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Guest pioneer31

Landlord Is Selling Up! Damn!

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Guest pioneer31

My (private) landlord is selling up, so I need to start searching for somewhere else.

I'm wondering what your views on letting agents are as opposed to private landlords? My bro-in-law suggests getting an agent but I've heard people say that they offer nothing extra, except a higher price tag.

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Letting agents aren't really that great, but unless you have a good reason to trust your potential landlord I would go for the peace of mind of an ARLA member letting agent. Firstly they are more likely to know what they can't get away with legally, they mostly use a standard ARLA letting agreement which gives you a couple more safeguards (particularly on rent increases) and they have a reputation to maintain.

Ask on your regional house price forum for any recomendations of agencies or further places to look.

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20 years+ rental experience.

To my mind now - I would go through a private landlord - providing I was happy with him or her and got a proper contract.

Ironically - it makes no difference to whether or not a landlord sells if you go private or through and agency.

Agencies will charge you all sorts of extras - credit checks, inventory checks, all sorts of stuff - that a private landlord won't.

Have to admit that I did think, having rented in cities through both mechanisms that in a small town using a local agency and asking how long the property was being rented out - i.e. long-let etc - would be more likely than cities.

But it makes no difference, if a landlord is going to sell for financial reasons he will do irrespective of who is in the property end of.

Will agencies uphold your rights more than a private landlord - in my experience no - they side with the landlord everytime - and you are just a casualty. You might get an apology - but that's it.

Last year I rented a property and signed a year's contract through and agency - LL changed his mind as he suddenly wanted to sell (rumours of the property maket going down) - within 2 weeks of me being in and despite their being an agency - they did nothing to protect me - and just sent all of the hassle the LL gave their way down to me.

In fact, I was without heating and water for over 6 months of that tenancy - and got no reumuneration - later discovered they'd not passed on my requests even though they are ARLA and all other credits etc.

One many years ago - when I first went through an agency in Bristol - makes me laugh only now - I insisted on renting a property that would be let for years - took on the property - having been let out for 6 years - they said they checked with the LL that it would be on a long-term lease. LL apparently said yes, no intention of sale. Wanted a 1 year lease - they said only 6 months - but don't worry. Needless to say - 4 months in I got notice to leave via official documents - when I called them just told LL changed their mind.

Another agency - when I viewed - loads of stuff still in the property - asked if that was going to be still there - told no. Moved in and discovered one room full of storage stuff - asked the agency when it was being removed - and they said it belonged to the LL so didn't know. Next thing I knew - the LL let themselves in the property without notice to "get a few things". I was in at the time and asked them when they were removing it - they said they weren't. When I explained I'd paid and moved in at great moving costs on the basis of a two bed property - they said tough!!!

Was the agency helpful - no - just said it wasn't their fault the LL had changed their minds - but when I insisted on rental reduction - pointed out I'd signed the rental agreement and that was it. Had to go through stress of CAB, Shelter and solicitors to get it sorted - but then within 3 months was given notice to quit.

Seriously, I don't think it's worth the overheads for agencies. They are there to protect the LL. I've had as much inconvenience from a letting agency as a private LL. In fact, worse. Because agencies also let the LL's in without permission and then say they had no control!! And then say, any dispute - address to us, we'll forward to the LL but we can't act.

Looking back now - I can say that my private LLs outweigh the agencies. And many of them were good about negotiating a deal when they decided to sell. Whereas if they go through an agency - they just go with the "rules" on dates to get you out. My private LLs were all okay about staying until they had Exchanged contracts - bear in mind I was genuine about moving out - but in one case I got an extra 1 year - because it took that long to sell the property.

Also, I do recall a time now 20 years ago - when I was renting through a LL - and I got into trouble with my rental payments, and one month (because I was working freelance) - they money didn't come through from the client - and I was stuck - but they didn't evict me - and I went to talk to them (because I had access to them) - and explained the situation and showed my invoices and gave them my clients' name to call and confirm the money was coming - and I wasn't evicted.

Nowadays - if you miss your payments all sorts of things come into place - but agencies are more hot on that than a private landlord - not that I am saying you try this - because even a private LL will take action against you if you betray their trust - but that LL was a lovely guy - and I still thank him for that understanding to this day.

Just my take on things.

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Letting Agencies are generally a nightmare for a tenant. I suppose they will help if a LL misbehaves, but that's a pretty rare occurence compared to tenants acting up.

Rest assured if you do get LL trouble, the agency will point out your agreement is with the LL and not the agency.

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Guest pioneer31

It sounds to me as though LL's use Letting Agents to hide behind.

The British are a funny lot, they're tripping over themselves to apologise for breathing if they have to meet you face to face, but once they have some anonymity (e.g. a agent/spokesperson/internet forum :) they say and do what they like, regardless.

Do any of you know a good site for private LL's in Devon (Exeter area)? I'm looking for a 2 bed flat.

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