As we all know, most areas are currently experiencing massive rental demand and this is especially true in the Docklands areas where demand is severely outstripping supply. With that in mind, I thought perspective tenants would find it useful to understand what they can do to try and get ahead of the curve.
December shows no real signs of slowing down. Although a traditionally quiet time of year, the rental market remains extremely busy. Properties are often being snapped up by quick-moving tenants the very same day they get listed.
Renting a property can be a daunting process. Market conditions in the Docklands, Canary Wharf and East London areas mean prospective tenants need to be prepared and ready to make an offer as soon as they are happy, or face losing their dream property.
Most local agents are currently low on rental stock and tenants could risk losing out on the rental property of their choice if they are ill-prepared. Demand is currently outstripping supply, so it is important that you are in the best position possible to successfully secure a tenancy; this means having a deposit ready, preparing your references, and being able to move quickly.
It is vital that prospective tenants are prepared and comfortable with their decision as soon as possible. Having all your ducks in a row is crucial to speed up the process and improve your attractiveness, as it will ultimately show the landlord and agent that you are a serious bidder.
The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) has prepared the following advice for prospective tenants looking to secure a tenancy on their dream property:
What do you want?
Draw up a list of property features that are ‘must haves’ and ‘desirables’. If a property fails to tick the majority of the ‘must haves’ on your list don’t waste time viewing it and move on to properties that have the features that you deem important. Properties rent quickly, so filtering out the ones you are not interested in or are unlikely to put an offer in for will increase your chances of viewing your dream property sooner.
Consider being flexible around when you book to view rental property. Most people will view property in the evenings after work or during the weekend. Try taking time off work to look at property during the day, this will increase your chances of seeing something before anyone else.
It is also a good idea to view multiple properties during the same appointment; viewing three or four properties will help you understand the value of the property and give you a better idea of the rental market. Remember, you may have to refine your expectations about what your budget will get you once you have a better sense of the market in any one area.
Prepare your referees
You will be asked for a reference when renting a property; having this information ready – so the letting agent can conduct the relevant checks – could enhance your chances of securing a rental property ahead of those who are not as prepared.
References will need to show that you can afford the rent on the property and that you’ve been a good tenant before. If you are a first time renter, a financial reference and a reference from your employer should be enough, but if you are self-employed you may have to get a reference from your accountant. Your referees should be prepared to provide a rapid response to the letting agent as delays at this stage of the process may see the property being let to someone else.
Desirable properties usually get snapped up quickly. So make sure you put in an offer as soon as you find a property that matches your requirements. Procrastinating for too long or viewing too many properties may result in it being too late to offer on a property and finding out that a tenancy has already been agreed. If you’re renting with others, make sure you are in a position to make a joint decision as soon as possible after viewing a property.
Have the cash
Remember, once a tenancy has been agreed you will need to pay a deposit. Typically this can range from four to eight weeks rent. Informing the landlord or agent that you have this ready will help your application for the tenancy.
Use an accredited agent
Ensure you understand the rental agreement and all related fees before making any offers. If you are still confused or uncertain, seek out a member of ARLA for advice. All ARLA agents must adhere to a strict code of conduct, as well as offering client money protection and redress schemes, which protect you if things go wrong. Using an ARLA agent is similar to using an ABTA approved travel agent. It will ensure you are dealing with an ethical and properly regulated letting agency
Remember that our experienced team at Landmark are here to help, so feel free to contact any of us with any questions you may have. I hope you have found the above helpful.