The Pains Of Scheduling Rental Property Viewings

I’m currently sitting across the room from my teary-eyed bald-headed friend, whose somehow managed to appoint me as his personal agony aunt. Apparently I have nothing better to do than listen to his bellowing, while he tucks into a pot of salad and accumulates revolting colonies of salad cream around his greasy lips. It’s genuinely a gross sight.

For the past month he’s been desperately trying to find a seedy little love-den to rent for him and his long-term girlfriend. Unfortunately, he’s having very little success. So for now, the embarrassment of his parents having to provide shelter for their 32 year old son continues…

The problems with Tenant viewings

One of his biggest gripes with the whole process is the number of viewings that get rescheduled or cancelled last minute, for one reason or another. It’s the “last minute” part which has driven him into the musky warmth of my arms. He’s on the brink of destruction, and I don’t blame him, because I’ve also felt the brutality of viewings as a landlord.

From my experience, viewings getting rescheduled/cancelled, whether it be by tenant or landlord, happens all the freaking time, particularly last minute. It’s irritating, and in an ideal world, the guilty party would be held accountable in medieval ways.

While my friend momentarily controlled his trembling jaw and wiped away his tears with the same tissue he used to clean the salad-cream-jizz away from his mouth, he confided in me and vented his frustrations.

The situation has got to the point where he’s genuinely aggravated by the process of viewing properties and dealing with letting agents. He’s using several local letting agents, and he’s experiencing the same issue from all of them. He keeps arranging viewings, which often result in rescheduling or cancellations right at the last minute. In the defence of the letting agents, it’s most likely not their fault. The root of the problem usually manifests from the landlord or current occupier rescheduling. But essentially, it all boils down to communication, and if this is happening on a frequent basis, there’s an underlying issue should be resolved.

I can appreciate how infuriating it can be, because I’ve been in situations where I’ve made my way to a property to take a viewing only for the prospective tenant to reschedule or cancel… 5 minutes prior to the meeting time.

Clearly, 5 minutes before showtime is NO good to me. IDIOT!

Sorry, I’m going to have a nap… can we reschedule the viewing?

Generally speaking, people have to reschedule/arrange their diary in order to take viewings. Miraculously, that’s a simple consideration that seems to allude the masses. Take the following scenario for example:

Last week my friend was on route to view a property, which was a 40 minutes drive out of his way. 10 minutes prior to arriving at the property he received a phone call from the letting agent, notifying him that he had just spoken to the current tenant, and he said that his wife was still asleep, so the viewing required rescheduling.

WTF? Seriously? Sleeping?

I don’t care if she’s sleeping. Throw the lazy bitch into a wheelbarrow and park her in the garden shed next to the shovel.

Lazy Woman

Unbelievable. The tenants were clearly too self-involved and rude to appreciate the fact that my friend may have 1) scheduled his day, or at least part of, around the viewing 2) taken time off work 3) travelled a fair distance.

Don’t get me wrong, legitimate and worthy reasons for last minute rescheduling do exist, but sleeping is not one of them, and never will be.

But it’s not entirely the tenant’s fault. Of course, the tenants are a pair of wallys, and they should have at least two of their toes sacrificed with a blow torch for their inconsideration. However, the letting agent should also take responsibility. The letting agent could have contacted the current occupiers over an hour in advance to get confirmation on whether the appointment was still suitable. Then the agent could have confirmed with the tenant. It really is simple. Isn’t that common practise for agents? If not, it should be. It would probably save a lot of time.

The impact of rescheduling viewings

The impact of rescheduling isn’t limited to time-wasting, it’s also costly in the sense that the applicant (the tenant) could find an alternative property in the mean time, or the landlord could find alternative tenants; whichever case applies. So try to avoid it, because it’s stupid.

I don’t think there’s any real solution for this issue, it’s always going to happen. However, as said, communication is the key to limiting the tears. I always contact the party I’m scheduled to meet a few hours prior to the viewing, just to confirm. On a sidenote, I’m a firm believer in landlords always doing their own viewings (there are a few exceptions, of course) – the benefits of doing it yourself, as opposed to an agent, is unparalleled.

Tenants should do the same prior to viewings, and get their agent to get confirmation from the person occupying the property (if the property is occupied, that is). And if you’re the party that wants to reschedule, try to give as much notice as humanly possible.

I guess my point is… don’t be an inconsiderate idiot. Be kind, beautiful and sexy, just like me.

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15 Comments- Join The Conversation...

Guest Avatar
Benji 4th September, 2012 @ 22:36

Hello Mate!

First off, the fat, bald, emotional 'friend'
- is it you?

Irrespective of which, if your 'friend' was only 10 minutes from the property and was seriously looking, then why not knock on the door anyway?

A pissed off, soon to be ex tenant, although vindictive enough to screw around the landlord or letting agent, may be very happy to spill the beans to a prospective new occupier and show them around, warts and all. Especially if you offer him a drink* for the inconvenience.

Alternatively, he might tell you to fuck off and attack you with a claw hammer but life is full of risks. If you want to escape your parents spare room, sometimes you have to take them.

HTH

*For the avoidance of doubt, I'm not refering to a can of Pepsi.

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Guest Avatar
max 5th September, 2012 @ 08:03

I agree communication is the key

Whan I make appointment with prospective tenant I say that it is important that current tenant is not inconvenienced and that I must be phoned if prospective tenant is not going to show to minimise inconvenience for current tenatn

I confirm all arrangements by e mail with prospective tenant and copy this to current tenant

I phone prospective tenant one hour before appointment on their mobile

One hour after prospective tenant visits I phone and ask for feedback

Very rarely have a problem
m

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 5th September, 2012 @ 09:04

@Benji

I think that's the first time you have ever referred to me as "mate"- I feel like our relationship is blossoming.

Secondly, I never said my friend was "fat"- he's actually a skinny little rat weasel... with a slap head!

Lastly, I guess my friend respected the tenant's right to live in "quiet enjoyment" :)

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 5th September, 2012 @ 09:05

@max

That's definitely the way forward! I can see how problems would be minimal if you're applying those steps!

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John (The Landlord) 5th September, 2012 @ 13:34

Great post and it's a regular problem I have to deal with. I'd say that about 40% of the prespective tenants I arrange for viewings simply don't turn up or even let you know they are not coming!

I went through this lottery system for the first 6 months and then I thought I can be bother to waste my time driving to a property, turning on lights, heating, unlocking doors on the off chance no-one is going to turn up.

Now, like you, I say to the person that I will call them or they call me one hour prior to the appointment to confirm - no conformation - no appointment and it works! Also, by arranging multiple viewings, one after the other, you lessen the chance of completely wasting your time.

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andrewa 7th September, 2012 @ 22:03

Ah John, that's how we do it,organize all the viewings as being between 14h00 and 16h00 on say Saturday with prospects scheduled at 10 minute intervals. If one or four bunches don't pitch up so what the other 10 will.

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NS1 8th September, 2012 @ 16:30

To potential tenants who make appointments and then don't show or answer their phone....I really love calling them at 3am to ask whether they are still interested ;)

Agree with @andrewa on the block viewings approach

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 8th September, 2012 @ 21:02

Thanks for the replies, folks!

A few people have suggested "block viewings". In theory, they're a good idea, but they're not always easy to arrange, especially for a private landlord (I imagine they're easier for letting agents to arrange).

The fundamental requirement for arranging block viewings is volume- you need a certain amount of interest with in a relatively close time frame to arrange them, otherwise they become impractical. You may end up making tenants wait a week before you have enough enquiries to process the block viewing. Moreover, you have to ensure everyone is actually available during the same day/hour.

If you have the volume, block viewings are convenient. Otherwise, not so much!

Personally, if I receive a compelling enquiry, I like to get them in the house as quickly as possible.

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Mr X 9th September, 2012 @ 18:45

Great post Landlord, and all too common.

I agree with your last post about block viewings also. Good in theory though.

I've had a few scenarios where the prospective tenant failed to notify me they weren't coming, or left it ridiculiously late, and when they offered to reschedule I told them no. If they can't fulfil a simple commitment I'd rather not have them in my property. Even a simple text message as basic as "SOZ CNT MK IT" would suffice. (would actually be relieved they can't make it if they wrote like that!)

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EMMA 11th September, 2012 @ 09:56

What is the law on viewings? My tenent has given a months notice (despite stating only a fortnight ago that she wanted to stay for at least another 6 months as she was settled!!!) and I already have a block viewing session next week. Obviously I have given her notice but what is she decides an hour before that she doesnt want to play ball.

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Guest Avatar
Jeremy 11th September, 2012 @ 21:39

Hello Emma,

It depends on the reason. If a close relative is laying dead on the floor, it's probably OK to cancel. If she fancies a long bath, it's not OK to cancel.

The deal you'll have done with her is to allow you to access the property yourself, so just follow that through.

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andrewa 3rd October, 2012 @ 14:59

ALL our rentals are priced between 5 and 10 percent BELOW market (we use the money we save by managing the property's ourselves) so we always have lots and lots of prospects. If someone is too slack to pitch up for a viewing its likely they will be too slack to do other things on time...........like pay the rent! Having lots of keen prospects also lets us do a detailed credit and previous landlords check.

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emma 3rd October, 2012 @ 18:53

Thanks Jeremy :). Luckily I got there and she had already moved out. I've had it with a previous tenant where I've given notice and then on the day she refused to allow me access (infact screaching at me through the window that I was harrassing her????).
My block viewings were rather disappointing. From reading this blog beforehand, I rang them all on the morning. Three had possibly the poorest excuses possible for not being able to make it and wanting to reschedule. The forth, who turned up, actually turned out to be a fraudster (good old google).
First impressions count with me. If you can't keep the viewing day (without resonable notice) , its doubtful you'll pay the rent on time (in my eyes anyway).
Glad to say I eventually found nice tenants (fingers crossed)
I don't think people realise who much time and effort goes into having a rental property. They just think we make a load of cash and don't do anything.

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Guest Avatar
ruphilyn 16th October, 2012 @ 15:14

As also in the part of the agents it is also a pain in the ass if your prospective tenant don't show up in viewing the property and you've already set your schedule for that.

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Anon 27th February, 2013 @ 01:37

I had one tenant, say he was 5 minutes away. I called a few times. In the mean time 40minutes had elapsed. I left the property. I figured, well if I had aranged a tradesmen, they would have got fed up of waiting and I would have got charged.... .

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