeking new tenants promptly. At this time of year, I think any landlord would struggle to get new tenants in within a month, particularly if any remedial works are required.

A term within the tenancy agreement that says something like "in the event of their leaving early, the tenants shall be liable for all rent and related costs for the remainder of the contracted period" would be voided as unfair but in this case we're talking about a month's notice, so it's perfectly legitimate to deduct the costs relating to that month from the deposit.

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Grumpy 17th December, 2016 @ 15:29

@nige #77

I think there is a website who collects bad tenants details, can't remember exactly will look it up.

However one thing I've done is when a shitty tenant leaves I go onto rightmove, when you search for places to rent it gives the option of "requesting info" from all estate agents in a radius.

I simppply fill in the names of the tenants and what they did to deserve the shitty review then click send and hundreds of estate agents will be notified.
Not sure if the effect but the satisfaction is worth it 😎

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Grumpy 17th December, 2016 @ 15:35

@nige #77

Have also though about selling up but in the end we get a decent return, +11% on money invested though portfolio worth much more if sold at 6%.

As its all paid off, the options on selling are poor. What do you do with the money, stock market! Liquid but very risky but zero chance of similar returns, especially as the tax on selling is draconian meaning even less to reinvest.

So I'll have to put up with the inevitable hassle being a landlord can entail?

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Nige 17th December, 2016 @ 17:29

@Grumpy

Its a good point regarding selling up and where you stack the cash.
That depends upon your age. Most landlords do not have an exit plan and suddenly find (as in 2007/8) that their asset base has dropped considerably. It took 7-8 years to recover from that.
I sold one per year and in latter years income from other sources took up the slack so income remained fairly stable.
In the meantime our beloved law makers bestowed greater and greater demands on the private rental sector so much that the paperwork involved in 2 tenancies was as much as when I had 13. The DPS took 5 weeks to pay a lost deposit which was ordered by a judge. Why? Because the tenant on a PAYG mobile had not informed them of the multiple changes in numbers.
Do you know for example who supplies power to the tenant as this changes like the wind and in my last eviction the tenant had used a false name and when I tried to get a connection for repairs found myself paying off an unknown persons debt.(PAYG meters and false names but sorted now)

It all depends upon how old you are . After all houses are expensive items and if you pop your clogs most landlords don't realise that the taxman gets both CGT and inheritance tax on your property portfolio. That can punch a huge hole in your asset base especially as one of the CGT perks is the yearly allowance. So timing is the key to enjoying your ill gotten gains.
In hindsight I would have bought a houses rented for a year and sold it thus getting both rent for a year plus the CGT allowance meaning an income of over 20k tax free. (assuming market trends of course)

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Grump 17th December, 2016 @ 18:30

Nige,

Yes exit plans are similar. Also having the property in a company helps.

As you point out, the Gov is essential committed to getting rid of "small time landlords" , but who is going to pick up the "spare housing stock"

Big investment funds typically buy/build big apartment blocks. They don't want geographically diverse shitty student flats and the like. Far too much hassle.

Around Manchester the council do not issue HMO licenses anymore. We looked around to buy some a few years ago but they were squalid, 10 lads living in a place the "young ones" wouldn't have lived in.

They were barely making 6% gross, valuations still similar now. You then have 10 AST in a single house FFs can you imagine the Agro!

These houses are too big as single homes, so what do you do with them?

To convert into decent separate flats is barely economical (I've got the invoices to prove!)

My guess is they will remain shitty houses until the day the land value warrants ripping down whole street and rebuilding.

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David 19th December, 2016 @ 10:07

@Landlord et al

This thread has had a lot of comments in just a few days.

My heart is bleeding with all the sob stories, I have had to buy extra kitchen roll.

Seriously, what it shows is that Landlords are like most people, it is all about self interest.

Boo Hoo CGT

Boo Hoo I had a bad tenant

Boo Hoo my investment portfolio is not performing as hoped.

I love these war stories, especially how they are brought up over and over again, even more so when they blame the terrible DSS tenant or the guy with the PAYG.

"Oh we should have the power, we are the Lords after all, I mean I am happy to tolerate this low life scum as long as they pay the rent but between you me and the 35,000 other landlords I think there is a lot to be said for eugenics."

For fucks sake guys take some responsibility, you took on the dogshit tenants so suck it up and stop bitching like little fucking sissy boi.

At the end of the day you guys just put up the rent when the Govt. screws you, after all the massive rent increased due to market forces of supply and demand (we can get away with it so let's do it) are clearly no enough!

What I do not understand is why you do not just get the fuck out of dodge rather than bleating like a stuck lamb. Put your money in buy to let cars, invest in a different part of the world that is less regulated, invest with John Bogle.

Yes I am ready for your flaq, I know it is coming, more of the same, blah blah blah https://youtu.be/3taEuL4EHAg?t=31

Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year!

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 19th December, 2016 @ 11:25

@David
Jesus, what crawled up your ass and died? I can't work out if you're bi-polar or just HATE being wrong about something.

So basically, you gave incorrect advice (which is cool, we all do some times), and instead of actually being civil about it, you break down into that... (whatever that is)...

This is a blog specifically for/about landlords, so landlords share their frustrations about their personal experiences. It doesn't mean that's their life, and they're drowning in self-pity, or not making money. People just like to vent with others in the the same situation.

You need to chillout, and if it's such a strain on you to surround yourself by landlords on a landlord blog (God forbid), then you're welcome to spare yourself from it.

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Nige 19th December, 2016 @ 11:41

@David
Merry Xmas David because it will be for me but not those who are still on the street because they were evicted.

They are not sob stories . Like many a business we are lured into the fray like lambs with the prospects of actually making something from life and then somebody goes down the pub on a Friday with a fag packet and a pencil and changes rules .
Look at Volkswagon. Suddenly rules were introduced which are almost impossible to comply with .(and every other manufacturer by the way) . Suddenly there is chaos an instead of a simple life of building cars they are embroiled in class actions, recalls..blah blah.

Its the same with letting. It used to be a simple (ish) process where you rented a house and could maintain a relationship with tenants. What do we have now ?
A plethora of forms, legal processes, deposit accounts, all designed to take up a huge amount of time. (and forests chopped down)

Then rules suddenly favoured the rogue tenant. The good ones don't wreck houses. They get out when asked and have the sense to find somewhere else. The rogue ones have an army of advisors and charities working against the wicked landlord.

I had a good tenant and with due process evicted them.(I had to sell for financial reasons) The judge gave them 14 days to leave. A house that was in perfect condition on the case date was subsequently trashed over the next 14 days. I couldn't stop this as any visits would come under harassment laws.
Report this to the police? They laugh.

Our society has developed with the attitude that anything that is free has no real value. Basic education is 'free' and some take advantage of it and some don't. I probably didn't to be honest but that was at my cost later in life.

I identified a sentence used by tenants that typifies attitudes today. ''THE COUNCIL GAVE ME A HOUSE''
No council gives anyone a house. They rent houses. Somehow this single sentence says it all. An infrastructure of paying for construction to handing them out a gift of cash had to be in place. But just like free education if the service is free it has no value unless you appreciate it.
Unfortunately private landlords were encouraged to get caught up in this.

There are few things in life which are actually free. Its paid for somewhere. Housing however has been made a special case.
Don't pay your mobile bill and you lose the service. Don't pay you car installments and its towed. Then you get CCJs and life becomes difficult.
Smash up a landlords house and you get rehoused !! Yes I had this happen not to far back.

So yes David . Landlords have a right to whinge about feckless tenants. As for the taxation you have to swallow that but again in most cases business rules don't apply to the small landlord and recent proposals are bound to make it more difficult.

The result will be big business moves in via housing associations etc and the small landlord will diminish. And we all know what happened as conglomerates start running cartels to fix prices at high levels.

As I have said before in another post people should have a share in the property they live in because if they have something to lose they take more pride.

Maybe credit checks, CCJs, refusal to give a council property if there is unpaid rent owing etc will pull society back to an even keel.

In the meantime the ONLY control that there seems to be is to escalate rentals and deposits to the point where the troublemakers are excluded. This of course brings in another layer of bureaucracy in society keeping the unemployment figures down.

I for one will be looking forward to 2017 safe in the knowledge that my state pension will be substantially lower than my old tenants received in housing benefit. Something wrong somewhere.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 19th December, 2016 @ 12:20

@Nige
Merry Christmas, you boohoo'ing git!

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Nige 19th December, 2016 @ 12:33

@Landlord

Git maybe !!!! Boooohooooing.....no more . Cocktails, sunsets, new car and last of all do my house and garden up.
Neighbours are fed up of the crap emptied from houses and gardens. Should add a few grand to my house !!!

Send David's address. I can afford to send a kichen roll or 3 for a pound these days !!

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Comrade Jeremy 19th December, 2016 @ 13:14

Dear Comrade David,

Well said, we entitled snowflakes, sorry brothers, need to stick together. The scumbag capitalist Landlords need to made to suffer as all capitalists are bad and need to be made to give up their wealth to house our growing army of entitled freeloading feckless wasteoids, sorry comrades, of which you are fine example of.

Why should we allow people who buy houses to profit from their work, after all its not real work is it.

Its easy to get a job and save money to buy a house and paying off mortgage and insurance is a piece of piss. If a freeloading wastoide, sorry unfortunate disaffected comrade, happens to accidentally pour concrete down the toilet before they leave, then I say the Landlord must have deserved it.

Or if a tenant wants to cook their dinner by putting coal in the electric oven because they are too thick to realise in the UK we don’t have to do that anymore, then that is the landlords fault for the building nearly burning down.

Of course there is no truth to the propaganda that increasing government red tape pushes up rent. Landlords should suck it up and work for free anyway.

I heard rumours that Landlords are now refusing tenancy to anyone who does not have an accent that sounds like Downton Abbey. Racist I say. After all, now landlords are required to check for proof of legal residency in the UK or face fines or prison, this is easy, there are only about 100 different visas and residency permits allowed and forgeries are easy to spot.

In any case all people are entitled to their own home and just because they cannot afford it then the landlords should provide it as a charity.

With such eloquent rants as your, hopefully the majority of the deluded people who rent houses and behave like decent people will wake up and follow your example and ignore AST contracts, who cares, thats a straw man argument, and we should not have to be bound by those laws. If they want to leave, they should be free to walk out after trashing the place. After all Landlords are really simply devils in disguise.

Please pass on my regards to your care worker and I hope your mum manages to go out and buy your copy of socialist worker for you.

Vegetable rights and peace.

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NoobLL 2nd January, 2017 @ 23:05

I am loving your blog. I have just listed a property on OpenRent after your recommendation on this site and I must say that everything you have said in this article seems to be coming true. 7 viewing requests in 24 hours and I have had to reject 5 of them after searching for their names on Facebook or just after ten seconds of speaking to them on the phone.

Me: "Will it be just you renting?"
Wannabetenant: "Ummmmm. Well, I'd probably need to share with someone."
Me:

I bet a letting agent would have let all of these people trample through my house:
"I've got you 7 viewings already! Aren't I good and worth the £600 I'm charging you to get you a tenant?!"

In fact, one of them told me that this is the best time of year to try to let a house because you have all the couples who split at Xmas after enforced time together. At the time I believed him, but after reading your blog I realised, actually why would I want someone in an unstable domestic situation who doesn't know what they're going to be doing three months from now, and who's income has probably just been cut in half?!

The amount of times I have said today "That landlord blog guy was right!" is unreal.

So thank you so much for this blog, thank you for introducing me to OpenRent, and please keep the articles coming!

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 3rd January, 2017 @ 11:09

@NoobLL
Thank you, glad my ramblings have been useful :)

Haha, I love using social media platforms as referencing tools. Facebook (and Twitter) in particular can provide crucial insight into someone's life- insight you wouldn't ordinarily get access to from regular viewings.

I've researched all my applicants on Facebook and also made some decisions based on the information I managed to unearth! Priceless, and often very assuming. I've unrevealed some proper dipsticks!

Yeah, that's precisely the problem with many agents; they often allow anyone to take viewings despite how unqualified- and they often convince novice landlords that unsuitable tenants are actually good tenants. That's why I firmly believe that the landlord needs to do their own viewings and processing of applicants in order to stand the best chance of finding the best tenants.

I've been really impressed with OpenRent's free 5-day trial package. However, I ended up paying £39 for the 3 month extension, which is still a bargain, but I expected I'd need to do that since I put my advert live a week before Christmas.

Good luck with finding tenants, let me know how it goes!

Thanks again!

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NoobLL 15th January, 2017 @ 20:12

I have just let the house today. It's a single man who works fulltime near the property and has been renting somewhere for the past five years so he should be a good tenant, fingers crossed. Just need to do the referencing and apply for RGI now. How is your search going?

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 16th January, 2017 @ 11:52

@NoobLL
Oh, nice one! Congrats.

I blitzed through 6 viewings last week- 5 of them made an offer on the spot. I narrowed the choice down to 3 suitable applicants (after doing the referencing), and then I eventually picked one (after a lot of umm'ing and err'ing) on Friday. The applicants became particularly strong after New Years (as expected).

I've received the deposit, and will sign contracts this week :)

Good for us!

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NoobLL 20th January, 2017 @ 12:20

My prospective tenant has fallen through.Luckily I have followed your advice and continued to take viewings so do have 1 or 2 as a fallback.

I had booked for an inventory clerk through OpenRent, as recommended by you, to come on the 28th of this month, but obviously now I don't have a tenant moving in a few days later. My second choice will have to give a month's notice if I contact her and she still wants it. What would you do in this situation? Keep the appointment with the inventory clerk or postpone it for closer to when a new tenant will move in?

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The Landlord 25th January, 2017 @ 09:56

Sorry for not getting back to you sooner.

Ahh yeah, they always fall through- always best to continue until deposit and contracts are signed!

I would contact them and just advise them of the situation, and that you may need to reschedule if the dates/times don't work- but advise them you will notify them with 48 hours notice.

They should be fine with that.

So did you manage to secure a fallback?

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NoobLL 26th January, 2017 @ 12:56

Hi The Landlord!
My fallbacks fell through, but last night a lovely couple put a holding deposit down through OpenRent, so the referencing is just going through. You are completely correct in your assertion that the Christmas/New Year period is the absolute worst time of year to look for a tenant. Since the second week in January the quality of tenants has steadily increased. This couple are the best I have seen both on paper and in the flesh. I agree with one of your articles when you said that gut instinct is so important when meeting tenants. I am so happy, and about to become a landlord for the first time! :0)

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