Affordability test

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    Affordability test

    The usual affordability test is 30 x rent.

    In my adverts I state that an employers reference is required, but at what stage do you point out the affordability test? It would be easier, maybe, to state in the advert something like "must be bringing home at least £x" but as nobody does this I suspect there's something either discriminatory, or there's some other reason that I'm just too frazzled at the moment to see. , or when somebody enquires should the landlord enquire about wages?

    I'm getting quite a few enquirers who are only working part time or who just don't earn enough and it's frustrating and time wasting.

    And, quite a few who aren't working at all. And some who aren't working but have an unemployed non-owner occupier guarantor. How does that work then? And some who's first question is "Do I need a guarantor?" I used to say that it depends on their income, but now I just say yes you do.

    I'm finding that over the years there are more and more financially unsuitable tenants who just don't read the advert. I'm also finding that being tactful isn't getting through and I'm having to be more and more blunt. Even "I can't let to you because you've got no job" didn't work on the last one, who came knocking a second time trying to convince me they could get a job tomorrow. I said "That's great, ask your employer for a reference and we can take it from there. "

    After the minging bungalow affair, I'm certainly more cautious.

    What's the best way to weed out financially unsuitable enquirers without offending them?

    #2
    It may differ by area -- but I do all viewings myself, and I think I can work out within pretty narrow margins (based on experience and a few pointed questions).

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      #3
      I want to weed them out before viewings, ideally. I do all the viewings myself too.

      Fortunately, this time round, everyone has actually turned up so far, but most have been chancers and time wasters.

      I feel like shaking them and screaming "DID YOU READ THE ADVERT?"

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        #4
        According to Shelter if a household is spending more than 30% of its gross income on housing costs, then their housing is generally considered to be unaffordable. I put it on all listings and on the offer form what minimum income the applicant must prove and what the minimum affordable income is. If the applicant fails to prove the minimum income they lose their Holding Deposit and they do not get a tenancy.

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          #5
          I've seen many adverts stating minimum income. Can't see anything illegal in that.

          Personally, I send an automated message asking about their circumstances. Shamefacedly, I don't bother replying if they don't send enough info/unsuitable/can't find them online/don't know of them/aggressive/address me as 'Bruv' (yep, had that one) /listed on the IVA bankruptcy register etc

          Previously, I've always sent a courtesy reply but it's just not worth the risk nowadays.

          If someone piques my interest, I may ask further questions. Then a phone call. Only then maybe a viewing.

          Just done 4 viewings out of 50 enquirers. Incidentally, 2 of them remarked surprise that the property was real, available and ready to go as most were phishing ad 'just gone's' or 'coming available soon's'.

          But any voids at all are virtually a thing of the past for me (I used to work on 2 month's void per year per property). And because of section 24, I don't give a damn if a couple are left empty.

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            #6
            Originally posted by cymro123 View Post
            According to Shelter if a household is spending more than 30% of its gross income on housing costs, then their housing is generally considered to be unaffordable.
            That certainly encourages me to take on lower income families.

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              #7
              I have friends who state minimum income on their adverts and ask to see payslips before they even show prospective tenants the advertised property.

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                #8
                Thank you for your responses everyone. I'll do a bit more calculating and will put a figure or % in my advert.

                One more question - if T reaches the required %, how do you deal with debt e.g. debit cards/overdrafts etc?

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                  #9
                  That's crux of the matter, blindly accepting a set level of income ignores the fact they may have huge drug or shoe addiction or massive debt.
                  If they look like a decent tenant study their bank statement, you learn an awful lot.

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                    #10
                    You really want minimum disposable income but that's even harder to define in an advert. Also what about housing benefit/UC? a tenant working part-time may be eligible for benefits toward the rent and overtly discriminating against benefits tenants in an advert is risky at the moment.

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by DPT57 View Post
                      You really want minimum disposable income but that's even harder to define in an advert. Also what about housing benefit/UC? a tenant working part-time may be eligible for benefits toward the rent and overtly discriminating against benefits tenants in an advert is risky at the moment.
                      I've said something like "A minimum income after deductions is £17,550. HB/UC_HE can be included in this total." I know somebody who gets £2 odd pw in benefits and that would be ok, but somebody else who needs a top up of say £50 per week would need a guarantor.

                      And as for the person who's just asked me if I accept DSS and 20 pets ... well, what could I say? If it's 20 neon tetras that's ok, if it's 20 cats or dogs that not ok. But they would need to be in employment. .....that's the tenant not the pets!

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                        #12
                        We weed this out at the registration stage - IE. when we're booking the viewing. We ask a series of questions, in a conversational way so it doesn't appear too threatening, to establish most of what we want to know so that we don't waste our time showing the wrong kind of people.

                        The viewing is then designed to find out all the things you can't check or prove on paper - first impression, how much of a pain in the arse are they likely to be, etc.

                        We're also using the viewing to reconfirm a lot of the information we've been given over the phone/via email through conversation with them. We want to try and make sure the information tallies.

                        Then, once we've made a decision on who we're proposing to rent to, we obtain formal references, check bank statements, etc. to correlate that with everything we've already been told.

                        If they've misled us along the way or things don't stack up, we don't go any further.

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                          #13
                          HantsAgent Thanks for your response. I think I might need to present myself as more like an agent and use the pronoun 'we' rather than 'I', and imply that there is some 'other' involved rather than the business being just me. My handyman is my best friend's husband and is often around when I'm doing viewings and if I'm on my own I say things like 'A- has just done this.... will be finishing off this... etc' and so imply there is a significant other. He plays along.

                          I am finding that this has made a significant difference in the way 'chancers' behave. Realising there are two people to deal with they tend to back off rather than trying to play the 'pathetic' card.

                          I'm not a pushover, and if I had a heart it would be made of stone, but it gets tiring trying to be tactful to no-hopers. I'm in an area where there are many people who are under employed or unemployed, but there are loads of agency jobs (but you might have to go at short notice or work odd shifts, and believe me I've got on my bike, literally, and taken any job).................oooooooooooooooooooh .... I'm about to rant.

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