We are trying to let out our house but the agents have not sent a single person round yet. Has anyone had any success letting their property by other means, maybe advertising in the Sunday papers? If so, I would be very grateful to hear of your experiences / recommendations.
Always just let to friends through word of mouth and have no qualms about dispensing with agents, I was quoted a significant percentage on top so decided to just do it myself with a standard 6 month shorthold assured contact and inventory. Depends if you plan to remain based fairly locally, if not suggest you ask a trusted friend to have a key, keep an eye and act as informal agent.
yes, we advertised in Loot (flats are in London) - the website seemed to get a slightly better rate of response than the paper, and have been lucky so far that the remaining tenants then found replacements when others moved on. Whereabouts is your house?
Dp works in London so can go round there if required without too much bother, but mainly we just send round plumbers etc by phone as necessary. We used to live there so know some local ones, but otherwise use yell.com to find them.
We use a standard assured shorthold tenancy agreement too - you can buy them in e.g. WHSmith.
Do try to take up decent employment and landlord refs before letting, and have gas and electricity inspections done before the tenants move in.
Carolina - thank you for that very useful. Our house is in Wandsworth and we are looking for a corporate/family let rather than a house share, if that makes sense. Will check out the book thanks a lot. Do you insure against loss of rent if someone leaves/doesnt pay?
hmm, yes - deposit is supposed to be 'insurance' against damage really. Rent shd be paid in advance of course, so you shd take action asap if unpaid - that book gives more detailed advice about what to do.
My understanding is insurance against unpaid rent/vacant periods is v expensive, but we didn't get an actual quote so maybe it's not that bad. However, solid tenants with good refs and a reasonable rent should be enough most of the time.
I have had much better luck renting on my own than with agents. I vet the tenants much better than the agents could and always call all the references.
I use a website called www.craigslist.org. They have a london site, so it's worth checking it for potential renters. There are a lot of academics and americans coming over to study for a year. I've found them to be excellent tenants.