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Any landlords about? I need some advice...

(44 Posts)
Intransige Thu 04-May-17 18:20:55

We are planning an extension. As it will involve remodelling most of the interior of the house, we plan to move out for (probably) six months while we do it and rent nearby.

Obviously a six month tenancy isn't great from a landlord's perspective, with reletting fees, risk / cost of vacant weeks etc etc. And on top of that we have a pet and young children!

The local rental market isn't scarily competitive, but good places do move fast and we have a relatively small search area as we want to be close to home to keep an eye on the build.

What would be reasonable to offer in order to make us appealing prospective tenants? I don't want to pay extra unnecessarily, of course, but I also want to be fair to the landlord.

Obviously we will be upfront about our plans, but I'm worried that will mean we can't find a rental at all sad

So, if you are a landlord what would you ask for in our situation?

specialsubject Thu 04-May-17 18:49:14

If it were me - obviously I'd prefer a longer term tenant but I'd prefer anyone to an empty property!

Kids - no issue. Pet - cat damage, dog damage and disturbance. Apparently asking for a higher pet deposit now makes pet damage into wear and tear, so I would be nervous about that. Not sure what the solution is though.

Plus all the usual checks - right to rent, affordability and so on.

Intransige Thu 04-May-17 19:14:11

Thanks special. Do you think it would help if we offered to pay for more than the usual number of months upfront? Or perhaps to cover reletting fees?

Indaba Thu 04-May-17 19:32:22

As a landlord there are various fixed costs you pay despite length of tenancy e.g. Referencing. So it's relatively more expensive the shorter the tenancy, because of the fixed cost element. So, offering to cover extra costs would help. Plus offering to pay full rent upfront in a lump sumwpuld help. Landlords love a lump sum! However, actually the issue may be with the agent. The time consuming part for them is at the start of the tenancy: they have to do a lot of work. When that time is averaged out over a 12 month tenancy it's not too bad but it's v labour intensive for them if its a short one. So often they will deter short tenancies. In London there are specialist agents and properties that specialise in short tenancies, But and it's a big but, and I speak now as a family that rents a lot too: your building work will probably over run, sorry but it will. You could get a normal AST contract for 12 months: by law you can serve notice after 6 months and thus exit after 8 months.

Intransige Thu 04-May-17 20:01:23

Thanks Indaba, that's really helpful. A lump sum would be possible as we've budgeted for rent in the extension cost. We're not in London unfortunately.

Approximately how much are the fees? In the past as a tenant I've had fees passed on to me for referencing, are those different or does it just vary by agent whether landlord or tenant pays? I don't trust letting agents very much (bitter past experience) and I doubt some are above charging twice for the same thing confused

I do expect the building work to overrun! We have a 3-4 month build estimate so six months already includes 50-100% time contingency. And we will be paying for a project manager to help contain it as well. Fingers crossed!

specialsubject Thu 04-May-17 20:06:12

Hate to say it, but lump sum in advance is now a red flag as it is a drug den tactic. Not for a moment saying that is you !

With my agent, tenant pays referencing and we both pay over a weeks rent for the tenancy agreement. Fee is flat nationwide so I doubt they notice in London but we do.

Indaba Thu 04-May-17 20:18:33

Ooops: maybe just outed myself😀 😲Ok, maybe refencing not a good example but say inventory would be a better example of a fixed cost.

Intransige Thu 04-May-17 20:40:40

It's a minefield! Thank you both, this is really helpful.

So. No extra deposit for the pet, no lump sum as we don't plan to start a new horticultural business wink We will offer to cover the landlord's portion of the reletting fees. And emphasise affordability etc, hopefully that will help.

Our pet insurance does come with third party liability and we would obviously also have some kind of insurance for the rental. Do you think that would help re the pet issue? Although in my experience landlords are either ok with pets or they aren't, I guess that's not the major sticking point?

venys Thu 04-May-17 20:48:51

Offer to pay both incoming and outgoing inventory. I am wondering if you can get long term but flexible let's through Air BnB??

specialsubject Thu 04-May-17 20:49:14

I'd rent to you for that post alone....smile

Those are useful points to make to show you understand the landlord concerns and can mitigate them. Plus you are normal adults who have run a home and so will notice when things need fixing, and report them.

Most ads say no pets but it is always worth a try with that info. Provided it isn't forbidden by the freehold, of course.

purpleladybird Thu 04-May-17 20:52:17

Actually, agents love short tenancies as they can charge the landlord and new tenants fees again. The higher the turnover the better.

I know you are trying to be a good, moral citizen but letting the landlord know your plans but do you really need to? I would just say I am looking for a six month let.

The pets will be the issue. If the extra deposit isn't the way to go any more then perhaps offer to pay a bit extra and offer some reassurances - and say you'll have the carpets cleaned.

4yoniD Thu 04-May-17 21:01:17

I did exactly this and got lucky - found a place locally with a little sign in the window. It wasn't listed with any agents, and they didn't want long term rentals, but were happy to make a little bit of money by renting it out now and then. Maybe worth looking in unusual places or maybe air bnb etc rather than the letting agencies which have "serious" letters wanting long rentals?

Lucisky Thu 04-May-17 22:01:36

Are you really sure you need to move out? We had major remodelling and a large extension built recently. It was difficult at times but we managed, although sleeping in a bedroom with no interior walls, just plastic sheeting, was interesting. You get used to the dust. The advantage would be you can keep an eye on the builders and you would save so much money. We put our furniture in storage and our build time was six months.

Intransige Thu 04-May-17 22:19:08

Aw thanks, special smile Hopefully we can also find an agent who is willing to pass the info on to the landlord.

We will also look at holiday lets and airbnb venys, but from what I've seen so far they tend to be a bit more expensive, although we aren't yet to the point of trying to book somewhere specific and negotiate a better rate for a longer stay of course. I will also look in the windows of the local shops, thank you for the tip 4yoniD!

Does anyone know about potential downsides of Airbnb or similar for this kind of thing? The advantage I can see to an AST is it protects both landlord and tenant over the course of a let that is more than the average holiday, in case something goes wrong. I'm not sure what the standard Airbnb terms cover though, and obviously that would be a more flexible option with no issues about the short tenancy.

purple I know what you mean about just asking for a six month let and not sharing more info. I do want to be upfront about the temporary nature of it though - it's probably a bit silly but I rented for nearly 20 years before we bought this place and I've had some great landlords, so making sure we don't mess the next landlord around feels like the right thing to do. I'm also terrible at keeping secrets so it would probably come out anyway!

savagehk Thu 04-May-17 22:21:31

We're in practically the same situation except for the pet.
The one agent I've seen charges the landlord one month's rent plus vat, and the tenants around £400 (assuming two names on leases).

Intransige Thu 04-May-17 22:31:17

Lucisky we definitely want to move out. It's a good point and we have considered staying, but we've concluded that it's worth the extra money to move out.

The main reason is the kids - they're both under five. The oldest is a rubbish sleeper, and an overthinker. I'm not sure she would cope terribly well if we stayed in the house while 75% of it was dismantled! Also I have asthma triggered by dust, so probably not good for me either.

bojorojo Fri 05-May-17 01:15:56

I have taken 6 months rent up front from an older lady who was in between houses. No drugs concerns around here and I said thanks very much. A reference from a decent employer tends to get rid of worries too. Lots of my tennants work for the NHS locally.

Regarding your pets. I think you will have to discuss with potential landlords but it might be difficult to get a house with a cat flap. Do you need one? A red flag for me would be dog owners who go out to work for hours leaving the dog to destroy the house. I would want to know what the dog care arrangements are. I would expect a tennant to put right any damage from children or pets and not argue!

scaryteacher Fri 05-May-17 01:59:45

My house is cat friendly and has cat flaps already installed! The six months wouldn't bother me if you were good tenants.

cleanlaundry Fri 05-May-17 02:12:29

Yearly contract with a get out clause at 6month? Can't remember what it's called. Basically after 6 months either you or the landlord have a right to vacate the property if you wish

OlennasWimple Fri 05-May-17 02:18:40

i wouldn't automatically think that a lump sum equated to a drug den in the making, especially as a family with two small DCs and pets

OlennasWimple Fri 05-May-17 02:19:48

Break clause, cleanlaundry?

Intransige Fri 05-May-17 08:44:34

Ah that's interesting re the rent upfront. It sounds like it's something we could approach with the agent with a bit of context, whilst not looking shifty?

We don't need a cat flap and DH is here all day, I will make sure those points are both clear.

Thank you! This is such a helpful thread.

CountMagnus Fri 05-May-17 08:53:13

Landlords may be more amenable to a 6 month tenancy if it ends at a time when the property will be easier to let - so maybe try to avoid the tenancy ending Nov / Dec / Jan time.

cleanlaundry Fri 05-May-17 08:56:19

Olennas - yes that's it!

Intransige Fri 05-May-17 09:10:03

That's a great point, CountMagnus. And should hopefully work with trying to do the building work in Spring/Summer for weather and light.

clean, I think break points in a standard AST just mean you can give notice, which would mean a minimum of eight months tenancy?

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