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Need advice on negotiating new rental agreement - help, wise MNers!

(26 Posts)
MrsMerryHenry Tue 02-Jun-09 22:56:52

We're looking to rent a house soon but will have to look at properties that are slightly higher than our budget. However I am aware that I can negotiate over the price...can I have your good stories, please?! What can I negotiate over, and how?

- length of contract
- price
- would it be appealling to offer to gently improve a rather manky-looking garden? Might a landlord (after viewing photos of our current, beautiful garden) be inclined to let us off a few pounds? I don't mean full-scale landscaping, just planting nice shrubs and flowers, and making sure it all stays tidy and pretty.

Anything else?

EvenBetaDad Tue 02-Jun-09 23:07:47

Offering to guarantee to stay for a year with no break clause on either the landlord's side or your side of the tenancy agreement is usually quite a good start.

I would not offer to do much around the garden and house - without a really long tenancy agreement in place.

MrsMerryHenry Tue 02-Jun-09 23:09:45

Wow, just 12 months would make that much difference to a landlord? Clearly the rentals market has changed since I was a stylish slummy student. I always assumed a year was standard.

nevergoogledragonbutter Tue 02-Jun-09 23:12:06

i think 6 months is standard.

EvenBetaDad Tue 02-Jun-09 23:12:55

No a 6 month tenancy is standard.

A landlord with just a 1 month void after every 6 month tenancy is losing a lot of income and paying a lot of commisison to agents to fnd new tenants. Good landlords like tenants who stay and pay. Tenants are tricky to find at the moment and rents are falling.

I got 10% knocked off by offering to stay 1 year on a house I just rented.

terramum Tue 02-Jun-09 23:15:32

Keeping an eye on what properties stay un-rented for longer than others might give you some bargaining power, especially if the local area is well stocked in rented accomodation.

MrsMerryHenry Tue 02-Jun-09 23:16:02

Brilliant. 10% is a lot of money. That is SUCH good news, chaps!

Dragon - just posted a reply on the other thread. Do you have a buyer, then?

MrsMerryHenry Tue 02-Jun-09 23:16:35

I'd love to do that, terramum, but where we're going good places get snapped up in seconds.

nevergoogledragonbutter Tue 02-Jun-09 23:17:20

keep up, i replied ages ago.

MrsMerryHenry Tue 02-Jun-09 23:18:56

<<sticks out tongue>>

Seen my reply yet?

(was going to post a link to a googled picture of someone doing a moony at you, but they really weren't very nice I'll spare you the unpleasantness)

nevergoogledragonbutter Tue 02-Jun-09 23:26:45

i think the gardening suggestion will only work for the loveliest of landlords.

JimmyMcNulty Wed 03-Jun-09 13:53:07

We've been renting a new place since Christmas. Landlady was asking £1400 pcm, we are paying £1250pcm, plus she put in laminate flooring throughout downstairs on our request (carpet was extraordinarily manky). We did specify a year's no-break contract, but she was keen on that too.

We have always been quite, er, ambitious with what we have asked for though. When we viewed our last place we said it would need too much work and weren't going to offer, but it turned out the landlord owned a building company too, and asked us to tell him what we wanted done. So we came up with a list: new floor throughout, repainting, knocking wall down between living and dining rooms, new appliances and cupboard fronts in kitchen, returf garden and put a shed in. He did it all and agreed to £100pcm off the asking rent (this was 3 years ago).

Obviously it depends on who your prospective landlord is and what is important to them. Play to your strengths - have they had sharers in before who have caused probs with neighbours (ours had)? So would probably be keen to get a family. We told our landlord we were very boring and didn't have loud parties into the early hours (true). If you can get great references, say so straight away.

So the moral of my story is, you can't lose out by asking! All they can say is no. Our philosophy is to ask for everything we want up front, at the point where we have the most power, and then once agreed we just get on with things and cause no trouble in return. IME it is much harder to get anything once you have signed.

EvenBetaDad Wed 03-Jun-09 15:44:29

JimmyMcNulty - yes that is our view too.

We have rented for 25 years and we always have done as much research on landlords as possible beforehand and decide if we want them before we even offer. Then we set out want we want up front and be prepared to walk away if we do not get it.

Offering certainty and stability and emphasising we do not have pets, do not smoke and have a quiet low key lifestyle with no long periods away from the propery and having a good relaionship with previous landlords who are pepared to pick up the phone and give a verbal reference is also good. We tell our prospective landlords about our life and how we live and our backgrounds so they can see what kind of people we really are.

We also comply strictly with the lease terms and ensure that they know they will be able to show the property at the end for 1 - 2 months so they can get another tenant in and not have a void.

Like you we do not accept poor quality or substandard accomodation though and ask for repairs and repainting if necessary. Long stable leases with good tenants are a big plus for any landlord.

Agree it is no good asking for stuff after the lease is signed.

scaryteacher Thu 04-Jun-09 08:10:27

How do you research a landlord? As I rent out my home whilst we are abroad, I find that quite scary.

As to the original question, ask if they'll take less rent. My tenants pay asking price, but I haven't increased their rent since they've been there, as oil prices went through the roof, and I know the Council Tax is expensive. However, I am going to live in the property again when HM Govt send us home, so my interest is in having the house lived in, whilst we're away; not covering the mortgage or turning a profit.

EvenBetaDad Thu 04-Jun-09 08:29:45

Landlord research is not sinister.

First, I check they own the house by downloading the Land Registry file for £3.00 online, it also tells me wether they have a mortgage, whether there are any other charges and what they paid for the house if bought since 2000. I then work out whether my rent will cover the likely mortgage.

I then ask the agent what the landlord's personal circumstances are, what their job is and where they work. I then check they are on the electoral roll and Google them. I also checked Companies House records on my most recent landlord. You would be amazed what data is freely available on the internet, all perfectly legal, ethical and above board and accessble without a person's specific permission. If I really wanted I could go and check them out on, Facebook and so on.

It is no more than the data they will find when they access my credit record. Landlords of course regard it as a personal affront to be asked to be allowed to search their credit record but think nothing of demanding it from me as a tenant.

Anyway, I just build up a picture of landlord to see if they are financially stable. That is the only reason I do it for. If I get uncomfortable at any stage or the landlord is evasive or their story does not fit the facts, I just walk away. Nothing to be frightened of.

Good approach you take on the rent by the way, get full asking and then just keep the tenant without jacking the rent up year after year.

scaryteacher Thu 04-Jun-09 08:42:43

I knew there was a reason I won't be included on the public extract of the electoral register. Nor am I on Facebook, Bebo or anything like that. There's not much on me on Google either, or my dh.

I note your point about the mortgage...but we bought in 1992 and have upped our mortgage since - does the Land Registry tell you how much mortgage there is?

I wouldn't be happy about my agent telling anyone where I lived or what dh does for a living; but that's why we only give our correspondence address rather than where we actually are. HMG does do some things right!

It's not really an approach to the rent. My house is a older house, and needs heating so it doesn't get damp. The tenants are pensioners, albeit the ex Lloyds name variety, and were finding the oil bills quite high. I prefer that they heat the house and keep it dry so I don't have to deal with damp problems. The rent money gets reinvested in the house for the most part, as the mortgage is paid irrespective of the rental income. If we stay abroad for another 4 years, then I'd like to keep them as tenants for that time as for me they are ideal.

EvenBetaDad Thu 04-Jun-09 09:35:05

For a brief time it was possible to find out how big the mortgage was as the Land Registry put the relevant documents on the web but there was a lot of fraud and they took them down.

I could not find out where you were actually living obviously and I understand why you would not want me to know that. We rented from an HM Forces officer and he was posted abroad so we felt very comfortable with that and we sent all correspondence to his parents. We knew he was financially stable in a stable job and obviously very trustworthy. He tuned out just as we expected - a great landlord.

TBH from what you have said above and the little I could find out myself, I would be very happy renting from you. Your house sounds like the sort of thing we might rent in fact. smile

EvenBetaDad Thu 04-Jun-09 09:36:02

He turned out just as we expected - a great landlord.

terramum Thu 04-Jun-09 12:08:40

Finding out if the property has a mortgage is also useful so you can ask for proof that the landlord has permission to let the property from the mortgage company. If they don't have permission it leaves the tenant in a VERY vulnerable position (and I speak from experience here sad)

scaryteacher Thu 04-Jun-09 20:52:33

TBH that's why I employ an agent to deal with all this sort of thing; it's hard doing it from abroad.

Do people really rent out without permission from their mortgagor? I wouldn't have dreamed of doing that.

EBD - the house is great, if you like Cornwall!!

terramum Thu 04-Jun-09 21:57:17

Yes unfortunately they do scaryteacher. Our 'delightful' landlord also didn't pay the mortgage for the whole of our tenancy. Not fun to find out 7 months into a 12 month tenancy that you have no valid contract and could therefore be evicted at a moments notice because of a repossession hearingshock

scaryteacher Thu 04-Jun-09 22:32:41

My agent would not have taken on the house without seeing permission from our mortgagor for us to gets what you pays for I suppose.

terramum Thu 04-Jun-09 22:46:37

The agent believed the landlord and we had a signed document from them stating that the landlord had permission to rent and we stupidly believed it sad. They couldn't have cared less about what we went through. If I had the funds I'd sue the pants of them and the landlord for what we went through angry. Our solicitor who helped represent us at the repossession hearings said we had a case...but unfortunately you can't get legal aid for compensation cases.

MrsMerryHenry Fri 05-Jun-09 00:06:24

Wow, such great advice here. Think we may have found our house, and EvenBeta, you have been brilliant. I will do my research tomorrow and start the negotiation process. There are things I'd like them to do to the house before we move in, so I now feel much more confident about asking upfront.

Thank you!!

terramum - so sad for you.

ABetaDad Fri 05-Jun-09 00:14:44

terramum - we have ofen asked agents to provide proof the landlord is permitted to rent the property out. None ever will. They just say "oh yes, we have a letter from the landlord". Yes you could have sued in small claims court and represented yourself.

We got stung once like you in the last housing crash and hence we started doing intensive landlord research after that.

MrsMerryHenry - Good Luck!

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