Good tenants can al­ways find a home if they come pre­pared

Yorkshire Post - Property - - FRONT PAGE - David Lawren­son

THE Shel­ter re­port on the many prop­er­ties in the pri­vate rented sec­tor be­yond the reach of those on av­er­age in­comes and steep rises in pri­vate sec­tor rents means that times are hard for pri­vate tenants. How­ever, tenants look­ing for accommodation could re­ally help them­selves se­cure a nice home in the pri­vate rented sec­tor if only they pre­pared bet­ter.

Like many ex­pe­ri­enced land­lords and let­ting agents I think I can spot a per­fect ten­ant eas­ily. They are the ones who turn up for their view­ings on time. They will still make the ap­point­ment even if the weather is aw­ful be­cause they know that lots of other ap­pli­cants won’t bother if it’s wet or cold. They know that just by show­ing up, they will get a head start over other ap­pli­cants.

If they don’t speak English very well they bring a good trans­la­tor with them. They don’t need to ring to ask for di­rec­tions as they have al­ready down­loaded a map be­fore they set out. (I think any­one who can’t even bring a map with them may not be able to change a light­bulb, let alone man­age a ten­ancy.

The smart ten­ant ap­pli­cants know what land­lords and let­ting agents want to see. So, if they like the prop­erty, they will make sure to bring with them their pass­port or driv­ing li­cense as proof of ID. They can also show you re­cent bank state­ments to show that they are sol­vent and that money is com­ing in from a job or jobs. If their ad­dress is not shown on the bank state­ment, they will bring a re­cent util­ity bill which shows their ad­dress in­stead. And they will bring a ref­er­ence from a cur­rent and / or pre­vi­ous land­lord.

If they are in work, they may even bring proof of that – this could be a state­ment from an em­ployer stat­ing their em­ploy­ment sta­tus or even salary. RE­ALLY smart ap­pli­cant with good credit rat­ings will have al­ready down­loaded a credit re­port check (which is free from lots of ser­vice providers).

And if their credit re­port is not per­fect they will be happy to ex­plain why.

Land­lords like to see these things be­cause they can see straight away if the ten­ant can af­ford the rent, both now and in the fu­ture.

It means they can stop con­duct­ing la­bo­ri­ous and time con­sum­ing view­ings right away.

Un­for­tu­nately, the pro­por­tion of tenants who bother to bring this kind of in­for­ma­tion is less than 1 in 15, in my ex­pe­ri­ence. This is a shame be­cause se­cur­ing a good prop­erty in the pri­vate rented sec­tor should be sim­ple, es­pe­cially if you have a good track record as a ten­ant and can prove you are who you say you are and that you can af­ford it.

Un­for­tu­nately, with ris­ing rents in the pri­vate rented sec­tor, fraud is also grow­ing. A typ­i­cal and wide­spread fraud is where some­one other than the land­lord some­how gets hold of keys and con­ducts view­ings, tak­ing rent and de­posits from would-be tenants be­fore dis­ap­pear­ing with the money.

So, tenants must also check out the agent or land­lord. Does the agent re­ally ex­ist? Do they have an of­fice or, for on­line agents, are they listed at Com­pa­nies House? If they are a pri­vate land­lord, un­less the prop­erty was re­cently pur­chased they should be listed on the Land Reg­istry as owner of the prop­erty (it costs just £4 to check this on­line.)

Also, tenants should ask the land­lord for ev­i­dence that they are who they say they are – a driv­ing li­cense and/or a util­ity bill prov­ing own­er­ship would do.

If the prop­erty looks too good to be true, and if the “land­lord” or “agent” is only in­ter­ested in tak­ing cash and has no in­ter­est in the ten­ant ap­pli­cant or in check­ing them out, alarm bells should be ring­ing.

Some pri­vate land­lords may be sur­prised by re­quests to prove their ID, but any de­cent land­lord will be more than happy to show it.

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