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To think this is shit way of letting out a flat

(56 Posts)
HeadsDownThumbsUp Thu 10-Oct-13 16:15:21

A friend of mine and her DP are having a difficult time finding accommodation. They relocated here recently and their short-term lease - which was supposed to tide them over until they found an appropriate rental property - is coming to an end.

Yesterday they went to view a flat which was perfect for them in every way, and easily affordable. Normal procedure would normally be to have the tenant put down a holding deposit (first come, first served) and then, pending checks and references, sign the lease. This letting agent demanded that all couples write an email explaining their circumstances and basically beg for the flat. The selected tenants then have the privilege of paying a holding deposit. She wrote an effusive email which outlined their employment situation and so on. I can't think of anything which would adversely affect their 'application' but they weren't chosen, and she's very disappointed.

Is this just me, or is this a mental way to let out a flat. It's a rental property. Surely, if you have an adequate income and can pass basic credit checks etc then you should be entitled to put down a holding deposit and enter into a lease agreement. It doesn't seem fair or transparent. Though it's a peripheral concern, it also seems to invite corruption. I can understand a private landlord letting to a preferred couple - but a letting agency? Surely their procedures should be more professional.

With so more and more people relying on private rented accommodation surely this sort of practise shouldn't really be acceptable.


DesperatelySeekingSedatives Thu 10-Oct-13 16:22:17

YANBU I think its stupid and wastes peoples' time. I've gone through similar. LL wanted a few potential tenants to choose from so despite viewing the house first and being the first to make an application for the house we had to go against 3 other tenants. We didn't get the house. A week or so later we got a phone call from the letting agents offering us the house like she was doing us a massive favour. I took great delight in telling her that we were no longer interested as we had found somewhere better. minus the annoying selection process It took a further month of the choosy LL's house standing empty before it was rented. Shame that.

Bearbehind Thu 10-Oct-13 16:25:17

I've heard of this before and, whilst it's not ideal if you are the tenant, it's actually quite sensible if you are the landlord.

A lot of private landlords go through letting agents so chances are it was the landlord reading the emails, not the agents.

If you think about it from the landlords perspective, your friends aren't a good option as you've said they have relocated, the landlord might think they are only renting until they can buy something and therefore the rental will likely be only for 6 months.

It's expensive to constantly change tenants every 6 months so if they find a tenant who says they are in a long term contract in the area or have children in a local school etc, they seem a much better option.

Did you friends explicitly state that this property was not a short term living arrangement for them?

You have made it sound like its a necessary stepping stone as their current lease is due to expire. If they have done the same, that's why they didn't get it.

Beastofburden Thu 10-Oct-13 16:37:02

I don't know. The landlord may have a preference for families who will stay, or conversely for quiet couples because their neighbours ask them to consider this aspect. I think it's reasonable for a landlord to set these preferences, especially if its not a commercial investment for them but their own home, or their sole investment where they are very personally involved. But I don't like the begging thing, that sounds creepy.

I think picking a tenant is a bit like offering a job to someone. I certainly wouldn't take first come first served, I would take the tenants most likely to be a good fit with the neighbours and reliable in terms of looking after the house and paying the rent.

blueraincoat Thu 10-Oct-13 16:39:46

We went through a letting agency to rent a flat for a bit who asked us what we did for a living circumstances etc. They then sent an email to the landlord who said yes an hour later and we paid a holding fee. It's their property and if they want to be picky they can be I guess. If they had made us wait to compare us to other people I may have felt differently but if they want to be picky I can't see why they can't be really, they aren't accountable to potential tenants.

He did however demand we put in writing justifying the reasons we were leaving after he wanted to raise the rent and we gave the required notice to say we would be leaving at end of the lease, all within the guidelines in the lease. I told him to where to go then.

Beastofburden Thu 10-Oct-13 16:43:39

I suspect the two parties see things very differently.

The tenant may feel that their money is as good as anyone else's and that if they can pay, it is nobody's right to make them compete for the flat on any other grounds.

The landlord may feel that there are lots of people who can afford it, that's just the starting point. The issue is who can be trusted to live there, get on with the neighbours, pay the rent, look after the place and resolve disputes fairly. All the more so if the landlord has just one property.

jojane Thu 10-Oct-13 16:49:11

When we looked at this place we are in even though it was through an agency it was the landlord who showed us round as he wanted to meet potential tenants and choose who he rented to. Nothing Formal but I suppose you can tell by chatting to people what sort of people they are, things slip into conversation about future etc (he wanted a long term let) so I suppose we might have mentioned we wanted to buy in 6 months or something, plus we had 2 kids and luckily they were well behaved and not ire usual screaming tantrumming selves!

NoMoreMadCatLady Thu 10-Oct-13 16:49:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Thu 10-Oct-13 16:50:14

They've relocated with a view to staying here permanently. They would prefer to rent than buy, and it would be a long term prospect for them. They're looking for a place that will suit them for 3/5 years, which I think is a pretty reasonable term, and they said so in their email.

I understand that a landlord doesn't have to let to the first person that ambles along, but there's nothing 'undesirable' about them. They're a professional couple in their early 30s. What's not to like?

I understand that landlords might want to specify certain criteria, but instructing potential tenants to "sell themselves" in order to compete with multiple other - similarly well 'qualified' - tenants seems pretty odd to me.

It's the time wasting aspect that annoys me.

TheFallenNinja Thu 10-Oct-13 16:51:37

Seems fair enough, she was told the deal in advance.

sisterofmercy Thu 10-Oct-13 16:52:08

Rental properties are becoming as scarce as affordable mortgages in some areas so people are reduced to competing and gazumping and putting down ridiculously huge deposits and unrefundable fees and all sorts of previously unheard of practices. I can understand a landlord wanting to have a better choice from tenants though but it adds huge stress when home-hunting.

TheFallenNinja Thu 10-Oct-13 16:52:47

Professional couples in their thirties may well not mix well with other residents if they are all retirees in their sixties.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Thu 10-Oct-13 16:54:45

Yeah, I think first come first served is probably fairer. I met her for coffee just after she'd viewed the flat, and she was so happy to have found something that she really wanted - dining kitchen, garden, dishwasher etc.

If the viewing had been cancelled, at least she wouldn't have spent the whole day getting her hopes up.

I understand that landlords showing the flat themselves will form impressions about people when they meet in person. But the application by email thing...It's easy as pie to lie in an email if you're inclined to do so.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Thu 10-Oct-13 16:55:47

I know the area. It's not a retirement block. It's a nice area full of young professional couples, young families and single people.

sparechange Thu 10-Oct-13 16:56:07

If there are lots of people wanting the flat, the landlord has the right to pick the people that are going to be the best tenants
That might mean the ones who are least likely to damage it, most likely to pay the rent on time, and are likely to stay there for the period of time he or she finds more appealing, be that 1 year or 5.

The letting agent is making life easy for themself by getting the prospective tenants to write up their situation themselves, rather than them doing it, but I don't know how else the landlord would pick a tenant if all were in the same position?

HeadsDownThumbsUp Thu 10-Oct-13 16:57:40

But she wasn't told the deal in advance. No one mentioned this on the telephone. She viewed the photos, liked them. I told her that the area would suit her. She turned up ready to verify that she liked the place and prepared to put down a holding deposit.

But when she arrived got told to write a begging email and wait and see.

If they'd told her about this procedure in advance it wouldn't have been as annoying.

Beastofburden Thu 10-Oct-13 17:00:24

True but if you won't find many other people in their sixties renting, so someone exactly like the neighbours wouldn't be an option.

I think the professional approach is to leave the property on the market for say a fortnight, then offer the landlord the choice of all serious and plausible candidates, and then making a decision. No upping the rental offers or paying bigger deposits or any other financial shenanigans.

Beastofburden Thu 10-Oct-13 17:03:53

I'm sorry head but i think that first come first served is not fairest. It is unfair on busy people in full time jobs who have to fit in visits at weekends, and they may be very good tenants.

BrokenSunglasses Thu 10-Oct-13 17:04:13

I don't really see the issue tbh. It's disappointing for your friend obviously, but when people are entering an arrangement with their very expensive property, as well as their finances, it's sensible for them to find someone they feel they can trust, and have a good tenant/LL relationship with.

Maybe the LL didn't want to rent to someone they thought might be having babies soon.

sparechange Thu 10-Oct-13 17:05:32

I can see how annoying it is for her, but that is just a symptom of the overheated market but it might also be that the agent didn't know they would have 2 or 3 people interested.

The landlord might think they can read things into knowing a bit of background about the tenants - single man in 20s= noisy party people, families = more likely to need to redecorate afterwards, but might want to stay for longer, relocating from abroad = more likely to want to envoke break clause or leave after a year, single woman = more likely to call every time anything goes wrong, freelancer = more likely to pay the rent late

Obviously these are massive overgeneralisations but are the sort of things I might want to know as a landlord

Beastofburden Thu 10-Oct-13 17:07:08

Maybe the ll didn't want to rent to someone who was about to have a baby?

If so, that would not be appropriate at all. I think that your friend may have to accept that someone else just looked a bit of a better fit on the day. I would hope it wouldn't be something as private as TTc plans being guessed at.

I suggest your friend asked politely for feedback so she can make a better application next time round. Not least as if the other people drop out, which happens, or they get a similar property in, they will come back to her.

meganorks Thu 10-Oct-13 17:13:46

If there is a lot of interest and competition for a flat I can see why the landlord would want to pick the best tennant. Bit shitty gir them but I can understand from landlords perception

Fyi - what you describe is the norm in Australian cities

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 10-Oct-13 17:14:03

Unfortunately if there are more potential tenants than there are rentals this is par for the course.

It's even worse here in Germany. We were refused from a couple of places because "The square footage isn't large enough for you with a child" "It isn't fair for a child to live in a place with no outside space" - we ended up in a tiny attic flat without so much as a balcony because we happened to find a less fussy landlady confused

VoiceofRaisin Thu 10-Oct-13 17:14:08

YABU: There is no right to rent a place you like and can afford just because you saw it first. Nor should there be. There is much more to a rental agreement than the money - who to rent to is the LL's choice, made on the basis of all sorts of factors.

I suppose now your friend can ask in advance and refuse to view properties where the LL wants to know more about her before she rents her the house. Not sure what kind of LL she would end up with in that scenario.

I don't mean to sound harsh but I am not sure where you get your sense of entitlement from. I am sorry your friend didn't get the house she wanted. I hope she finds another. It's tough finding housing.

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 10-Oct-13 17:14:58

Oh and the laughable "It's too expensive for your budget" - we were renting a more expensive house on less money back in the UK!

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