OpenRent Community

What's the best selling point in a potential tenant in a competitive market?

My husband and I need to move soon to help his elderly parents.
They live about 2 hours drive away. Needless to say, if I could reduce the amount of commuting back and forth in order to find a rental property I would.

We viewed a property yesterday. We also have a cat and two rabbits and the agency stated upfront that this landlady is very nice and she loves cats and has no problem letting to people with pets. The property is lovely (albeit just having electric heating) but in a highly desirable area. I know there were 4 viewings but I am not sure if they all applied.

We indicated that we would be happy to pay 6 months upfront (only found out afterwards that many LL’s are suspicious of that, thinking their house ends up being a cannabis farm…yikes!!..I didn’t realize that). We could offer a homeowner guarantor, we are both working and can keep our jobs, we have no kids and I mentioned that our last rental lasted 5 years so are in for the long haul. We also have good references and clean credit. We want to buy eventually but that’s probably a long way away. In any case, the rent is £675 but because it’s just electric heating and £100 more than we pay now I asked if they would be happy to take £625 - she said she would consider if we take out a 12 month contract. Totally fine by us.

One of the viewers rocked up in a massive BMW (no judgement, but I think they are not long term renters) it looks like many are just looking for a stop gap in between buying houses. But they might pay the requested £675. I am not sure about the other viewers, one seemed to be an older, retired gentleman so he might not be a homeowner.

We applied and will find out on Monday if we secured the property.
My overall question really is, what would be an absolute selling point for a landlord in this competitive market? What can a tenant do to score brownie points?

Have we overdone it by offering 6 months upfront? Or would it scare people actually away? It was a live viewing, not online so the agency met us and we had a nice chinwag. They told us that the landlady will have a think and talk to her husband and will let us know on Monday who she decided to go for. We’d be gutted not to get it especially considering that there are not many landlords around who are happy to accept pets. And it’s in a very safe and quiet area, a respite from years of city life.

But if we get rejected I’d like to know what we can do better next time.

I do not see how you can have done any more. I am a Landord and have a few times taken 6 months upfront. I judge the people themselves

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One of my main criteria (after can they pay the rent and will they look after it) is how long someone might stay. Mine are family houses, so I tend to score families higher because they want to be settled for schools so are likely to stay. I set my rents fairly at around what others nearby have been marketed for, so wouldn’t reduce the rent, so asking for that in a competetive market (I had 15 wanting to view for the one put up last week in the 4-5 hours before I turned the ad off, and then the 3 that viewed all wanted it) would probably make them a no - but then I don’t tend to put it up every year either.

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Yes I didn’t realise until later that there was so much competition. But realistically £675 was just a tad bit too much. Maybe all the other points sweeten her up :rofl:

I think you immediately put the landlord off by trying to knock down the rent. If there is competition why would you do that ? It’s not up to you to decide the rent was too high.

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The agency actually called me saying that there is a property that might fit my requirements. At that point I didn’t even realise there were people interested. I asked on the phone if she would be willing to knock 50 quid off and the agency called me back to say yes, she would be willing if we sign up long term.

I find your comment a little bit bizarre. Rents should always be negotiable, they are not set in stone. If the LL isn’t even considering it they could have said so straight away and saved us a journey. I am not saying that the property isn’t worth it, I am saying it would be too high for us. Has nobody ever tried negotiating rent with you? If they haven’t people should start doing so or do you not negotiate house prices either?

PS: I’d like to add that this is a property in the North of the UK, not the South. The house actually only has 1 bedroom and is all electric heating. The reason for the price is likely the location not so much the actual property.

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totally a well made point. we all negotiate prices… too high , dont buy…

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No one has ever negotiated on rent with me - I always set them at a fair market price. When I used an estate agent, they said that if the rent was to high, people just wouldn’t look because rent wasn’t usually negotiable.
If you think about it, everyone puts their house up for sale for more than they think it’s worth because they know people will negotiate.
You don’t want landlords to have to start to do the same, or rents will rocket in areas with any competition whatsoever. I actually had someone offer me more than I asked this time if I would cancel the viewings I had booked and let him put a holding deposit down (the answer was no!).

I personally don’t negotiate. If I do knock off money I can’t reduce the service provided.
If I offer below market rent it is because there are issues that I am leaving the tenant to deal with eg decoration. But water gas and electric are still the Landlord’s responsibility as are structural and drainage issues. If these become issues they are not cheap to repair and I can assure you no workman is going to knock money off because the Tenant wanted a rent reduction!
All Landlords are currently spending large volumes because of new electric regulations. Costs have increased for materials significantly because of the pandemic and Brexit.
If a Tenant wants a reduction I would not waste my time with them. I honour my contractual commitments and that can be very expensive.
As they say if you pay peanuts you get monkeys…

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I have had people ask me if i would rent cheaper I always say no… ,as mine are cheaper. I put my house on the market at a price the agent suggested ( I thought too high) in the hope of an offer lower , but 2 people offered 10 k more than the asking price,. just shows the rules are never set in stone

Well it really depends where you rent. Some places are so desirable people would sell their own grandmother to live in a shoebox. So yes, it just means that the demand is so high that people are desperate not that the house itself is great or the even the landlord. A roof over your head is not a luxury after all but a necessity of life. I have always negotiated rents and in turn signed up for longer. Different folks for different strokes. But to suggest that it’s almost an insult to ask for a discount is strange I have to say. If there wasn’t a housing crisis I guess the shoe would be on the other foot. Doesn’t mean you can’t try your luck

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Nobody has ever tried to knock rent down at the start. I would just ignore them if they did as chancers. The rent I set is fair in the 1st place, if anything on the low side of average for the area/amenities.
I offered some of my existing tenants a reduction due to COVID because they were struggling but that is entirely different.

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Yes and that’s absolutely your choice. But that doesn’t mean other landlords won’t accept or that tenants should be huffed and puffed at by others for asking. If your rent is already set at a lower scale then I guess you have nothing to worry about.

If someone tried to knock down rental price I’d be concerned about their affordability and would need to assess for myself if they were just being prudent or likely to struggle to pay bills.

I would simply think everyone tries to get a bargain. When we employ a builder we would likely choose the cheaper one, if all the repeutations were similar.

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Don’t you figure that out through credit checks, bank statements and employment references? We also have our rental payment reported to credit ladder which is visible on our credit report.

Hi, yes I usually check bank statements first as credit checks can be a cost to the landlord. Would definately consider lowering rent to an existing tenant and have done in the past, but if it was a request at the initial stage and I had other interested parties not so sure they’d be a forerunner.

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Hi, I’ve been renting out houses a few houses for 30+ years. Some of our houses are in an area that has not a good reputation but I still like it.

We sort out the applications, often 30-50, as we get their info before we send the information to credit checkers. If we spend money with credit checking we are very serious about the tenants and never take any holding deposits.

Some people ask why are LL’s so protective about their houses, why we don’t NOW use Letting Agents? IMHO the only people who really care about our houses are us, the owners?

I’ve seen it all from:

£2000-3000 cash offered to let them rent/have the house but they’d have NO documents - (never) as we have tenants in our house 20+ years so we think VERY long term;

people try to negotiate the rent, rare - never really works, as we keep our rent £20-50 below the agents. Plus we’ve never given tenant’s an extra cost apart from a higher deposit for animals (in the old days);

dogs chewing and ripping off skirting board, carpets, etc;

cats wrecking carpets, scratching/wee (all laminate now);

deposit and first month’s rent paid to then having nothing else;

the courtroom and cannot remember how many times I’ve been there, for small claims & to gain possession (I’ve won all without a solicitor);

a Judge telling us that the court order/award to us, in his hand, was worthless as we’d never see a penny, so stop trying;

after 3 yrs letting then 6 months NO rent - full-court & bailiff case;

we have never go £0.01 from any of and for the many £1000’s owed to us from CCJ’s. But we still do it;

6 months up-front cash and then when I got the house back, but no proof, lots of suspicions that he and the quickly disappearing long term partner, were producing drugs;

times when I’ve turned up at houses as they were loading and disappearing as they had not paid last moths rent etc and with only 5 weeks deposit they were on a winner;

the police called to stop me from following them to find out their new premises for court;

threatening behaviour, with an Iron bar, so that I must/could not follow them;

houses when back in our hands have everything left in there, including the dog poo in the lounge and not a penny can be claimed back;

nothing from any Guarantor, possibly because they’ve been OK, but the legal cost, the proof needed, have they got the cash, etc. It would all be a nightmare and take so much time;

never having any issues with immigrants;

agreeing they can take out an old built-in wardrobe, where they do the first easy bit, then they persuade me to do all the hard work, (plastering etc) free of charge but in my own time & when I’m free. To bitterly complain that I’m doing it too slow and leaving a mess;

after putting in a fantastic new bathroom suite+ tiled floor (after arranging to do it when they had gone on a 2-week holiday), the tenant complain bitterly that I had left the house dusty. Note: no extra cost or rent was charged to them.

We have a form; when filled in properly and with 6 months bank statements, that we can see what our chances are for good tenants. Take that to your interviews and I think you’ll get a very different response. If you think saving £50PCM would sway or worry any LL you’re mistaken, but it does immediately say you can’t afford the house. One month’s void would take 14 months to catch up on the £50 PCM difference. I’ve had to do 5 months, 7 days a week, work on a house to get it back into the condition I’d consider good enough to rent. Consider how long that would take to get back – never can be done.

The whole point is that you have to convince the LL that you’ll do three things well:

ALWAYS pay the rent on time with NO hassle;
you’ll look after the house - like you owned it;
you’ll always tell the LL, straight away, if there are any issues with the house. Let him in with a smile whenever he asks to try and repair the issues, (within reason/days notice etc) and give him a cup of tea.

That’s my ideal tenant.

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If we were expected to negotiate I would put the price up to a negotiable price. I prefer to put a fair price for the house size and condition that I would be happy to live in myself before offering it out. No one has ever tried to knock it down which I would feel unsure about. Obviously they have seen the price but cannot afford it.

I think that’s a bit of an unfair statement to make. I negotiate not because I can’t afford something but because everyone prefers to save some money. Simple as that. Or would your plumber presume you can’t afford him because you try to get a discount?

A “fair” price can also be very subjective. We live in a 3-bedroom house in a good area and pay £575. If I don’t have to pay more I won’t. And what’s expensive now might be cheaper in November. It’s all about supply and demand. Rental prices are never static. When someone asks for a discount rather than presuming, just say that’s not possible and deal with it like an adult.

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