How long to hold a property (new landlord)!

Our property has been listed for 2 weeks and had lots of (unsuitable) enquires and a few viewings.
The property empty and ready to occupy so my question is how long would you hold a property for a suitable tenant? We are now having people enquiring who are not ready to occupy for 4/6 weeks.

If you get the tenant you want,then wait…i have waited on a few listings for 4or 5 weeks …It is worth waiting to get the person you want. Out of 30 applicants I had 3 I would rent to, the rest were chancers. I am in no hurry as I am fortunate to have a few places and no mortgages. Those with a buy to let mortgage are under more pressure.


I have been in the same situation previously and currently. Have you priced your rent to low? And attracting the unsuitable tenants ? Does your advert make clear that you ie professional applicants only ? X amount of UK credit history required these often weed out chancers and time wasters. The right tenant is the one your gut feeling tells you is right and is worth holding out for. Make clear your expectations of the applicants you do want :wink:

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We have been rent houses, shops and flats out for some 40 years and believe you me I could write a best seller. This is a follow on from the good advice from Colin3 and Lynn1 above.If we only had a crystal ball it would be fantastic. Yes by all means if you want to do the credit check that’s one box ticked, one for me is find out the name, address and phone number of previous landlord/estate agent if they won’t give you it, ask for the previous address, if that’s not forthcoming there’s usually an underlying reason, kick these ones into touch. One good pointer for me is to arrive at their current address, with little notice and have a look at the condition of the property they are leaving to come to yours, this has worked for me on a number of occasions. People can come dressed to kill and live in a tip. If you live in a small area ask around to see if anyone knows them, its better to find out before than later. Find out who the property is for if they have a partner get the name and do all these checks on them to, one can be lily white and the other black as the ace of spades. Another tip is always take a bond I haven’t in the past and its come back to bit my backside, you always need to have the upper hand, something to fall back on if the rent stops coming, to give you time to chase your money. It was only the other day I had a call from social services wanting a flat for a bloke that was in a hostel after being in prison. I have found with first hand experience they will try to pull the wool over your eyes, tried to help twice and both times had to have a full revamp of the flats due to extensive damage, moral of this is don’t touch with a barge poll. Ask for references and if they show you them check they are genuine and speak to the person that produced it. I give references and I am pleased to take a phone call or email to vouch for them if they have been a good tenant. I regularly tell tenants after they have left our property in a respectable condition and have paid the rent that if they are renting again to tell their future landlord to give me a call and I give a honest opinion. We all must try to help each other as it can be rewarding and on the flipside a nightmare from time to time. After saying all this I think the best is your own gut feeling and this isn’t fool proof.


All of the above. One bad tenant can wipe out the majority of your rental income on that property, get you a bad rep with the neighbours if it’s a property you’ve lived in yourself and cause immense headache. Conversely, I’ve had a tenant that was disqualified by a top tier estate agent who went on to stay for 5 years with minimal fuss. I always find my own tenants, apart from the good screening questions above, go with my gut. Good luck.


I also check/ ask to see their ankles to check they are not tagged. They can look at my ankles also if they wish!!


With regard to how long you wait to get the right tenant, try this. If for instance you find a tenant that you prefer but cant move in for 4 weeks, try to get them to sign the tenancy agreement early and split the difference and charge them for 2 weeks for the first month. If they agree you will get the tenant you prefer and saving you from paying council tax and all the utility bills. I have had three students from over seas sign a contact from the first of July and not move in until the 30 th August, I gave them the first month for half price. I have found that its better to wait a little longer and get the right person than fill it in desperation, if you haven’t got a tenant within 4 weeks reduce the rent slightly.
By reducing the rent you may attract another price band of prospective tenants. I hope these little pieces of info helps you, there is no set rules, you just try to learn from previous mistakes. Welcome to our world of being a landlord/marriage guidance councillor.


ashley3 Exactly right I have just done the same for a couple of tenants

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Hi Colin
We seem to agree on so many points unlike our MPs of today. I am still laughing regards your comment about checking their ankle for a tag, that’s got to be a first. Well done for thinking about that it had never crossed my mind, probably because I had kicked them into touch before it had got that far. Love to meet up for a crack some time I am sure we wouldn’t be short of something to say.

Thanks for all the very useful replies. I am finding this forum helpful and friendly.

Hi Maz
At the end of the day the only thing that we as landlords want is to have our tenants pay their rent on time, don’t upset their neighbours and look after the place as if it is their own. We have always said that we wouldn’t put anyone in a flat or house that we couldn’t live in our selves. We have put people into palaces and within no time its turned into a pigsty. I also have said for years that there would be no bad landlords if there was no bad tenants, obviously there is always the exception to that.
Please don’t think that I only have negative comments about renting, in the forty odd years of being a landlord/ builder the sad thing is that I can remember all the bad customers and tenants by their names and sadly forgotten all the nice people. Lucky though the difficult ones are few and far between and law of averages the more accommodation you have the more likely there’s a chance of getting one.


be empiric
Above all be wise

This is the time of year when post/undergraduates-who leave everything till last moment- try to bag you property (often without looking) but leave start date till the first lecture day

There is no honour in this “profession” -on either side

Resentment at in depth referencing,long silences while they hold you as a “banker” whilst trying to find something “better”

Backing out with a midnight email claiming death and disaster

Cynical…no just a world weary landlord

Only other constructive comment?

Look dispassionately at your “offer” if you receive lots of declines/no post view email?

look at your furniture,cooking facilities,consider LLinsurances-voids

Finally, first impressions are always a good thing

kind regards



the old adage - better an empty house than a bead tenant - as I well know

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You should be suspicious of tenants who are ready to move in straight away. 4/6 weeks is typical notice a good tenant needs to give their current landlord.

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Totally agree. if in a hurry to move in dont just think this is a good thing, ask yourself why?

I don’t think this is always true. Maybe it depends where the property is.

In some areas, the market moves incredibly quickly. In high demand areas (e.g. London), landlords may only advertise properties a few weeks before they are due to be void. In that case, tenants don’t really have a choice but to attend viewings only a few weeks before they are due to leave their currenty property.

Suspicious is an interesting word.
I’d certainly not discount a tenant who was able to apply quickly, it could just be that they are the perfect tenant. Has you say, the market moves at different speeds in different areas. Unforfunately where I live there are plenty tenants landlords need to be more than suspicious of.

I’m in a hurry to move - not because I’m a bad tenant but because the house I’m living in has been sold! Could be a number of reasons!

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