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  • Property-a-holics

    Tenants to start vetting Landlords ... ?!

    I have heard from a number of letting agents that tenants are becoming increasingly concerned on two counts:

    1. That the Landlord may not be professional and might be repossessed, meaning that the tenant lose their home.

    2. That the Landlord is an "accidental" Landlord and is only letting the property out until the market improves. The second it does, the LL will sell up, and the tenant will lose their home.

    How can professional LL's capitalise on tenants concerns and make our properties the best long-term bet?

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    Do tenants really care? In my experience mostly no. Occassionally yes. Tenants tend to be savvy if they have been on the end of a bad experience. However, they can ask the right questions but can effectively make no demands..even in this market.
    However when most tenants dont ask, know or care about even the most basic of legislation (EPC's) being a prime example I think there is not enough of a snowball to do anything about it, other than giving tenant the assurances pre tenancy as a matter of courtesy.
    Regarding point 2. The tenant has the right to quiet peace and enjoyment of a property short of the last month for viewings. So the tenant has the right to refuse access to the LL for most of their AST. Should the LL wish to sell mid AST, they have to pay relocation costs, an irrelevance if the tenant refuses access in the first place which they have the right to do.
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    Hello Vanessa,
    I have to say, I'm not surprised to hear this, and I'm quite pleased too. This is me speaking from a tenant's perspective of course! I was a tenant for 9 years (until December 2008), and in my experience, as a professional person having to rent until I could get back on the property ladder, I was having to move house every 6 months due to landlords' situations changing. This has a very adverse effect on a tenant's credit history, and can make lenders quite nervous, so it's something that any responsible tenant would be concerned about. I frequently sought out longer term lets, but landlords/agents were reluctant to commit to these, even though the financial risk was on my side as the tenant. I'd be very interested to hear what landlords here think about this, and what they could propose to reassure their tenants on this. If I can be of any help, as someone who's experienced the tenancy issues over the last decade, please feel free to fire questions at me!
    All the best
    Helen
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    Thank you for that Helen. I hadn't considered the fact that lenders don't like you if you have not lived at an address for 3 years. That does have major implications for a tenant looking to get on the property ladder. Can any of our mortgage brokers advise how this might affect a person's ability to get a mortgage in the context if the tenant could not secure a long term let, and kept having to move through no fault of their own?
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    The way that decent people, who have to be tenants for some period of their life, are treated by private / professional landlords and agents is something I feel very passionate about!! I fully accept that not all tenants are as reliable or fair as others, and the landlord is taking risk when they allow a tenant into their property.

    HOWEVER, in this day and age, when young (and not-so-young) professional people have to rent for a period of time, it's VERY frustrating to be tarred with the brush that's been used on the unreliable tenants! ;-) If only there were a better reference checking system in place, or some way for a jolly decent type of tenant to prove their worth - again, I've been lucky overall, and my numerous changes of residential address didn't stop me getting my mortgage (because I know how to fight the system), but I was rejected by agencies for ridiculous reasons in the past. I could go on and on...but I won't.

    I think this is a big subject for debate though, both for really decent tenants who want to find really decent landlords, and vice versa. My clients are all private landlords, so I totally understand it from their perspective, and will continue to seek improvements in this area.

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    Helen Eade said:

    The way that decent people, who have to be tenants for some period of their life, are treated by private / professional landlords and agents is something I feel very passionate about!! I fully accept that not all tenants are as reliable or fair as others, and the landlord is taking risk when they allow a tenant into their property. HOWEVER, in this day and age, when young (and not-so-young) professional people have to rent for a period of time, it's VERY frustrating to be tarred with the brush that's been used on the unreliable tenants! ;-) If only there were a better reference checking system in place, or some way for a jolly decent type of tenant to prove their worth - again, I've been lucky overall, and my numerous changes of residential address didn't stop me getting my mortgage (because I know how to fight the system), but I was rejected by agencies for ridiculous reasons in the past. I could go on and on...but I won't. I think this is a big subject for debate though, both for really decent tenants who want to find really decent landlords, and vice versa. My clients are all private landlords, so I totally understand it from their perspective, and will continue to seek improvements in this area.

    This is an excellent way for the professional landlord to differentiate themselves from the crowd. I always explain to tenants that I am a professional landlord, and that each prop is a permanent investment ... meaning I will not be asking them to ever move out because I want to move into the prop.

    I give an overview of how we do things i.e. professional set-up, registered with the RLA, members of mydeposits.co.uk, all props have gas safety certs, electrical certs, BTL insurfance policy, and explain that all props are are maintained in A1 condition. I provide a copy of my driving license and the Land Registry print showing the prop address, and my personal address (i.e. proving that this is an investment property).

    I also explain that at least 20% of the rent they pay is my "profit" (actually, some are much, much higher, but it wouldn;t go down well to be too truthful!), and this means I have the money to pay for the inevitable repairs and maintenance. I explain that you really don;t want your landlord to be making a loss!

    I invite tenants to telephone some of our older tenants, for a personal reference (after having asked the tenants if they mind!). I ask prospective tenants to talk to our existing tenants about rent rises (modest), repairs (rapidly dealt with), and how we have helped during difficult times (e.g. tenant pays late due to redundancy / benefits not paid / tight month / etc).

    All this helps to create the impression of (a) professionalism, and (b) security. As a parting request, I ask prospective tenants to ensure that they discuss these topics with the agents or landlord of any other props they are viewing.

    It's amazing how many completed applications I receive back, and holding deposits!

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    Stephen Fay FCA
    www.fyldetaxaccountants.co.uk
    'The Property Tax Specialists'
    Stephen,
    Some very interesting ideas in your post. Well done.
    John Corey
    https://www.ChelseaPrivateEquity.com/blog
    Follow me on Twitter -> https://www.twitter.com/john_corey
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    John Corey 


    I host the London Real Estate Meet on the 2nd Tuesday of every month since 2005. If you have never been before, email me for the 'new visitor' link.

    PropertyFortress.com/Events

    Also happy to chat on the phone. Pay It Forward; my way of giving back through sharing. Click on the link: PropertyFortress.com/Ask-John to book a time. I will call you at the time you selected. Nothing to buy. Just be prepared with your questions so we can use the 20 minutes wisely.

    In my experience, customers are not very discerning when choosing their landlord. If they like the property or the room they will go for it irrespective of who the landlord is. If it is a live in landlord, they will probably want to know whether they can live with them or not and will choose more carefully.

    At the moment, with oversupply of rental property in some areas and the emergence of a large number of reluctant landlords, you can pick and choose your rental property. A professional landlord can easily differentiate himself but whether the customer see value in that at the moment is difficult to tell.

    From what I'm hearing from my customers, their biggest worry is whether the landlord is going to sell the property and ask them to move out of their home. This is particularly the case with reluctant landlords who really want to sell and are waiting for the market to improve before they sell up.

    A professional landlord can demonstrate, as Stephen says, that he's in it for the long haul and is running a business in a professional manner.

    The residential property industry in the UK is still heavily dominated by small investors/landlords and the quality of product/service to customers varies enormously. If landlords generally can raise industry standards it will be better for them and better for customers.

    I share Stephen's approach because its the correct way to build a successful business

    Adrian Standing

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    Helen Eade said:

    The way that decent people, who have to be tenants for some period of their life, are treated by private / professional landlords and agents is something I feel very passionate about!! I fully accept that not all tenants are as reliable or fair as others, and the landlord is taking risk when they allow a tenant into their property. HOWEVER, in this day and age, when young (and not-so-young) professional people have to rent for a period of time, it's VERY frustrating to be tarred with the brush that's been used on the unreliable tenants! ;-) If only there were a better reference checking system in place, or some way for a jolly decent type of tenant to prove their worth - again, I've been lucky overall, and my numerous changes of residential address didn't stop me getting my mortgage (because I know how to fight the system), but I was rejected by agencies for ridiculous reasons in the past. I could go on and on...but I won't. I think this is a big subject for debate though, both for really decent tenants who want to find really decent landlords, and vice versa. My clients are all private landlords, so I totally understand it from their perspective, and will continue to seek improvements in this area.

    Good point ...

    A key challenge to the professional landlord is to project an image (hopefully backed up in practice!) of operating as a professional business. If you can do this, your business will prosper.

    This means practical things like having quality business cards, arriving at viewings dressed appropriately, having a good application form to give to interested prospects (good paper!), showing the prospect around the prop, pointing out features, benefits, explaining council tax bands, local amenities etc etc.

    The 'Rigsby' image is still a problem for landlords generally. By showing yourself to be professional in your business dealings, tenants will respond similarly. Turn up to a viewing late, in a banger, dressed in overalls, mumble for them to have a look around (you get the picture), and people will form a view about you ... and what their life will be like with you as their landlord!

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    Stephen Fay FCA
    www.fyldetaxaccountants.co.uk
    'The Property Tax Specialists'

    Stephen,

    You wrote: "The 'Rigsby' image is still a problem for landlords generally."

    I have no idea who s/he is. None of my tenants bring up the person. Many tenants are too young or are from another country if you rent city centre flats.

    One way to move on is to leave the past in the past. Operate professionally and drop references to past events that somehow taint the conversation. Live in the present/future rather than the past.

    How long ago was Rigsby? What age would today's tenants be if they actually remember the history?

    John Corey
    https://www.ChelseaPrivateEquity.com/blog
    Follow me on Twitter -> https://www.twitter.com/john_corey

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    John Corey 


    I host the London Real Estate Meet on the 2nd Tuesday of every month since 2005. If you have never been before, email me for the 'new visitor' link.

    PropertyFortress.com/Events

    Also happy to chat on the phone. Pay It Forward; my way of giving back through sharing. Click on the link: PropertyFortress.com/Ask-John to book a time. I will call you at the time you selected. Nothing to buy. Just be prepared with your questions so we can use the 20 minutes wisely.