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Downside

Looking To Rent For First Time

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Hi Guys

Long time lurker first time poster, anyway why i'm here is this. Me and my GF are to looking to start renting for the first time both of us currently live with parents. We have found a nice place that we both like in a good location. The flat is descent sized but the walls are covered in black marks from the previous tenant and when I say covered I mean on every wall in every room even on the little bit of wall above the fridge near the ceiling.

Basicly we have asked if we could have a £25 - £50 reduction in the montly rent in return for cleaning the walls and maybe repainting if needed, the flat has been empty for about 3 months and neither my gf or me smoke or have any pets and can move in straight away so thought this would also work in our favour for the reduction. We told the letting agent this who came back to us saying the landlord wont reduce the rent and that his morgtage is what he is asking for in the rent but he is willing to pay for someone to professionally clean and paint the flat up.

Do you think were being unreasonable in asking for a reduction or if the letting agent is calling our bluff? I would have thought letting us clean the place and rent it for 12 months for £25 less a month would be the better option as if it stays empty for another month that more than cancels any money he would gain waiting for the higher price. We're not in a major rush to move out so time is on our side and i'm tempted to tell them we're not interested unless he reduces it and wait a month before making another offer if its still available but we both like the place so are also tempted to just agree on the asking price. Your thoughts on this would be appreciated and sorry for the wall of text.

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Mr Downside,

I'm sure most of our fellow contributers will agree that the level of your landlord's mortgage has nothing to do with the rental value of the property.

More to the point, what is the rent for other similar properties in the neighbourhood? I'm sure you've checked this.

If you reckon the rent is fair for the flat, then it seems to me that the landlord has offered a reasonable solution. But get it in writing, or make an addition to your contract to ensure that it is done, and to a reasonable standard.

Negotiating the rent is fair play, particularly in the circumstances you describe. But be prepared to:

  • Have your offer refused, and walk away
  • Have the landlord turf you out as soon as he finds a gang of 13 Albanians who will give him a fiver more a month
  • Have the landlord recover the difference from your "damage" deposit when you move out

There are other threads on this site that cover this well, but generally:

  • Ensure you have a contract (an AST is most usual, horrible though it may be) and you read it
  • Try to assertain the financial stability of your landlord, and whether or not he will try to sell the property while you are in it
  • Ensure your deposit is placed with a third-party protection scheme. There is some debate over the value of this scheme, but if your landlord doesn't do this they may be brought to book.

Some on this site may advocate a somewhat adversarial approach to your landlord. I do not. As a previously long-term renter, I find that as long as everything is written down and signed, and you and the landlord abide by the terms of the agreement everything works as well as can be expected, given the one-sided nature of the AST agreement.

Best of luck,

Mr Smith

Hi Guys

Long time lurker first time poster, anyway why i'm here is this. Me and my GF are to looking to start renting for the first time both of us currently live with parents. We have found a nice place that we both like in a good location. The flat is descent sized but the walls are covered in black marks from the previous tenant and when I say covered I mean on every wall in every room even on the little bit of wall above the fridge near the ceiling.

Basicly we have asked if we could have a £25 - £50 reduction in the montly rent in return for cleaning the walls and maybe repainting if needed, the flat has been empty for about 3 months and neither my gf or me smoke or have any pets and can move in straight away so thought this would also work in our favour for the reduction. We told the letting agent this who came back to us saying the landlord wont reduce the rent and that his morgtage is what he is asking for in the rent but he is willing to pay for someone to professionally clean and paint the flat up.

Do you think were being unreasonable in asking for a reduction or if the letting agent is calling our bluff? I would have thought letting us clean the place and rent it for 12 months for £25 less a month would be the better option as if it stays empty for another month that more than cancels any money he would gain waiting for the higher price. We're not in a major rush to move out so time is on our side and i'm tempted to tell them we're not interested unless he reduces it and wait a month before making another offer if its still available but we both like the place so are also tempted to just agree on the asking price. Your thoughts on this would be appreciated and sorry for the wall of text.

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Thanks for the advice. I have done some research and most of the places of similar quality are around the same price give or take £20 but without the cleaning required. The landlord currently lives abroad and bought the place in 2007 which worried me although i've not found any evidence of it ever being for sale. Piecing together info from what research i've done and what the lettings agent has told me it seems he only lived there for 2 years before moving abroad then renting it out.

If we do go for this place I've asked for a 12 month contract and will make sure the deposit is protected and they we get it in writing that the place is cleaned before we move in. The reason I would prefer to get the discount on rent and clean it ourselves is so we know that its been cleaned properly and that we could do cheaper as it would only cost us time and cleaning equipment. Also if we agree to let them get in the pro's to clean and sort it we wont know if its a satisfactory job until its too late which is another concern.

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The landlord is clearly an idiot for putting it on the market in a condition you describe knowing any perspective tenant will demand redecoration anyway. He is also deluded thinking the rent must cover his mortgage so is very likely to put the rent up as soon as interest rates rise or his mortgage payments rise regardless of the rental market conditions, as you know he's a deluded idiot you can guess he'd rather you move out and he has a 6 month void than take a smaller loss. I would avoid this one.

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Well i'm going to speak to lettings agent today and tell him we would prefer a reduction in rent and to clean it outselves. I will try get the agent to spell it out to the landlord that he would risk losing more money gambling on getting someone who is willing to pay more than letting to us for a reduced price as he would be guarenteed the income for 12 months. If not then we could wait another month then go in with another offer if its still on the market as they might be more desperate if its still not let by then. Its already been over 2 months without any takers so would have thought he would be open to negotiation.

Also another question. Does the lettings agent get any money from us paying the rent each month other than the usual signing up fee? Just we told them what our maximum limit was although this was about £50 a month more than we would like to pay but it was just in case something exceptional came up. Just want to make sure its not the letting agent thats trying to push us into paying more.

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The landlord is clearly an idiot for putting it on the market in a condition you describe knowing any perspective tenant will demand redecoration anyway. He is also deluded thinking the rent must cover his mortgage so is very likely to put the rent up as soon as interest rates rise or his mortgage payments rise regardless of the rental market conditions, as you know he's a deluded idiot you can guess he'd rather you move out and he has a 6 month void than take a smaller loss. I would avoid this one.

I would push for a bigger rental cut.But also look elsewhere. If the places is not clean before u rent it. You may have a hard time getting the landlord to fix breakdowns etc. Make sure the heat works( even though it is summer)

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You're most welcome.

Mr athom raises the possibility that your landlord is an imbicile, as shown by his lack of maintenence and the timing of his purchase, and will raise the rent according to his mortgage needs.

It's certainly possible. Having rented from an absentee landlord, I found they generally have no idea what shape the property is in, or what the prevailing rents are in the area. But I also found that the letting agents will say absolutely anything, so the landlord needing to "cover his mortgage" with the rent, or anything else the agent says should be taken with a grain of salt.

He did have the nous to leave the UK, though.

Regards,

Mr Smith

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Well the flat itself is quite nice in terms of appliances and fittings as they all look pretty new. The previous tenant was the one who messed it up and they used her entire deposit to clean the place and its still needs more. After over 2 months without a tenant I would have thought the landlord would realise somethings not right but I will have to wait and see.

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Also another question. Does the lettings agent get any money from us paying the rent each month other than the usual signing up fee? Just we told them what our maximum limit was although this was about £50 a month more than we would like to pay but it was just in case something exceptional came up. Just want to make sure its not the letting agent thats trying to push us into paying more.

Yes, they'll get a percentage of your rent. 10% is not uncommon. And what service do they provide for this money spinner? Um......

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How many places have you looked at? Don't set your heart on just one, especially if you can see that there are already problems. It's just a house, there are plenty of others. Make a reasonable offer on the rent that reflects the condition of the property and keep looking elsewhere.

Edited by Dorkins

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How many places have you looked at? Don't set your heart on just one, especially if you can see that there are already problems. It's just a house, there are plenty of others. Make a reasonable offer on the rent that reflects the condition of the property and keep looking elsewhere.

We've looked at quite a few places and its mainly between this one and another which is not available until end of july so would be less room to negotiate on the rent which is why we tried this one first.

I have spoken to the agent now and but again he said they don't want to lower the price as it only just covers the mortgage and are getting quotes on how much it will cost to clean up. Explained that they would lose more money by keeping it empty and agent agreed so I guess its the landlord wanting more money. Asked them to contact us if they change their mind. Might be better off avoiding this as someone said earlier if rates go up the rent will likely follow.

Oh and the landlord now lives in Australia so from one bubble to the next :D

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Don't rush in and just take it, you are living at home and have all the time in the world to find the right place. If the landlord is unwilling to move on price and already down 2 months 'mortgage payments' let him look forward to a third. Most people wont look at taking it on at market rates if the place is a scab pit. Also if he's difficult now imagine how difficult he'll be when you're on the hook for 12 months of rent payments whether you like it or not.

We are currently looking for somewhere else and the better half phoned an agents twice last week and was twice told they'd call back and haven't (place just around the corner for us so would have been an easy move) so there is no chance in hell we'll deal with them now. If they won't get back to us when we're looking to pay them money what chance would we have when things need fixing.

Steer clear of this clown LL.

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Just be careful of agreements even in writing. I've had agreements from letting agents and LL's to do work before I move in but have found them hard to enforce.

If the LL lives abroad and you turn up on the day to move in, you may find the walls/condition the same as before. They will lie to us (and so will the agent) to get us to sign a rental agreement.

The only way I could enforce the previous cleaning/painting ones was to keep receipts and go to the small claims court. This is hard to do if the LL lives abroad and the agent refuses to accept mail for them and denies being their agent...

The agent could also have a dodgy company that they know who will do a terrible job and then pay the agent a fee.

Agents have a vested interest in keeping the price up if they think other tenants will find out. Especially if there are others in the same block. Can't have the prices going down as everyone will want that! The LL may not even know of the offer and the agent wants to screw you for as much money as possible.

Make sure you get a break clause in your contact if this turns out to be the flat from hell.

There are flats in my block that are "buy to sit". The owners don't care about renting them out, they are controlled by agents, and the agents keep the prices artifically high by only renting to those who agree. This means they sit empty most of the time.

Good luck.

Edited by Flopsy

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Well i've told the agent we wont pay the asking price and to contact us if they change their mind. Probably going to give this one a miss I think as if the landlord is only renting it to cover his mortgage then like someone said if interest rates go up then you can guarentee the rent will too. Were in no rush to move so its not a major deal waiting a bit longer. Thanks for all the advice even though I trawl this site a lot theres still more to learn!

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  • 284 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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