View Full Version : Question to private landlords from tenant

08-12-2011, 06:49 AM
Hi All sorry in advance for the long post, difficult to sum my question up in a few lines. Hope this is in the right place.

Ok so I am actually a tenant, but I have spent that last month or so contacting estate agents for assistance but either get no response at al or turned away. So I am now thinking we need to rent from a private landlord, but I really just need some advice, and honest views on whether landlords would like us as tenant, and any tips that could help us get a property.

Here’s a little on our situation:

We are a professional couple (aged 27 and 28) from Newcastle, and looking for a 2 bedroom property for rent around June 2012 for 12 months at least.

We are currently overseas, as we have been travelling and freelancing, but are moving back to the north east next year to set up an office for our small business up back there, and I will be enrolling at one of the local universities for part time study as a mature student. We have been running an seo and web content company from here for the past 3 years, and have been doing really well, so much so its now time to expand and set up back home – plus I am homesick and would like to start a family soon

Just to add to things we need a landlord that will allow pets, as I will be brining my 2 small dogs back with me. They are really well behaved and not yappy at all, plus one of us will always be at home with them.

So the third thing that is proving to be an issue, is our credit rating is poor so much so that a credit check would be pointless. Without gong into my whole life story, we lost a child and found it difficult for a while to cope, business suffered and we fell behind with some finiancial agreements. That was a while ago, and since we have contacted our creditors and are paying all of our debt off each month, but it left a nasty mark on our credit report.

Once the debt is fully settled (should be by xmass 2012 we have learnt the hard way never to obtain credit again)
Our business brings in a good income now, so much so we have savings, and staff but our situation is seemingly off putting to estate agents :(

My mum is in the UK and she is a homeowner, so she could be a guarantor for me, and I am able to pay a deposit and months’ rent in advance as well as a character reference and contact details for owners of places we have stayed in before.

We actually get back in May 2012, but as the task of finding a rental property is looking tough im on the hunt now for somewhere, and my mum will be doing viewings etc for me, in the meantime I am transferring funds to her for a deposit etc. As I just want to be able to land back in the uk and have a flat waiting for us right away.

As we are a quiet couple, and just want to settle down back home, keep working hard and that’s it.

Do you think if we offered the above private landlords would be ok?

Thanks – and hope I havnt bored you too much!

08-12-2011, 08:02 AM
I would have thought your situation is difficult but not impossible. The bad credit history is going to be a problem for sure but hopefully will be mitigated by having a guarantor (I think that will be vital; I doubt anyone would look at you without one). Have to say having dogs won't help either you - hopefully someone will accept them, but it will definitely greatly reduce the pool of properties possibly available to you.

One other key issue - certainly as far as I would be concerned as your potential landlord - is that you're apparently expecting to find a property without viewing it personally and meeting the landlord. That would be a definite deal-breaker for me: I always want to meet an applicant and get the measure of them before deciding whether to let to them (quite apart from referencing and credit checks). I would also be concerned that it would give rise to all sorts of issues and complaints once they'd moved in, simply because they hadn't set eyes on the place before - eg don't like the decor / this room's too small / etc etc...

08-12-2011, 09:36 AM
I agree totally with Ericthelobster but would add...

You want to find a property now for next June, the reality is that very few landlords will know what, if anything, they will have available then. The tenancy laws are such that no one can actually guarantee availability unles the property is vacant - and no one has a property vacant now that they'll want to not let until June. The net effect of this is that you may not be in a position to find a place until a month or less before you want to move in.

You say your mum can be a guarantor - I understand she is a homeowner, but she also (in most cases) needs to have a good credit record and have been working full time for 6 months.

If mum doesn't qualify (and maybe if she does) you are likely to have to pay 6 months up front plus a deposit. Deposit and 1 month up front is the bare minimum that a clearly good risk would have to provide.

Depending on where in the world you are, and the size of the family coming over here, you may be best coming for a week to do viewings beforehand, or even staying in a hotel (travelodge £19 a room?) for a week or so once you're over here so that you can find the right place for you.

08-12-2011, 16:12 PM
Thank you both for taking the time to reply, I appreciate it.

My mum has a very good credit rating, and has been working for the same company for more than 10 years, so that side of things will be ok.

Currently I am in Thailand, so it's a little far away ;) but you are both right, it would be good to meet a potential landlord face to face, that way he can see what we are like and make his/her own judgement, and we can also gain a little more sense of security as to whome we are renting from. I think I have just been very wrapped up in getting everything sorted for moving back that I hadnt really thought about that so thanks.

Again, you are correct maybe it is best to leave it a good few months to begin my search again, and have some sort of list of properties I wish to view and arrange meetings with the landlord nearer the time. Looks like my mum will be having a lodger for a little while!

thanks again, it is very useful to hear what actual private landlords really think so its appreciated.

08-12-2011, 16:41 PM
Well, if you have been doing so well, why don't you save enough money to pay all the rent in advance for 12 months before you come back to the UK?
This way, the credit history issue is irrelevant and you will find some landlords happy to accommodate such an arrangement because of your circumstances.
Some LLs might be suspicious of such a request, especially if they haven't met you beforehand.

Many people have had financial trouble and I would not turn someone away simply on that element alone. I would balance off this information with the knowledge of other factors that I had in front of me, including the genuineness of the person.

I would concur with the others who cite accepting a home without seeing it as something that is likely to be or become a problem for you.

Your mum may be a good judge of what you are looking for or she can work from your checklist, but there are innumerable little things that can appear different between people (or not at all) no matter how close they are to you.
All these things, which include lots of subtle things that you cannot understand without being somewhere or are unappreciated by another person, cannot be put on any checklist and I fear that you will find after 2 weeks (or gradually over a few months), that X or Y or Z bothers you or your husband/BF or both of you, or you don't like this or that and now you're committed for 12 months.

Just think of the common "wish you were here" sentiment that is said by people who are on holiday somewhere. I can tell you about it but you won't understand it unless you are here.

My advice would be to rent a house/flat short term flat for 1-3 months or on a month-to-month basis once you get back the UK, to tide you over while you find something that you want to stay in long term.
This can also improve your negotiating position, which would be much weaker while you are overseas and relocating, all the while with the clock ticking.

No LL is going to commit to you 6 months in advance and I would not pay anyone any money in advance for something, so far in advance.

You may also find things have changed in the area during the last 3 years in ways that may not be apparent from a distance.

mind the gap
08-12-2011, 23:05 PM
I disagree that no LL will be interested in granting you a tenancy for a 2 bedroomed property from next June.There is a surplus of 2 and 3 bedroom flats in Newcastle which are normally rented to students (or young professionals, which fall vacant around that time (i.e., end of academic year) and for which contracts are being signed now, in advance. Contact some student/young professional letting agencies and ask them to email you details of available properties with a view to securing a tenancy for next year.

The sticking point will be the dogs.

14-12-2011, 16:11 PM
hmmm if I paid 6 months up front on a 6 month contract, plus 1 months rent as a deposit, do you think that would be fine with most landlords, along with if i met them in person?

I would be fine and able to pay 6 months + a deposit

mind the gap
14-12-2011, 17:31 PM
hmmm if I paid 6 months up front on a 6 month contract, plus 1 months rent as a deposit, do you think that would be fine with most landlords, along with if i met them in person?

I would be fine and able to pay 6 months + a deposit

Yes, I expect so. But anticipate some dismay when you mention the dogs!

14-12-2011, 18:31 PM
Thanks again

yes I am sure that having pets will put many off, I am ready for the challenge :) we might be considering somewhere semi-rural now, slightly outside newcastle, and there seems to be quite a few that will accept pets so that ,may be a better option, but we shall see

thanks again for all your help

mind the gap
14-12-2011, 22:30 PM
Thanks again

yes I am sure that having pets will put many off, I am ready for the challenge :) we might be considering somewhere semi-rural now, slightly outside newcastle, and there seems to be quite a few that will accept pets so that ,may be a better option, but we shall see

thanks again for all your help

Yes, I'm sure you'll stand a better chance in a village. Good luck in your search!

15-12-2011, 17:15 PM
I'm a long term enthusiast for long term tenancies and essentially leaving tenants alone and them leaving me alone if we get on well at arms length, and a recent conveert to dogs as an indicator that Ts are likely to be long term (after a home visit).

It can be an advantage to start from somewhere which is not immaculate, and you decorate it, thereby saving LL money upfront.

A good option is to find a property coming to the end of a longish tenancy, where LL will have to spend serious money.

LL can therefore bank their £1000-£4000 (or whatever) refurb money for a few years, and you get a finish you like, and LL gets lower risk since the dogs will be destroying decoration LL didn't pay for, and they know that you are incentivised to keep dogs under control and happy, plus your upfront investment reduces their risk.

One option is to do that and go for a slightly longer fixed term.

But it depends on having a decent relationshp with LL, which depends on high confidence/low risk at outset.

Or perhaps finding somewhere which LL is still refurbishing (?) (just bought?). That works well if you can make it work.

Or even make friends/join the list of (or getting mum to make friends) with a *local* agent, estate agent or auctioneer. Which brings it back to the potential advantages of a shortish tenancy first while looking, and reducing risk and expense for all concerned.