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to ask for advice from anyone who has rented out property

(55 Posts)
headinclouds101 Fri 23-Sep-11 17:20:19

Sorry to hijack AIBU - need to make a very quick decision and would welcome comments from anyone who has rented out property - or indeed the perspective of anyone themselves renting privately.
We have to rent out a house we have inherited but can't sell at present. Must decide quickly between tenants A - couple with a small baby - they are on low wages but can afford the rent while she is on mat pay. Concern is if 5 months down the line she gives up work (or indeed goes back to work but has childare costs ) he would not be able to afford on own.These people really need to find somewhere to live fairly soon.
Tenant B a 40ish single guy - steadyish though not especially well paid job. He is already in rented house that he does not have to leave in a hurry- but ours is much nearer his place of work. Slight concerns are that he has been in debt in the past - he was up front about this as it would probably come out in a credit check. Also pehaps unfairly , concerns about his lifestyle if he is single man.
I know that nobody can make the decion for us - but would greatly welcome any thoughts as OH and I have been going round in circles. We live too far away from the property to meet them - so no "gut" feelings. The agents favour the man as his situation is not as likely to change in six months as the couple - also he has an established history in private renting. However we don't want to be "pushed" by them.
In particular I would like to know if a joint tenancy of an unmarried couple is likely to cause any more problems than a single tenancy. The agency we were using indicated that it might - but were woolly about why.

slavetofilofax Fri 23-Sep-11 17:38:39

The agency may have been wooly because if they do default, they have to chase two people instead of one, so it makes their job harder.

Have you been able to see references? That would help me a lot if I were in your position.

I rent out property, but everything is done through an agency so I don't know as much about it as I should, but personally, I would rather go for the family. They are likely to want a long term home, and there is nothing to say that the single man won't get made redundant, or meet a girl and decide to move.

ViviPru Fri 23-Sep-11 17:42:55

Yes, as a landlord myself, it would purely come down to the references, and credit checks - have they been done yet? Or are they done once you've chosen one? I can't remember, we had a clear frontrunner when we let.

Just read that back - not very helpful really, sorry OP hmm

ElsieMc Fri 23-Sep-11 17:43:24

I rented for a year or two and we were good tenants with Landlord even reducing rent for the second year. We had a dog which was a bit of a no-no, but landlord seemed happy to accept this.

Some colleagues let their properties out and the truth was there was never ever a safe bet. The worst tenants my colleague ever had were police officers.

As a tenant, I see the house as my home and look after and treat it as such. However, our Landlord did the dirty bigstyle on us. Our rent was quite high and included utilities as specified on the Rental Agreement (private arrangement).

We then started getting letters addressed to him from the mortgage company (he was working abroad). I rang and said I was the tenant, they said they knew nothing about me and although they could not tell me anything I realised he was in arrears. We then started getting threatening phone calls for him from loan companies. We then got a letter from the council saying we had to pay the council tax when we had already!

It ended up with the Council having to reach a decision upon this and they decided we had already paid to our Landlord using our documentation as evidence.

We made an offer for the house to avoid further hassle although we spent a fraught afternoon with his ex-wife who was emptying the house of furniture etc because she would be getting half. As she drove away she shouted that she wasnt giving him a penny and she was keeping the lot! What goes around, comes around.

MoreBeta Fri 23-Sep-11 17:54:26

Ask both the single man and the couple to put up 1 month deposit (to be put in the Tenancy Deposit Scheme) and to pay 2 month rent in advance with a standing order so you always have at least 1 month rent plus deposit in advance. That is a test to see how much real money they have.

Whoever agrees gets the tenancy. Frankly, anyone who does not have 3 months rent ready in a deposit account (or cannot get it from parents) is not a credit worthy tenant.

Sorry to sound harsh but I have been asked for 6 months rent in advance several times before because of my unusual credit status.

MoreBeta Fri 23-Sep-11 17:59:29

Also make sure you only sign a 6 month fixed term tenancy agreement and make sure the agent/you issues a Section 21 Notice to Quit in writing on the day they sign the tenancy. That will speed up the process if you need to evict them with a Posession Order.

headinclouds101 Fri 23-Sep-11 18:01:22

Hi - the references/creit checks are done once we have chosen one prospective tenant - sadly cannot do both at the same time as the prospective tenant has to pay a non refundable fee to be checked. So it is not possible to compare references. If references come out ok for one then we really have to say yes - can't really change mind once agency have taken the fee.
If references not good can then move on to other person if they are still interested.
We hope to let it out for the medium term - really until the economy picks up a bit and we can sell. it is in a nice but quite economically depressed part of the country
Elsie - sorry to hear of you bad experience

FabbyChic Fri 23-Sep-11 18:07:31

You can get housing benefit for the first tenants, why wouldn't you? Its guaranteed income.

I'd take the family they are more than likely to keep the place cleaner.

FabbyChic Fri 23-Sep-11 18:08:09

Two months in advance is extreme, standard is one months deposit and it is no longer called a deposit, and one months rent in advance, rent payable in advance monthly via direct debit.

headinclouds101 Fri 23-Sep-11 18:27:43

Thanks Fabbychic - I think the agency are slightly disposed against the couple because they fear they may end up on benefits once the maternity pay runs out. Apparently the problem they have with this is that benefits are paid in arrears and the rent is payable in advance - the agent said this can cause problems.
I would have thought that the flipside is that it is guaranteed income - is it not paid straight to the landlord? Sorry I have no idea how this works.

featherbag Fri 23-Sep-11 18:41:45

MoreBeta - I have to say if a prospective LL asked me for what your are suggesting and issued a S21 on the day the tenancy was signed, I'd say thanks but no thanks and run as fast as I could! Those terms are NOT reasonable! And I certainly don't have 3 months rent to spare in the bank, yet here I sit in our spotless rented house, beautifully (yet neutrally) decorated at our own expense, with the rent paid on time (actually 3 weeks before it's due, every month) , all the bills up to date (in credit) and the garden in an immeasurably better state than when we moved in thanks to the hard work and cash of my DH and I! So I would say that despite my unworthiness by your standards, my DH and I are dream tenants!

OP, I would go for the family - simply because they will find it much, much more hassle to move on than a single bloke, and are therefore more likely to try their best to make a tenancy work. The rent will always get paid, even if it is eventually by HB, although there's no guarantee that will be the case.

Dictat Fri 23-Sep-11 18:43:24

DH is a private landlord with over 10 years experience. He would go for the single man as it is easier to physically kick a single person out of a property and change the locks for not paying rent, than it is a family. Of course, hopefully it never comes to that, and I would certainly not encourage it as an immediate remedy, but the court system is a nightmare and sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands to get what is rightfully yours back in a timely fashion.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Fri 23-Sep-11 18:46:34

Single tenants have fewer legal rights than families? shock

featherbag Fri 23-Sep-11 18:48:08

Dictat, I'd be careful with that advice, that last sentence sounds distinctly like acting illegally!

sb6699 Fri 23-Sep-11 19:02:54

MoreBeta - are you my LL? He issued a S21 when we moved on saying it was just formality and he would still have to give us 2 months notice from rent day as per our contract.

Have just received a letter from the LA telling us he's not renewing and wants us out in 3 weeks!

Hardly acceptable practice and we are seeking recourse.

Dictat - you are not allowed to change the locks. You have to go through the proper legal channels to evict ANY tenant.

Lucyinthepie Fri 23-Sep-11 19:11:09

Join this forum and ask them. Landlords Forum
Some of the advice you are getting here isn't great really, but on that forum they say it how it is.
Re Housing Benefit, this is a big problem for landlords, because it has to be paid direct to the tenants (in normal circumstances) and if they decide to keep it then you can't get it redirected until they are 8 weeks in arrears. Then, if they are on very low income, you'll be pretty stuffed trying to get the arrears out of them. And then the fun start with deciding to go for the devil you know and let them stay, or pay the cost of evicting them and starting again.
Whatever you do, take out Landlord's insurance immediately. Get yourself some cover for legal fees in case of problems and lost rent in case of non-payment. But bear in mind that it can be difficult (I'm not sure, maybe impossible?) to get that level of cover if your tenants aren't working.

hugglymugly Fri 23-Sep-11 19:12:21

It's a difficult situation, especially as you haven't met them.

We've rented out to students, a single parent with a teenager, retired people, people receiving housing benefits. All of which might have been red-flags, but none have given or are giving us problems. I think it's because they want to make it work. But we live very close, so have built up a good landlord/tenant relationship. Our agency finds us tenants and look after the legal aspects for us, but the tenants contact us direct if there are problems.

I think my gut feeling, on the limited amount of information, would be to go for the couple&baby. They'd have more motivation to make it work, and although they might have to find financial resources so also could the single man given the current job situation.

sb6699 Fri 23-Sep-11 19:12:41

Oh, and you still have to wait for the S21 to expire before you can start court proceedings anyway.

I dont have 3 months rent sitting in a disposable account but have never missed a payment in 5 years of renting.

I would go for the couple, they are less likely to want to move again in a hurry and if she decides not to go back to work they may be entitled to HB to help with the rent.

Lucyinthepie Fri 23-Sep-11 19:15:48

p.s. It is becoming more standard practise to issue S21 at the start of an assured shorthold tenancy.
SB6699, I have a feeling your landlord is acting illegally, even though he issued an S21 at the start of your tenancy, so maybe ring Shelter and check? Or join the forum I linked to above and ask, they help tenants as well. In fact, a look through their threads often answers your question before you answer it.
Dictat is talking about acting illegally, but some landlords do it. I acted illegally once, taking back possession of one of my flats after the tenant had vacated without telling me. Fortunately I got away with it, but if he'd come back I could have been in all sorts of trouble.
I'd probably suggest using an agent for your first tenancy, and maybe taking over the tenant once you've got a bit more experience. Check the letting agents carefully with other landlords first if you can though, some letting agents are absolute crap!

MoreBeta Fri 23-Sep-11 19:21:13

Yes, issuing S21 at the beginning of a tenancy is standard practice where letting agents are managing a property. There is nothing illegal or unethical about it. The notice merely states that the LL wants the property back at the end of the tenancy period.

I am not a LL but a private rented tenanct of over 25 years standing. As a result, I know more than most letting agents and LLs do.

Dictat Fri 23-Sep-11 19:34:58

Sorry. As a new user of MN, I do not want to banned for suggesting illegalities. I am simply relaying what my DH would say - possession is 9/10 of the law - and if it belongs to us, then he would say that we have every right to secure our possession back.
His argument is that some laws only survive because of the vocal minority - it doesn't mean that they are morally right - and hopefully, if enough people stand up against them, then they will eventually be changed for the better.

tyler80 Fri 23-Sep-11 19:42:30

"His argument is that some laws only survive because of the vocal minority - it doesn't mean that they are morally right - and hopefully, if enough people stand up against them, then they will eventually be changed for the better."

Landlords like your DH are part of the problem.

FabbyChic Fri 23-Sep-11 19:45:23

Benefit is paid in arrears you are correct, but you always get it if it is paid to the agent direct. Remember you also hold their deposit.

FabbyChic Fri 23-Sep-11 19:46:22

When I was on ESA my HB was paid to the landlord, it is guaranteed income rightly as you say, my HB was paid to the landlord, and even though I work now, I do get a small amount of HB £16 a week and that is also paid to the landlord with me paying the rest.

Dictat Fri 23-Sep-11 19:46:48

What problem is that Tyler80

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