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DrBob

Good Landlords

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There are a lot of negative experiences about renting on this website, and I've certainly had a few. Renting isn't always bad, though, so I thought we should share some positive landlord/landlady experiences. Here's mine:

Girlfriend and I are renting a London 1-bed ex-council flat. Sounds horrible, but it's a listed Victorian block, very central (short walk to work, walking distance to the river, South Bank, parliament square etc), quiet area, and with generally nice neighbours who we know by name.

Our landlady (Bohemian baby boomer) took £300 deposit between us (no ridiculous admin charges etc); proper signed tenancy agreement and inventory. She put us on her Tate gallery membership, and we have dinner with her and her husband once every few months. The flat is at market rate (not a bargain), but with no rent rise in last 18 months, and none planned a/c to her. Things get fixed when we ask. We found the flat through TheGumTree.com.

Having fallen prey to some of the other problems with renting, we made a few rules whilst searching:

1. Do not rent through an agent

2. Make a list of all your requirements & questions you need to ask (how many bedrooms, price, deposit, car parking, council tax etc), and get answers to all of these on the phone. The aim is to only physically visit flats which meet your requirements. This will save you time, and prevent you selecting a flat out of sheer exasperation/exhaustion

3. When you phone the landlord, say 'I'm calling about the flat'. If they ask 'which flat', they are probably an agent, so tell them you're not interested!

4. Wander around the areas you're looking in at night - are the streets dodgy or well-lit?

5. Try and phone the landlord a few times before you commit - are they easy to get hold of?

6. Go with your gut feeling - if you think a landlord or property seems dodgy, walk away!

Given the impending BTL fall-out, you might want to add another rule:

7. Look up the property on www.nethouseprices.com. If it's been bought recently and/or the yield is poor (<5%), don't rent it! Chances are the landlord will be in trouble soon and you could find yourself homeless too.

It's becoming a renter's market out there, so you can afford to be choosy. You could have a go at bargaining down the rent, too. A lot of landlords are desperate to find a good tenant.

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Having fallen prey to some of the other problems with renting, we made a few rules whilst searching:

1. Do not rent through an agent

2. Make a list of all your requirements & questions you need to ask (how many bedrooms, price, deposit, car parking, council tax etc), and get answers to all of these on the phone. The aim is to only physically visit flats which meet your requirements. This will save you time, and prevent you selecting a flat out of sheer exasperation/exhaustion

3. When you phone the landlord, say 'I'm calling about the flat'. If they ask 'which flat', they are probably an agent, so tell them you're not interested!

4. Wander around the areas you're looking in at night - are the streets dodgy or well-lit?

5. Try and phone the landlord a few times before you commit - are they easy to get hold of?

6. Go with your gut feeling - if you think a landlord or property seems dodgy, walk away!

Given the impending BTL fall-out, you might want to add another rule:

7. Look up the property on www.nethouseprices.com. If it's been bought recently and/or the yield is poor (<5%), don't rent it! Chances are the landlord will be in trouble soon and you could find yourself homeless too.

It's becoming a renter's market out there, so you can afford to be choosy. You could have a go at bargaining down the rent, too. A lot of landlords are desperate to find a good tenant.

I very much agree with your Rule 7. I do not agree with Rule 1 though. Landlords looking to avoid paying an agent are usually either deperate or worse. I would say that Rule 1 is:

1. Do not rent through an agent that is not registered with ARLA

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I very much agree with your Rule 7. I do not agree with Rule 1 though. Landlords looking to avoid paying an agent are usually either deperate or worse. I would say that Rule 1 is:

1. Do not rent through an agent that is not registered with ARLA

IMX agents are a waste of space and money. They are an obstacle to progress and can antagonise the landlord tenant relationship by misrepresenting the position of either party.

Added to which, because most are only really interested in the big fat commission from selling homes, and the less plump commission from landlords, they tend to treat tenants like something they stepped in outside the office.

I would expect my landlord to have a more of a 'hands on' approach to managing their property, and the astute ones will be well aware that they are handing over about 10% of their yield for very little.

Rent from a landlord - you are the customer

Rent through an agent and the landlord is the customer - you are the nuisance! But they might still charge £100+ to check your references...

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Rent through an agent and the landlord is the customer - you are the nuisance! But they might still charge £100+ to check your references...

I rented through an agent and ALL fees were #100 total for both myself and girlfriend, and deposit was 1 month.

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Also found my current landlord on Gumtree.

Never really had any problems with private landlords.

IMHO, is worth the effort to go out and find one yourself,

without the agents.

10 years renting now, and the only time I've had a deposit issue or other problem

was the one time an agent was involved. Never again.

My first landlord in London he was a retired builder;

the morguage was paid off, so they were chilled out about the rent etc.

Not always poking around the place.

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Nice list Dr Bob. And others. We rented through an agent to begin with, but I expect our landlords have long since got rid of them.

All I can say regarding renting is that I can't possibly complain with the service my landlords (there are two of them) have provided. The time I locked myself out of the house? Quick call to the landlord, he drives over within 30 mins to let us in. We bought him a box of chocs for his trouble. Front door and window fittings rotting? Replaced within a couple of days. Shower packed up? Fixed the next day. Even tiny little things that don't bug me but my other half wants fixing doesn't faze them. When I asked if I could run a business from home, they said, 'of course, get on with it!'. They never come round to inspect the place, if we didn't need anything fixing I expect the only time we'd hear from them would be when the boiler inspection is due.

And to top it off they've never increased the rent the whole time we've been here. I suspect this is because the previous tenants trashed the place and caused them no end of grief, and they'd rather not run that risk again by getting rid of us. So, we're getting cheap central Brighton housing (well, cheap in Brighton terms at least) and they're getting good long-term tenants. As long as they haven't MEWed this place up I'm sure it's a very satisfactory arrangement for all involved.

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yeah I found agents to be far better. The 1st one I had managed the property, they were always on the end of the phone and had an army of handymen, etc ready to fix any probs.

Plenty of stories of peeps getting ripped off in small adds - eg how many people ask their future LL if they have the right to let. ie do they really own it? Does their mortgage allow it? etc. Are you getting the right legal work in place?

Anyways, sounds like OP has got a great place - I'd have loved to have lived centrally a bit before retreating to the 'burbs.

And yeah, there are many renting 'mare stories here. Which is always why its funny to read how much we all love renting in the main chat pages. I rented 5 places in 5 years and it sucked lol! Lets be honest, unless you get lucky its a relief to be out of the game :)!

Edited by Orbital

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