As we all know, the UK rentals market is becoming an increasingly competitive place and there are now more and more tenants competing for a single property – a survey by letting agency Sequence last year found that there were seven would be tenants chasing every single tenancy. The increased demand has been created by a drop in the number of properties available and an rise in the numbers of tenants looking, partly as a result of issues many people have getting a foot on the housing ladder. So, competition is fierce but what can you do to try and win the property of your choice?
Have good references
Passing a reference check might seem like a formality but it’s one of those things that doesn’t seem important – until you don’t have it. Being a good tenant now will give you a great chance of solid references when you move and that’s one of the most important parts of your quest to get your name on a new tenancy before someone else does.
Landlords generally just want to have an easy life and the easier you can make it for them, the more likely you are to be the tenant of choice. This doesn’t mean that you should compromise your own schedule or finances just to comply with the landlord’s wishes but the more flexible you can be in terms of move in dates, the notice you have to give on an old property and whether or not you’re willing to accept furnished or unfurnished, the more you’re likely you are to be an attractive tenant.
Remember that you’ll need to have your deposit ready to be paid over on the day that you move in, perhaps the day before. Sometimes it can be difficult to work out the logistics of waiting to get a deposit back after one tenancy finishes and paying a deposit on a new place before another tenancy starts. However, if you aren’t able to organise this in time then you could run into problems with the landlord and find the property ends up with someone else.
Bypass the agent
If you feel like the agent is being obstructive or blocking your application in favour of another tenant it might be worth going straight to the landlord. You can do a search of the Land Registry to find out who owns the property and then send an unobtrusive note by post mentioning how keen you are and checking that you’ve actually been put forward (especially if you’ve paid referencing check fees etc).
Speed is always the best tactic when it comes to getting the property that you really want. Rentals move immensely quickly these days and there’s very little allowance for anything else you might have going on. Make sure that you’re prepared so you can make that first viewing count and potentially make a decision on the spot. Research in advance factors like the council tax, energy efficiency, area amenities, transport links etc and have a checklist of questions for the viewing. Agents will always push you to make a decision so if you don’t feel ready don’t be forced into it but if you’ve prepared well and the responses to your questions tell you this is the property for you then go for it.