Tough to be a tenant
Its getting tougher all the time to become a tenant it would seem, and a local Lettings Agent – even though he is himself a landlord – thinks things are in a good few instances getting a little out of hand. Source – http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/26/tenants-face-trial-by-computer
Explains Paul Ainsworth Lord of leading Darwen Lettings Agent, Ainsworth Lord Estates, ” I have to say I am becoming more than a little alarmed when I see the way some landlords are behaving to their tenants in terms of qualifying them to rent a property across the Nw Region and indeed throughout the UK. It really is getting to be a bit over the top.”
The media has this week been saying that many landlords have “lost contact with reality’ when it comes to vetting procedures for tenants.
Explains Paul,”There always were reasonable checks in place – and nothing wrong with that, but, I am hearing of cases locally, and in various parts in our region too, where tenants are being subjected to what seem on the face of it to be ludicrously intense qualification requirements even to rent the most modest home. I have to say I don’t in reality understand why this has come about.”
The days of a formal checks as to status and then payment of a fair deposit to get to rent a home seems to be thing of the more recent past. Says Paul, “I know of tenants being subjected to reams of form filling, being asked for guarantors and requested to put up bill records and even bank statements and goodness knows what else.
Then they are being asked to pay administrative fees for the privilege of doing so. and are often in the final analysis being given the cold shoulder over a small matter such as a red ‘late paid’ electricity bill or a late mobile phone payment.
Far from fair
In certain cases, what occurs to rule people out of a tenancy these days really is at times hard to understand. It is far from fair in some instances for sure and makes one wonder if another tenant has been found during the qualification process who’s willing to pay more rent or deposit,” adds Paul.
The fear in housing circles is that this kind of unfair treatment will go on rising as more and more people are forced to rent as they can’t afford to buy. The pressure on rental availability also means that many tenants, if they qualify to get the place they need, could then face regular rent rises,
Says Paul. ” They either swallow thse or have to move on knowing that in any event someone else will soon be on hand ready to pay the higher rent being sought.”
There is a trend for certain agents to outsource approval checks to specialist firms, who in turn use computer protocols in assessing income and outgoings to decide whether applicants really can afford the rent being asked for or not.
Adds Paul, “That is bad news. That kind of automated approach can in so many cases lack appreciation or consideration of what is the true reality of a potential tenant’s situation!
Careful personal checks
This is not something we as an agency do. We assess potential tenants status with care and personally, to ensure we have all aspects of their position correct. This means we can adopt a properly informed view of a potential tenant’s status and their true position in terms of making rental payments. Fairness is what it is all about and if any tenant thinks they are getting bullied or treated unfairly, we are always prepared to guide and assist if we can.
We, as a company do not want to be tarred with this brush of exploited unfairness. If we think a landlord wants to behave like that, we’ll ‘pass’ on his business, thank you very much. Yes, landlords should not be ‘taken for a ride’ by tenants, but, neither should a landlord unfairly exploit what is for sure a uniquely pressured and already difficult rental housing marketplace at the moment.
Some time to come
The requirement for more and more rented homes in the future, due to the inability of so many to be able to buy a home is with us for sure for some time to come. Both sides, tenants and landlords need to behave with fairness and reasonable consideration to each other going forward. It’s ‘a must’ for the longer term,” adds Paul..