What are private landlords looking for in a tenant?

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    What are private landlords looking for in a tenant?

    I know this seems like a no-brainer but I will explain my reasons for this question below. So we are viewing a house tomorrow which, judging from the pictures, is just what we are looking for.

    The ad was on Gumtree and it is a private landlord. But it seems that several people are going to be looking at this place tomorrow (hopefully not all at once, too many people freak me out a bit). So there is going to be a bit of competition. I emailed the landlord to check if he requires a security deposit as some landlords do when there is a lot of demand but he said that its only the normal deposit if we are sucessful. He strikes me like a person who is more interested in the type of people he lets to than money/first come first serve which I think is a good sign. From the pictures it also looks like he really cares about his property (because we do too..My husband is British but I am from Germany and culturally we rent our flat and take a lot of pride in it and look after it) So we are very excited but also a bit nervous as there are so many applicants.

    The place is £575 and at first I wanted to check if he would be happy to knock 25-50 quid off - other properties in this road are a similar price but they are let through agencies - similar size and layout. But if there are so many people I think its pointless to ask. I wanted to see first whether he likes us or not.

    Since this month we have a combined income of 30 k (one part and one full time) but one of us only just started a new job which is a temporary contract of 3 months for the council but they do that for all new employees and is very likely going to be extended. And the other (full time job) is permanent for a reputable local IT company.

    We had a 3 tenancies over the past few years, all with excellent references. Moving was mainly due to relocation to another city and this time because we didn't have much time to decide as we are new to this city and have a cat (this new place seems ok with pets as current owner has a dog). So the current landlord is ok but landlord not too bothered about stuff. Our place is freezing and there are a few things he could do but doesnt want to pay for (temperature in winter is about 13 degrees and heating will be on all the time to maintain 18-20). But I dont wanna turn up and moan about our landlord. He is ok but nothing to call home about. We are just looking for a place to feel homely in.

    We have no bankruptcies or CCJ's but a few defaults (I know the landlord cant see that on a credit check) as we had a few hiccups when we were self employed and always gave rent and utility bills priority. We were in a DMP with Stepchange for a few months (hence the defaults) and now do it ourselves as we are earning too much to get support according to them. We are still paying a few things off but nothing out of our financial budget - we pay way more than we need to in required minimum payments.

    We always got on well with landlords and agencies and got commended about how clean and tidy we keep the place. We do call when there are repairs due but nothing like changing a light bulb or something stupid like that. In the current place the roof is leaking and I think the landlord gets sick of our phone calls but I think a decent landlord would appreciate our calls and fix things like this.

    Obviously a first impression is important and I dont know how we come across but I have reasons to believe that it cant be that bad... We are reasonably well spoken and dressed We dont smoke or play loud music. I am 32 and my husband is 42 by the way.

    So at our viewing tomorrow is there anything we can do to leave a good enough impression to compete with the other potential tenants? I have reasons to believe that he is not as much interested in more money than a decent tenant..So offering more (which I really dont want to) is not the way to go I think.

    So what are landlords (especially private ones) looking for especially when demand is high and there are presumably similar couples to us?

    Forgot to say we are happy to sign up for a longer tenancy!

    #2
    There are many issues here and I will address only one pair

    - There is not much of a culture of haggling rents down. You take it at the rent offered. If no one does for a long time, L will likely re-market at a lower rent.

    - The word CAT. If you are going to haggle on rents I would ask L if he is prepared to take you if you offer £100/month more, and pay a larger deposit given this entity. Don't assume that the current dog is there with consent, but it is a promising sign.

    And no plausible landlord would ever work on a first-come-first-serve basis -- but Landlords who advertise on Gumtree only are usually very stupid anyway.

    When you go tomorrow I would take your bank statements, dress well, arrive on time, take a landlord reference if you have one, don't ask for a discount, and declare the cat. You may want to offer a little extra rent upfront, e.g. the first two or three months on advance, subject to a proper written agreement that mentions this (I would not usually accept this for various reasons, but this L might be attracted by it). Also take along evidence of your job contracts and salaries.

    Some landlords on Gumtree are not all they seem -- keep your eyes open (the "landlord" may be letting a property that is not his to let - either he is a tenant and subletting, or a scam artist with no connection to the property at all -- most are fine - but be wary)

    Comment


      #3
      What are landlords looking for?

      As well as the other things you mention, on reading your nationality, the one thing I was waiting to hear was the line about the landlord being pleased to hear about repairs needed. I had a Swiss tenant some years ago, and he was a b*ggar.

      He laid down the law to me about the length of the lawn when he moved in. He used to call out the electricity board out of hours for non existent faults, and expected to be reimbursed. He alienated my plumber by demanding he arrive the same day, and after all that left the place dirty and garden un-tended.

      My advice? Try not to be quite so anally European about the state of the place, and I'm sure you'll get along fine.

      Comment


        #4
        Well the haggling thing I might only do if he would consider us but I might not do it at all. Some landlords are respond very positive about haggling and almost expect it and some others think its the height of cheek (according to my extensive Google search) so not sure if I want to take the risk at all.

        The dog is very obvious (I will mention the cat anyway) unless the current tenant will lock him away in the cellar and ductape him tomorrow at the viewing.. but yeah if the cat is a problem we would offer a higher deposit

        At the moment we couldnt pay that much in advance .. :-( But deposit and one month upfront is no issue at all. So yeah, I cant score brownie points with that ..

        Comment


          #5
          haha I could start talking about the differences between Swiss and Germans but I can assure you I am not that type of person I just mentioned it here to explain why I wont trash the place but I also have my British counterpart so if he doesnt like Germans maybe my hubby will mellow him..

          The landlord seems to not be the person who currently lives there because last week I accidentally turned up a week too early (oops) and the lady who opened the door was the current tenant and not the landlord :-) But I have rented of Gumtree before and had no issues. But yeah I see where you are coming from.

          Comment


            #6
            Haggling is fine, but probably not at that level. Knocking £25 per month off a rent of £900 I've done before. No problem. Saved me doing more viewings.

            What do Landlords look for in a Tenant?

            Quite a lot is prescriptive, of course, and we don't need to talk about checks, references, ability to pay etc.. Other stuff can be totally subjective... but you have no idea it might be that floats the Landlord's boat, so all you can do is cover the bases... punctuality, appearance, honesty and a genuine interest will all go a long way. Ask some questions that aren't clear... maybe what the Council Tax band is, where's the nearest GP / flower shop / brothel... maybe even what the neighbours are like... just questions that get the other party talking to you in a friendly way.

            Just remember that it's a Landlord's market out there right now... so all the nice properties that are priced realistically will have several Tenants interested and, likely, a level of competition. I'd never be tempted to get into any kind of bidding war... as a Landlord that turns me off, not on. It smacks of desperation and I wonder if people will overextend themselves and eventually end up resenting the extra, so I never consider a higher offer (well, twice now that's happened and I didn't let to those people).

            Comment


              #7
              I had an HMO room only tenant, who qualified as a teacher and went looking for her own flat. She haggled the rent down from £875 pcm to £800pcm so in some cases it seems haggling can work. Personally, as I rent at lowish rates to give me a good choice of tenant I do not allow any haggling even for small amounts.

              Comment


                #8
                £100 per month more for a cat?! That's a bit over the top. My cats spend almost their entire time asleep on my bedding and cause way less wear and tear than us humans do!
                I would say an extra amount on the deposit as insurance would be appropriate

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by judywoody View Post
                  haha I could start talking about the differences between Swiss and Germans but I can assure you I am not that type of person I just mentioned it here to explain why I wont trash the place but I also have my British counterpart so if he doesnt like Germans maybe my hubby will mellow him..

                  The landlord seems to not be the person who currently lives there because last week I accidentally turned up a week too early (oops) and the lady who opened the door was the current tenant and not the landlord :-) But I have rented of Gumtree before and had no issues. But yeah I see where you are coming from.
                  Please do not feel you have to apologise for your nationality or that it is OK for a LL to dislike Germans, or Swiss, or any other nationality. We have some forum members who have a tiresome tendency to extrapolate generalisations/stereotypes from anecdotal evidence at best. Please ignore it.

                  What do LLs want? It depends. It is not always the same thing. LLs who let 6 bedroom houses to students may have different priorities from the LLs of a high-end extortionately expensive flat in central London. The bottom line though is that they want law-abiding, contract-respecting and generally considerate tenants who pay the rent on time and keep the property clean.

                  Good luck with your viewing.
                  'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                  Comment


                    #10
                    One of my standard questions to prospective tenants is what do you think about the rent I have proposed. I am looking to see whether they can easily afford it. If they start to talk about reductions I begin to worry that it's going to be too much of a stretch for them

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Punctuality.
                      Not turning up in a chav mobile.
                      Not being a chav.
                      Ability to hold a conversation or at least have something behind their eyes.
                      Lack of property modification demands on viewings.
                      Low maintenance kind of vibe.
                      Stability.
                      Not asking to sign a years contract when they haven't stayed 1 night.
                      Not asking for a reduction via text message from the advert they've seen prior to viewing the property and addressing me as 'mate'
                      "I'm afraid I didn't do enough background checks apart from checking her identity on Facebook" - ANON

                      What I say is based on my own experience and research - Please don't take as gospel without first checking the gospel yourself.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                        We have some forum members who have a tiresome tendency to extrapolate generalisations/stereotypes from anecdotal evidence at best. Please ignore it.
                        Our supercilious Member is also worth ignoring. The most interesting thing about stereotypes, I find, is that they exist. Yet, there are always exceptions.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Thanks for all the input - seems that people have different opinions on haggling and even on offering a longer contract (the latter I would offer to appeal to the landlord only not because of desperation although I am really not that keen on moving again anytime soon)

                          We can afford 575 of course but who doesnt want a few extra bobs in their pocket? :-) I looked at other houses in the area and even the same road. All the houses there have pretty much the same layout and number of rooms - Maybe the interior varies a bit but 575 is pretty much the maximum rent I could find and apart from him they are all let through agencies which is the reason why I think that he could come down with the price a little bit. Every landlord seems to have a different idea on this and I think I will play it by ear and see how cheerful the chap is :-)


                          Will let you know if we got it!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Typical advice received by Landlords here is 6 month fixed term only, then month-by-month. Therefore, for many Landlords, a longer fixed term is not a desirable thing at all. It is something they end up being wary of instead.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Hippogriff View Post
                              Our supercilious Member is also worth ignoring. The most interesting thing about stereotypes, I find, is that they exist. Yet, there are always exceptions.
                              I agree that my teutonic countrymen can have a tendency to be a bit over maticulous when it comes to rules and accuracy. And some who live here still havent understood that things dont work like that over here... But what do you expect from a person who comes from a country where you get crucified when you dare to hang up your washing in the garden on a sacred Sunday afternoon? ;-)

                              So dont be too harsh on us - there is probably a reason why things run realatively efficiently in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. But after 8 years of living in the UK and being married to a man who is incapable of properly screwing a lid back on to a Nutella jar (night time munchies) I have gotten used to all sorts.

                              So no need to worry about me, the British have already beaten me into shape ;-)

                              One more question: So what is your opinion then on tenants calling up for repairs? Again, I am talking about things like a leaking roof kind of scenario not about getting a light bulb changed.. some comments here have me worried as it seems that tenants should be seen not heard..

                              Comment

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