12 month's rent in advance

Hi,

I have a potential tenant with family turned down by estate agents because they don’t have a job due to COVID. However, they have savings to pay for 12 months rent and are willing to pay upfront.

Is it OK to accept this type of tenancy? What are the risks?

Eagerly awaiting experienced opinions,
-Kiran

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Hi Kiran,

I received a similar offer this year, half the year upfront but the tenant was unable to prove income. In the end, the deal fell through because the tenant had CCJs, I took the view that although the offer was attractive, with the current rules around eviction i.e. 6-month notice, then potential 12 months to remove the tenant through the courts it was not worth the risk, especially in my case, where the tenant show clear signs of not pay debts.

In your situation, you might also ask for a guarantor to cover you if the tenant decides not to pay after their 12 months are up (referencing may also be useful for your final decision).

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Thanks Maryanne. I will wait for the referencing to come through to determine open CCJs or any other red flags.

How are they paying rent where they are at the moment, or aren’t they?

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David122, They have moved out of the house they were renting before and living in temp accomodation at the moment. Their referencing from previous landlord came through. They haven’t missed rent payments monthly.

Be very wary of tenants paying upfront ( unless you have asked international students to pay upfront)
It can come with the joy of ‘growing’ trafficking, unknowing rent to rent, or other illicit activities

I would be very suspicious

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Thanks for your inputs. They are a family with husband wife and 2 kids. While its impossible to believe, it’s better to be cautious.

Pragmatically, Inthis economy when people are losing jobs and being funded by the government what normal family has the money for 12 months rent upfront ( unless they are in the 1% bracket )

Growers are experienced at generating a pseudo tenancy ( family kids etc ) as a front then they take over and the rest is history.

If it sounds too good to be true it usually is !

I would walk away

Lots of people will have 12 months worth of rent in cash, anyone with aspiration to buy a property in near future is likely to. Agree you should be cautious and confirm the source of the savings.

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I took on tenants who had 12 months rent paid in advance (due to inheritance - and desire not to worry about things for a year) Upshot, after 12 months, paid rent for four months - slackened off, arrears now for four months, family split - the inheritance along with the inheritor has flown to new partner leaving parent and kids in property - the abandoned parent wants the children to have a ‘nice Christmas’ so has defaulted rent (lucky Amazon), and there is FA I can do about it because the new laws are protecting the tenant. Hey Ho!

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Thanks Angelina2 for sharing your experience. I appreciate it. I am hearing it loud and clear. While it might be appealing in short term, it’s a PITA in long term. This has helped me arrive at my decision not to let it to them.

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I have been offered 6 months rent on two occasions ,took it, all went well later. Each case on its merits . Check, check and check again

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@Colin3 What were the reasons to take 6 months rent in advance on those occasions?

the tenants just offered it. I never said you must do it. One girl was moving to the area and we just liked her I have been a landlord for 40 years ,just a gut feeling , Her Dad paid the 6 months as there was a bit of competition for the flat. She then found a job up here and no probs. Another couple moving from London sold house in Romania, offered 7 months up front and paid monthly after

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Hi Krian,
If I was you, I would walk away. Living in temp accomodation is a red flag for me. Most tenants who evicted by the landlords will be arranged by the local council with temp accomodation if they have got kids. The referencing from previous landlord might be just the referencing from a friend. Nowadays local councils will tell the family stay in the landlords’ properties until the Bailiff come to evict them, and then go to council to rehouse. And then council will arrange them in tem accomodation.
If they can do that for their previous landlord, they will do for you as well.

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I take no notice of landlords references. The landlord who is glad to get rid of a tenant MAY give a false reference. Do not trust the council either ,they will definitely lie to you to get someone off their list

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We had a tenant with 15 year old offering 12 months due to divorce and low income . Upfront came from house sale but when we looked at it we wondered why tenant was not buying somewhere with the settlement and a small mortgage instead (plenty of work available)
In these cases you need to look into their lifestyle . Perhaps they had other loans as well as
a mortgage?
As a landlord I have learned never to listen to sob stories unless it is a current good tenant
who has had a bit of bad luck

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I think you need to agree the guarantor right at the start of the agreement. You cannot do later

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I had that, too, and it made me suspicious. It sounded too easy and often things never are. People with good honest records, good honest references, using the property for good honest reasons don’t generally have to offer that up.

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Agreed. 12 months’ rent upfront for our tenancy is less than £7k. You certainly don’t have to be in the 1% to have that saved up, and it means 12 months where you aren’t paying rent to be able to save up more.

I’m self employed and we move countries not infrequently so we often do rent in advance. We never had a problem before moving to the UK- our landlord is being a major pita over it.

Makes me shake my head because we’ve never had an issue with a landlord in the past.

Someone who is well off but just doesn’t want the hassle of owning a property can be a really good tenant.

If you do do rent in advance, make sure that you sort the lease out legally so it’s all above level. There’s a risk of the tenant arguing that it was an unprotected deposit. (with a proper lease this won’t happen, but if you just use a standard month to month lease it could be an issue and a headache you don’t want!)