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.
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
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:
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?
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…
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.
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.
*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.
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…
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.
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!
Disclaimer: I'm just a landlord blogger; I'm 100% not qualified to give legal or financial advice. I'm a doofus. Any information I share is my unqualified opinion, and should never be construed as professional legal or financial advice. You should definitely get advice from a qualified professional for any legal or financial matters. For more information, please read my full disclaimer.