Getting the Rented Property You Want

Getting the Rented Property You Want Every Time

Most tenants seem to not understand what a landlord or letting agent is looking for from them. It never seems to have occurred to them.

And as a result, many people fail to secure the property they want. So they spend far too many evening and weekends going to viewings only to keep missing out to other candidates. It is frustrating and annoying.

And yet there are so many ways they could help themselves, so many ways to push themselves to the front of the queue and ensure they get the choicest properties.

Start by putting yourself in the landlords’ shoes.

The most obvious thing – and which 98% of tenants don’t seem to understand – is that us landlords do not want to spend our time stuck in a traffic jam going to endless viewings in the evenings or weekends (and it is usually at such unsocial times!).

Nope. Believe it or not, we have lives too, we have things we would rather be doing. We want to find a good tenant fast and get our evenings and weekends back as soon as possible.

So here is something that all tenants should do: To each viewing, take a copy of your last three months’ bank statements that proves that you can afford the rent on the property, ideally together with something that proves your ID – the best being a passport or new style driving license (the type with your photo on it).

If you go to a viewing and you really like the property, tell the landlord or letting agent you would like to rent it and tell them that you can afford it. Show them your bank statements to prove this.

Obviously, your bank statements must show a healthy financial position with enough income coming in and it should be comfortably in credit each month. No one will be impressed if the statements shows you are hugely in debt and struggling to pay the bills each month. (If that is your position, then maybe you need to set your sights lower and look at less expensive homes to rent).

If you have little income and are relying on a guarantor to pay the rent, you must show the landlord the same financial information from the guarantor. If the guarantor will not give you copies of their bank statements, then something to prove the fact they own their home will be a useful alternative.

Also, in all cases, if you have a great credit score, get a copy of that printed too. (You can apply to get a copy online at one of the three main credit agencies, though they will want to sign you up to their paid monthly service, so just get the free report and remember to cancel the monthly subscription).

If you are just starting a new job and have a new contract of employment, show them that too, especially if it is your first high-paying full time position.

In my experience, 98% of applicants don’t do any of this.

It is incredible that they don’t, as showing they can comfortably afford the rent is the main thing that a landlord or letting agent wants to see from an applicant. (The second, is some assurance that the tenant will look after their property well, so a reference from a previous landlord will help).

So get prepared and have these things with you when you go to a viewing. Put yourself ahead of other applicants.

You may still have to complete an application form and have a credit check done, but that is just administrative follow-up. If you come prepared you will have already put yourself ahead of others.

There is lots more advice for you in my book – see the links below.

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We advise a range of organisations including banks, building societies, local authorities, social housing providers, institutional investors and insurers. We help them develop and improve their services and products for private landlords and tenants. David Lawrenson, founder of LettingFocus, also writes for property portals, speaks at property events and is regularly quoted by the media. See: David Lawrenson in the Media.

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