Standing out from the Crowd - a Guide for Tenants
When we listed our latest residential property on our website, Facebook and Rightmove things went a bit mad in our office. We listed at around 5:30pm on a bank holiday Monday evening and by 11am on the Tuesday we had received 119 requests to view and had taken the advert down. We were thrilled to receive so much interest but then making the decision about who to rent to can be really difficult!
This is not an unusual occurrence. We know things are very difficult for renters in today's market, we have never known anything like it. But, here's some tips to help your application to rent your ideal property successful!
1) Be honest - if you aren't intending to move for another 3 months or have 2 dogs and 5 cats make sure you reveal this when asked. Nothing worse than finding this out later and the whole application falling through! You should also be honest when talking about your job, if you tell the landlord/ letting agent that you have one role and then it turns out you do something completely different or are between jobs then they are very unlikely to rent the property to you. If you are honest about your circumstances from the beginning it is far more likely they will be understanding. If you lie on your application and then fail the credit check you will not receive your holding deposit back.
2) Get in there quick - speaking to our Rightmove account manager this week was very insightful. He said the number one complaint he gets from residential letting agents is the volume of enquiries and how to sift through them. This means many letting agents take the easy (and less labour intensive) route and if the first person to view likes the property and is an appropriate applicant they let it to them and cancel all future viewings. We do not operate like this but if you have a viewing with another letting agent then take the earliest viewing appointment you can
3) Be friendly! It might not make a little bit of difference but it is likely the letting agent might also be managing the property going forwards, always best to get off on the right foot
4) Show up on time - we all know and understand there can be bad traffic or unavoidable circumstances but please let the letting agent know in advance if you are going to be late or can't make it. So often people simply don't turn up for an appointment and then call the office the next day asking for another appointment. If there is a lot of interest in the property we may well say no!
5) Make your application form seem like you're human. If there is more than one party wanting to rent the property it is usually the landlord's decision. In many cases the landlord doesn't get the chance to meet prospective tenants and so they rely a lot on the application forms.
If you have the opportunity tell the landlord a bit about yourselves. Explain why you are moving, assure them you will take good care of their property and tell them about your hobbies (it goes down especially well if you are a keen gardener!). Let them know if you have children at the local school or know one of the neighbours. Flattery can also work - often but not always landlords have an attachment to the house and have put time and effort in to prepare it to rent. You could tell them you like the way they have decorated or that you think the kitchen is really nice. This only works if it's genuine though - don't say to them you love the colour of the living room and then request to change it the week after you move in!
If a prospective tenant attaches a letter to the landlord we will always send this on to them, I know not all agents allow this so make sure you check first.
6) Be polite. Please remember letting agents are humans too and we really don't like having to tell people they have been unsuccessful even though it's part of the job. It is usually not even us that makes the decision on who is chosen. We will often ask you if you'd like us to keep your details and contact you about anything similar. If somebody is rude or abusive when they are told no we are going to be much less inclined to contact them in the future.