Have you seen prospective tenant attitudes changed since Covid?

Hi everyone,

Hope you are all doing well. Just wanted to learn from others’ experiences when it comes to prospective tenants’ attitudes and behaviours. I have been a landlord for just under 10 years in SE England, and my last 3 most recent viewing experiences were in August 2022, February 2021 and February 2020, about 100 enquiries in total - and one active right now (April 2023).

I’ve done a bit of basic pattern recognition and quick and dirty analysis, and my simple conclusion is that attitudes and behaviours have declined year on year since pre-Covid. I wanted to see if others had experienced the same and learn from any strategies you might be adopting to improve search efficiency and conversion.

Examples of behaviour I saw less of a few years ago and am now seeing more regularly are:

  • Promising to pay the holding deposit after a successful viewing and then subsequently not (why not be ambiguous and set better expectations as a tenant that you are shopping around?)

  • Not replying after making enquiries - even though I reply back to them within 5 mins of them making the request (why request to view in the first place?)

  • Not turning up for viewings / being severely late (encroaching on other viewings) and offering no apology on arrival or thereafter

  • Requesting discounts of more than 25% after viewing the property, and some asking for it as their opening gambit (if I wanted that price I would list it for that price?)

  • Not reading adverts properly and understanding the location of the flat (prospective tenant cancelled 15 mins before a viewing when they found out the location) and tenant requirements

  • Greater prevalence of relocation agents with a rather abrupt and business-like style for seemingly middle management level workers (can’t they do it themselves?)

  • More demanding and entitled requests / behaviours (e.g. 6 month break clauses, requesting installation of new appliances / blackout blinds, turning on taps and flushing the toilet without asking for permission)

Of course these issues are not unique to me, are annoying at worst, and aren’t new to landlords, Im just seeing this behaviour a lot more frequently than a few years ago. Perhaps it’s due to the cost of living situation e.g. “good” tenants are staying put where they are to ride out the interest rate hikes, or perhaps it’s just a societal evolution, or perhaps it’s a London thing - or a mixture of them all.

Perhaps I am expecting a moral standard of behaviour that just isn’t commonplace in 2023, but it does leave you wondering about how this experience of being a landlord might be in 10 years time. I understand that being a landlord can be considered as being in a privileged position, but by the same token I wish that some tenants would treat us with a little more respect. I wish OpenRent had a feedback mechanism where I could provide detailed feedback for other landlords regarding tenant behaviour so others can be aware.

Welcome any thoughts / strategies - and I do accept the response “C’est La Vie!”

Interesting post! But where could you possibly be in London to have only received 100 replies, total, in three listings in OpenRent - including maddest of months, August 2022!?

Or are you pulling the advert after a short time and a small number of replies, out of your own desire to act respectfully?

I was fortunate enough to have everything rented out pretty quickly each time (within a week to 10 days usually), so then closed off the adverts and marked as let agreed.

I do that and reply to each of the active threads individually to inform each prospective tenant out of respect for their searches.

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It’s definitely true that a lot of prospective tenants don’t read adverts properly. I had one lot who drove over 80 miles to view the property only to discover “to their horror” there was no lift, which had been clearly stated on the ad. Someone else was concerned the property was completely unfurnished, when it had been advertised as such.

Some seemed surprised I’d want to take up references. Could just be naivete or unfamiliar with UK practices.

Hopefully these people learn from their mistakes, as they’re only wasting their own time.


I don’t believe its about tenants morality or fastidiousness. Its about desperation. They are finding it so difficult to rent a place that they are forced to reply to adverts that seek to rule them out just to get on the landlords radar.

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I tend to put it down to naïveté most of the time, and give people a fair chance - but there is commonality across the years such that I can’t really ignore the evidence. I agree they are wasting their time, but they are also wasting ours - not all of us live on site or nearby, so there is a mutual respect that’s needed imo.

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That’s fine - but at least show the decency to:

  • Cancel an appointment if you aren’t going to fulfil it with a bit of notice (not a few mins before)

  • Notify the landlord when you have found a place that meets your requirement IF you have previously been discussing a viewing (or more advanced scenario)

  • If you are late - say you are going to be late. I understand trains, buses etc can be delayed and you can get lost etc. but at least notify. It’s only their viewing time they are wasting, and I won’t encroach into someone else’s viewing because you are late.

  • If you say you will do something, then follow through - otherwise don’t say it. I’d prefer a tenant that leaves the engagement ambiguous (e.g. “I’ll get back to you with my decision as I need to look at 3 more viewings…”) than one that promises an actin or next step, then subsequently rolls back on that decision.

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