Best Foot Forward
Demand for rental properties is the highest we have ever known. The poor guys in the rental department are certainly under the cosh. I almost feel a bit sorry for them. Almost.
Seriously though, if you are looking to rent a new property then you should be aware that there will be a great deal of competition. The demand is relentless and seems to be across the board, whether it is a 1 bedroom flat for £600 pcm or a 4 bedroom detached house for £2,500 pcm you will have to put your best foot forward to secure the property that you want.
To give you an idea of demand, if we take a new property on the market it goes straight online. We all have to brace ourselves as the ‘go live’ button is clicked as we know that the phones are going to go mad. It is not unusual for us to have over 50 applicants contact us either via e-mail, social media, or telephone, and there comes a point after a couple of hours that we have to take the property off the market as all we are doing is upsetting and annoying people that they have been pipped to the post yet again.
Most applicants are pretty suitable for rental properties so if we have booked 10 viewings then we know that at least one of those is going to want to take the property so there isn’t much point in us booking 50 appointments. Sam had 5 viewings booked in for one day last week for a property we had for rent in Leigh Road and all 5 of the applicants wanted it so we were then left to try and decide who might be best and present it to the landlord to decide.
If you are looking for a rental property then there are a few things that you can do to help us help you. A little bit of preparation on your part can go a long way and stand you in good stead when making your application.
First up is to have all of the information we will need to hand. We will have to ask you some relatively personal questions, don’t take it personally, to be honest, we couldn’t care less we just need the info to pass on to the landlord. We will need to know who will be living at your new rental property with you, the adult’s employment status, whether you have any pets, if you smoke and how long you will need the rental property for.
I know that we Brits are a bit uncomfortable about talking about these things but we will ask you how much you earn. As a rough rule of thumb to be able to pass referencing you or the combined household income will need to be at least two and a half times the annual rent for the property. So if you are looking at a property that is £1,000 pcm then you will need to be earning at least £30,000 per annum. It may seem obvious but you would be surprised how many people don’t know how much they earn. They know how much they take home a week but don’t know the gross figure for the year. Work it out beforehand and then you know.
If you are self-employed then understandably this could be a bit more difficult. The best thing to do is to ask your accountant or look at your last tax return to give you a better idea. To be able to rent any property you will have to have at least 1 year’s accounts to stand any chance of passing referencing so your annual income should be relatively easy to find.
Next up is if you have any dodgy credit. The vast majority of people don’t and it is all fine but also the vast majority of people have no idea. If you are in any doubt you can request a free credit check from websites such as Equifax & Experian. These will tell you if there are any hidden nasties that you weren’t aware of. We have a gentleman recently who had a CCJ for an outstanding parking ticket that he was completely unaware of. He was able to pay it off and clear it immediately but he knew nothing about it until he applied for a rental property through us. If you have had bad credit in the past don’t worry about it all is not completely lost. Be upfront with us, explain the situation and we will do our best to find a solution. Don’t try and hide it because it will come out and you could lose your holding fee.
On that point, if you are interested in renting a property through us we will ask you for a deposit. The majority of agents including us ask for the equivalent of 1 week’s rent for the property as a type of holding fee. This will then come off your first month’s rent that you pay so when you move into the property we will ask you for the equivalent of 5 weeks rent for a deposit and the first month’s rent up front less the week that you have already paid.
Lastly and possibly most importantly is be nice! We honestly know that the whole situation is extremely stressful. We are stressed too, I promise. Unfortunately, we can only rent a property to one applicant. We may have to let you down and tell you you can’t have a property that you really want. This is the worst bit of our job, it is horrible. It is nothing personal and throwing your toys out of the pram is not going to change the situation and probably not going to show you in the best possible light when you try and apply for another property that we have at a later date. We are sorry but demand currently is far outstripping supply and inevitably some people are going to be left disappointed.
From a landlord’s point of view, this is all brilliant obviously. You can have your pick of any number of brilliant tenants.
To make the process easier, we need a little information from Landlords too. You need to let us know your criteria for tenants so that we can inform people before they view or rule people out from the outset. Are you happy for people to have a little dog? Do you want a tenant short or long term? Is your property ready for a new tenant? With such a fast-moving market people don’t like to be left waiting. Have you got your gas & electrical certification? Your EPC? Has the property been cleared and is it clean? Knowing all these things upfront is extremely helpful for us and with the new online application systems we have, we can get a tenant moved in in a few days after they view it. If you can be earning some rent, why wait?
It may seem stressful to even consider letting a property at present but I promise you it is not. It is extremely busy and you do have to do some groundwork before you consider it but all letting agents are there to help you find your new rental property or perfect tenant. Give me a call and I will get Anthony & Sam to contact you to give you the benefit of their expertise when they have a quiet moment.