How to secure a rental property in a competitive market
ONE in ten. Not the greatest of odds, but it has been said recently that there are 10 potential tenants for every rental property coming to the market.
I’m not sure how scientific these figures are or whether they apply to each and every property, but they are compelling.
After all, a house next to a busy road junction, a sewage farm or a noisy pub never attracts as much interest as one in a scenic position offering close proximity to good schools and public transport. But even if a property is only wanted by yourself and a rival, then the odds are two to one – meaning you still have to prove you would be the better tenant. So how can you tip the odds in your favour?
At Let-Leeds, we let hundreds of properties in Leeds and York every year. As letting agents we are, in effect, landlords on a large scale. The properties vary in size, location, age, cost and type. But the principles behind what make a good tenant remain the same in the minds of all landlords.
Such principles must be remembered by anyone wanting to become the tenant of the property they have just viewed.
First and foremost, it is a matter of security. Landlords want to feel secure when they let their property. They want settled, longterm tenants who will pay the rent on time, treat the property with respect and behave in a way that gives the landlord little or no cause for concern.
Obviously, only time will tell if a landlord’s choice of tenant proves to be the right one. But a would-be tenant can do much to emphasise why a landlord should place their trust in them as opposed to anyone else.
There is one word in the previous paragraph that captures the exact essence of what a landlord wants a tenant to be: settled. In almost every landlord’s mind, the less disruption there is in a tenant’s life then the fewer problems there will be for the property.
So if you are in a committed, long-term relationship, emphasise it when applying for the tenancy. If you are in full-time employment, don’t just mention it: highlight the fact that your job is likely to be there for the next few years, tell the landlord if a promotion is in the offing, refer to how close your workplace is to the property or mention that your employer will happily provide a character reference.
A landlord will also want to know about your track record when it comes to renting, so don’t be backward in coming forward with any references you can muster from your previous landlords. And don’t wait to be asked for them, hand them over at the earliest possible opportunity.
Landlords want to be convinced of a tenant’s suitability. If you are a landlord, suitability not only equals settled. It also means cash flow. If the rent stops being paid, the law can take its course. Landlords, however, do not want to see such a problem develop. They would much rather avoid such unpleasantness by choosing a tenant who will not present such a problem. With this in mind, putting down a large deposit or offering to pay more than one month’s rent in advance can convince a landlord that you would be a safe bet as a tenant. As will highlighting your good credit history. These actions offer no guarantee that you will be the best tenant but they can be persuasive when you are looking to stand out from the queue of other would-be residents.
Such advice will never guarantee you gain the rental home you want. The decision rests with the landlord. But landlords are like the best tenants – they want a settled arrangement that works well for them and the property.
Shelter and other organisations have called for five-year tenancies, arguing that they offer both landlords and tenants security. As such arrangements have not arrived yet; taking the aforementioned steps may be the best way for you to gain the perfect place to live while giving your potential landlord peace of mind.
Luke Gidney is director of LetLeeds, www.let-leeds.com