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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

DPS repayment annoyance

I tried to repay my tenants deposit last night or should I say accept their request.

The first annoyance is that notification email from the Deposit Protection Service (DPS) had found it's way into my spam folder. Then I couldn't find my repayment ID. I needed this too.

Having eventually found my ID after a long time searching my historic email (thank goodness I'd not deleted it like my dad does) I then unfortunately had to reject the tenants request to repay the full amount. Rather than acknowledging this as an action the system seemed to keep calling for my repayment ID but appeared to reject it for being wrong! Eventually I worked out that the ID was wrong because when I requested my repayment ID they had actually reset the old ID with a new number (but had failed to tell me!)

Nothing I have seen so far has changed my mind that the website could do with improvement and that is most likely to come from the competition from another custodial deposit scheme.

I've never worked out why the government licensed two insurance based deposit protection schemes but only one custodial one. Any answers anybody?

Landlord insurance - all risks

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tenants stay longer than ever

ARLAs latest figures show that tenants are sticking longer in their rental properties.

Figures from their latest survey indicate that the average tenants stays put for 19 months, the longest period since their surveys began. ( they did only start in 2004 however, so hardly historic ).

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Arsenals full house

More news on the booming London property market, all the flats at the old Highbury Stadium have been sold and according to property company London and Stamford they have pushed up rents on their flats in the old North End by 14 percent.

The property firm released figures showing a rise in a underlying profits  of 51% to £13 million.

I can't expect that we will hear such cheery news from property companies outside the South East, but do let me know if you do.

At least the north is still beating London on the pitch.

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Landlord's right to recover rent arrears

One question I get asked quite a lot is "can I still claim my rent arrears from the tenant after I have got possession of the property" - the simple answer to this is yes?

The first step is you need to know where your ex-tenant lives. If you don't have a new address but you know where they work you may get permission from a Court to serve Court papers at a work address.

Once you have an address for service you can issue a claim in the Small Claims Court and obtain a County Court Judgment for the arrears. If your ex-tenant is unwilling to pay the Judgment you can then enforce it by either getting a County Court Bailiff to seize personal items and sell them or obtain an Attachment of Earnings Order through the Court.

There are time limits - you have 6 years from the date the debt arose to issue Court proceedings - this is not the date they left the property but the date that rent was due. After obtaining your County Court Judgment you then have 6 years to enforce it.

If you would like any further advice on this or any other landlord legal advice please either email me at or telephone on 01623 448331.

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Landlord Jeffries at Leveson

I wonder if Christopher Jefferies would of been brandished a freak monster by the press if he hadn't been labeled a landlord.

I mean the poor man was hung, drawn and quartered by the tabloids because he had a comb over and didn't head out to work each day.

I'm glad he has had chance to set the record straight.

See him at the Leveson inquiry

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Scots landlords face double council tax

Scottish landlords  risking double council tax charges if they let their rental properties  stay empty for more than six months.

The Scottish Government are considering new regulations that will let local councils make additional charges to council taxes on properties that remain empty for long periods.

The proposed scheme aims to be an “incentive” for landlords to improve empty properties to bring them and back into letable use.

The money raised by the changes will then be used to help build more houses for rent according to politicians.

I can't imagine many local politicians are going to be against charging landlords a bit more cash , can you?

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Paragon starts lending 'again'

One of the biggest buy-to-let lenders of the boom years Paragon has announced their intention to start lending again.

"I'm sure I've heard this story before"

But it's on the Internet - so "it must be true!"

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Winter - are landlords prepared?

We all recall the difficulties of last winter with frozen pipes and flooded properties.

You may be prepared in your own home for these eventualities, but are your rented properties and your tenants prepared in the event that we have bad weather again:

It is up to landlords as individuals as to how you wish to address this, however, now might be the time to invest a little time going round your properties and checking that boilers are working, pipes are lagged and giving tenants information on how to deal with an emergency or what to do when leaving the property empty during the winter period.

A little time invested now could save time and money in the future.

If you require any advice about this or any other landlord legal advice please email me at or telephone me on 01623 448331.


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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Spiteful tenant wrecks property

A landlord has been left with his mouth open after his tenant walks away from court without needing to pay for any of the £20,000 worth of damage he left at a rental property.

Teenage tenant Lee Davis smashed up the rental property in Darlington after been asked to leave after he stopped paying the rent. Fair enough you would think, but obviously not in Lees head.

The Judge said that he would of liked to of made Lee pay towards the repairs of the rental property but couldn't because he didn't have any money. He did consider forcing Lee to hand over his Doritos Grab Bag and can of Red Bull as some form of compensation to the landlord but decided against it.

The 'spiteful' tenant was ordered to do 300 hours of unpaid community service and to hopefully 'get a life'.

Maybe he could offer some of that time to his ex landlord to help clean up the mess he made.

Tip to landlords,- try not to rent to "tenants with nowt," they've got nothing to lose.

Read full classic Daily Mail outrage here

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Property price twitter - mild

It's still very mild, isn't it?

House prices will fall no matter what the Government does - Moneyweek
Housing market wont recover according to BoE expert - Telegraph
House sellers slash asking prices - Mail
Mortgage lending slides - Independent
House prices to slump as mortgage lending falls - Yahoo

See all the property price tweets

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

BTL mortgages - most popular

Max LTVInitial RateTermCompletion feeBooking feeIncentivesOverall Cost for Comparison
85%5.99% Fixed2 Years1%£130.00No6.6% APR
80%5.49% FixedJan 31 2014 2.5%£0.00Refund of valuation to a maximum of £500 and free legals for remortgages only.5.8% APR
80%4.99% Disc.Tracker2 Years£2995£0.00Refund of valuation to a maximum of £500 and free legals for remortgages only.5.7% APR
75%3.74% Disc.Tracker2 Years£1999£250.00No5.4% APR
75%4.19% Fixed2 Years2.5%£130.00No6.6% APR
70%3.99% Disc.Tracker3 Years£849£150.00No5.7% APR
70%4.25% Disc.Tracker2 Years0%£199.00Free valuation up to £335 for purchases and remortgages and free legals on remortgages only.6% APR
65%3.99% FixedSep 30 2013 £1295£250.00No5.5% APR
65%4.5% Tracker2 Years2%£150.00No5.2% APR
60%4.99% Fixed2 Years2.5%£130.00No6.8% APR
60%2.99% FixedOct 31 2013 £2495£250.00No5.2% APR

IMPORTANT! Due to current market conditions, lenders are withdrawing and replacing products with little or no notice.

Please check our website regularly to see the most up-to-date products available.
Tel: 029 2069 5446

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgages.
The Financial Services Authority does not regulate some forms of mortgage.

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Saving the buy-to-let mortgage

In a little over 5 days over 500 people have already signed my petition to save the buy-to-let mortgage. I think this is testament to a general feeling that we are all a little bit fed up of 'fitting into' the euro straight jacket.

Let me clarify that I am not an anti European, anything but. I must have visited practically every country in Europe with possibly the exception of Albania. It's exactly the diversity in Europe that I love.

What I do object to is the enforced undemocratic way that through stealth the Eurocrats are all trying to force us into being little Europeans. Lets face it Margaret Thatcher was right in that Europe was socialism through "the back door."

I think anybody that understands post industrial revolution british history will realise that the British Empire gave us a unique global perspective. Using this to reach out to the growing regions in the world could be the thing that saves us. Unfortunately, anybody reading the petition against the buy-to-let mortgage regulation will realise that it is just too late to save my spelling..."access" not "assess" you fool. Sorry!

The repellant / repentant editor

Buy-to-let mortgage SEARCH
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Rents remain high

Andy Young the Chief Executive of TBMC comments on rents remaining high -

“The last 12 months has seen steady growth in the rents charged by landlords, with the average
expected rent in the last quarter at £1068.25 compared with £813.96 during the same period in
2010, representing an increase of over 30%. This is very encouraging news for landlords and
demonstrates the growing vitality of the buy-to-let market, as key drivers such as tenant demand
remain strong.”

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More on EU BTL row

As much use as a...............
 A Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands region has this week lambasted EU proposals which would bring Britain’s buy to let mortgage market into line with Continental practice. Leading mortgage brokers and estate agents have all agreed that the buy-to-let (BTL) sector needs EU intervention like a fish needs a bicycle – but fear that is what it is going to get, whether landlords and tenants want it or not. The issue for lenders is the UK is the only European country that has a thriving buy to let market. In other countries, property investment is carried out by companies or trusts rather than individuals.It is thought that if implemented the EU regulation could inflict huge damage to the private rental sector.

Please act now and sign up to the No10 petition “SAVE our buy-to-let mortgage”

Hitting out Nikki Sinclaire MEP said ‘’Some 1.4m landlords with buy-to-let loans are set to be affected by the proposed changes, and some might find they no longer qualify for a remortgage in as little as two years’ time, It is outrageous that the EU should try to dictate to lenders and borrowers the basis on which loans should be offered’’  “This unwarranted assault on the buy-to-let market will inevitably result in less affordable rental housing. It will also put the lives of 1.5million British investors and their tenants into turmoil.”

Potentially the new rules which would dry up funds would force hundreds of thousands of people to sell up.
The glut of homes on the market would then see supply outstrip demand, possibly causing prices to crash. Leaving those who have purchased during the past few short years being pushed into negative equity. The buy-to-let sector which is worth several billion pounds has recently reached its busiest levels since 2008 thanks to strong tenant demand.

The private rental sector is increasingly important to the economy, increasing by almost a million homes in just five years. But the EU plans could put fresh growth under threat by reducing the supply of properties.

Nikki Sinclaire MEP has claimed a number of MEPs have claimed that their constituents do not care about the new proposals and may use this excuse to support the proposed changes in  Committee or in  plenary .  Urging landlords AND tenants who have not already contacted their MEP to do so now.  ''immediately people would think this would effect just investors but in truth this will damage the whole housing market inculding ordinary homeowners ''

Nikki said if changes to the UK buy to let market need to be made they must be taken by our democratically elected politicians in Westminster, not by faceless and unelected bureaucrats in Brussels.

Please act now and sign up to the No10 petition “SAVE our buy-to-let mortgage”

Read more on our thoughts on EU regulation of BTL  here 

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Coalition housing market boost

Get Britain Building!
Dave and Nick have launched their new government backed 95 percent mortgage scheme for first time buyers.

The aim of it is to kick start the housing market.

Surely they would all be better off renting?

Read about it in the Guardian
Watch it on the BBC
Read it in the Financial Times

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Nest egg landlords

 An article on the continued positivity from the middle classes as regards BTL property as an alternative pension investment.

The Daily Mail article focuses on the high demand for rental properties.

Strong demand seems set to continue as ARLA explains "It is because there is a shortage of social housing, there are a lot of people who don't have the confidence to buy and there are a lot of people who can't afford to buy."

Whether this situation will change thanks to Dave and Nicks new initiative we will have to wait and see.

Worth reading if you are a landlord looking for reassurance over your cornflakes.

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Landlord returns - Hobsons Choice?

According to Rightmove asking prices are down by 3.1% in November and number of sales are also down by 11% compared compared to last year.

Is this the first stages of the correction I warned of?

Landlords who are fully let and on tracker related mortgages will be probably making record rental profits so we are all doing well right?

Maybe not according to Professor Micheal Ball who points out that if you take account of inflation many of us are experiencing a negative capital return on our investments. This all has to be set against any rental profits to work out the real returns and the reality is that they may not be that great!

From a personal perspective one thing I DO know. My returns from my rental properties are FAR better than my recent investment in Thomas Cook shares!

Is it case of 'Hobson's Choice'?

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Your rented property cover

As a landlord you need to ensure that your rented property is insured.

One requirement of many insurance policies is to disclose any criminal convictions. This doesn't just apply to the person taking out the policy it applies to the occupants, therefore if one of your tenants has a criminal conviction that you do not declare to the insurance company you may find that your insurance policy is void.

The difficulty arises in getting this information, you could ask your tenant prior to the tenancy and hope your tenant is honest, however, this does not help if your tenant is dishonest or a criminal conviction arises at a later date and the tenant does not inform you.

If you do become aware of a criminal conviction you should report it to your insurance company immediately.

If you would like any advise on this or any other landlord legal advice please email me at or telephone me on 01623 448331.

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Student Lets - what landlords need to know

Do you let properties to students or people who share a property? If so are you aware that your property may be classed as a house in multiple occupation and extra regulations and licensing are required.

The requirements do vary from local authority to local authority, therefore if in any doubt as to whether you do have a property in multiple occupation or to check that you comply with the regulations and have the necessary licences contract your local authority.

Failure to comply can lead to penalities such as a fine, failure to recover the property under section 21 of the housing Act or Housing Benefit reclaiming any payments they have made to you.

If you need any advice about this or any other landlord advice, please email at or telephone on 01623 448331.

Regards Rebecca

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BTL mortgage numbers high

The number of buy-to-let mortgages jumped by 16 per cent  according to the latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), In the last quarter the CML recorded BTL mortgages totaling 34,500 in the three months to September the highest number in three years. 

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Average rents slight rise

Letting agency LSL property services rental data shows a slow down in average rental figures in. Its latest monthly stats put average rents at £720 a month up just 0.2 percent from the previous month.

The underlying trend beneath the headline figure is a continued north  / south divide with the south-east seeing 1.5 percent increase and the north - east seeing a 1.4 percent fall.

"Rents are still heading northwards, but tenants may take comfort from the fact they did not climb at such a blistering pace in October," said David Newnes, director of LSL Property Services.

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Lending Soars

Lending to landlords seems to be one of the few lending bright spots in the economy as credit remains tight.

Just released figures show that buy-to-let lending rocketed by 16% in the quarter to September with the number of loans rising from 29,700 in the second quarter to 34,500.

The overall amount of lending also continues to grow. Figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) showed that there were 1.3m loans at the end of September worth £157 bn compared to only 1.2m a year before.

Paul Smee, director general of the CML, said: “With tenant demand remaining strong in the rental sector, some existing BTL landlords have been expanding their portfolios and the growth that returned to the sector in the preceding quarter has continued. The recovery of BTL from its low point in 2009 has helped improve supply and choice in the rental market. Despite recent improvements, however, BTL lending volumes are still only around one-third of their former peaks.”

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Greater rental yields outside London

Andy Young the Chief Executive of TBMC comments on higher rental yields outside London - 

“Unsurprisingly, the results of the Index show that London is the most popular location for buy-to-let investment with over 14.7% of mortgage applications received for properties in the capital city of England. However, the results also show that London does not, on average, generate the highest rental yields. London produced an average rental yield of 5.66% which is lower compared with other popular cities such as Manchester (7.03%) and Cardiff (7.55%). Although properties in London can command a higher rent, they are also more expensive to buy which affects the overall rental yield.”

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Section 8 or 21 notice?

I was contacted recently by a landlord who wanted to gain possession of their buy-to-let and was trying to work out whether to use a section 8 or section 21 notice.

She was unclear which one to go for and wanted my view.

Well it is the section 21 notice every time for me.

"Why she said...why is the section 21 better?"

It turns out that one of the reasons she wanted to remove her tenant was that they had been smoking in her property which was contrary to the tenancy agreement.

I explained I would go for a section 21 notice every time because providing the court is satisfied that it has been correctly served; then they are required to grant the landlord possession.

Section 8 on the other hand is fault based which means that the landlord has to prove to the court that one of the 17 grounds for possession has been met. Not easy if you are trying to establish that your tenant was smoking. How would you establish this in a court of law in front of a sceptical judge?

The main thing with a section 21 notice is to make sure you use the right one and serve it correctly.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fuel Prices to be Slashed for Tenants

To help tenants cut down their fuel bills this winter, A Liverpool housing association has announced that they are going to invest £1.1 million into energy saving projects, such as solid wall insulation and solar panels.   

Plus Dane Group will be offering Merseyside residents these new energy saving options, with potential give tenant’s access to free day-time electricity, free water heating and a reduction on their Tenants Insurance. The programme forms part of the Renewable & Energy Efficiency in Community Housing initiative (REECH).

To begin, more than 30 homes in Toxteth, will receive the innovative move, before other streets and neighbourhoods are offered the innovations at a later date.

Martin Gladwin, Plus Dane’s Head of Asset Management, has been quoted saying: “The energy challenges of the future are immense, with climate change and the likelihood of rising fuel bills having a huge impact on people’s lives and livelihoods.”

Mr Gladwin went on to add the following: “Plus Dane is committed to investing in our properties to make them all fit for the future and this is the one of the first steps on that journey. Tenants will be offered the work free of charge and should immediately see a big reduction in their annual fuel bills.”

What is more, REECH is a European Regional Development Funded project that is aimed at improving energy efficiency in some of the most deprived areas and communities in Liverpool. Over 12,500 homes across Merseyside and Cheshire are now owned and managed by Plus Dane Group.

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More families opting to rent

Andy Young the Chief Executive of TBMC comments on the increase in families opting to rent -
“One of the most noticeable trends since the beginning of the year is the growing proportion of
families who are renting accommodation. In quarter three 65% of tenants were families compared
with just 41% in quarter one. This reflects the continuing difficulties that first time buyers are
having getting a mortgage, putting them off purchasing their own home until later on in life. Renting
is also a more preferable option for families who want flexibility in terms of where they live. ”

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Savills predict 20 percent growth in rents

Rent forecasts are still sounding positive.

Savills are predicting that it can see rents out performing property values over the coming five years thanks to the continuation of increasing demand.

They predict that  average rents will increase by 20.5% by the end of 2016 against their prediction of house prices at just 6 percent over the same period.

Landlords just need to hope that interest rates stay where they are and we will all be fairly happy.

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Landlord predicts bad response

Again and again!
We all know how much the world hates landlords, the Guardian more than most folk.

Now I've not read their latest article entitled Is the rental market working? but I do know that for those landlords who enjoy scorn and abuse been ladled upon them just post on the positive effects that the BTL industry has had on the UKs housing provision.

Then sit back and enjoy as the hate spews from your screen.

The internet is a wondrous thing.

If self - flagellation's what you need.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

BTL mortgages - most popular

Visit Property Hawk mortgages and save time and money with our free online BTL mortgage finder.

Below is a selection of the most popular buy-to-let mortgages currently available.
If you would like to discuss your requirements with a member of the support team please telephone 029 2069 5446 or you can submit a quick enquiry directly to the team by filling in our online enquiry form
Max LTVInitial RateTermCompletion feeBooking feeIncentivesOverall Cost for Comparison
85%5.99% Fixed2 Years1%£130No6.6% APR
80%5.49% FixedJan 31 2014 2.5%£0Refund of valuation to a maximum of £500 and free legals for remortgages only.5.8% APR
80%4.99% Disc.Tracker2 Years£2995£0Refund of valuation to a maximum of £500 and free legals for remortgages only.5.7% APR
75%3.74% Disc.Tracker2 Years£1999£250No5.4% APR
75%4.19% Fixed2 Years2.5%£130No6.6% APR
70%3.99% Disc.Tracker3 Years£849£150No5.7% APR
70%4.25% Disc.Tracker2 Years0%£199Free valuation up to £335 for purchases and remortgages and free legals on remortgages only.6% APR
65%3.99% FixedSep 30 2013 £1295£250No5.5% APR
65%4.5% Tracker2 Years2%£150No5.2% APR
60%4.99% Fixed2 Years2.5%£130No6.8% APR
60%2.99% FixedOct 31 2013 £2495£250No5.2% APR
IMPORTANT! Due to current market conditions, lenders are withdrawing and replacing products with little or no notice.
Please check our website regularly to see the most up-to-date products available.
Tel: 029 2069 5446

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgages.
The Financial Services Authority does not regulate some forms of mortgage.

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Big landlord seeks bigger cake

Grainger the UK's largest listed residential landlord, are predicting that the private residential rental sector will double over the next 15 years.

This sounds like wishful thinking to me and Im sure its the kind of prediction that places a fat, moist tongue directly in the ear of all their shareholders, but I dont share there adventurous optimism.

“There is a new housing reality dawning on Britain: the financial crisis has tightened mortgage lending; house prices continue to be uncertain; and, frankly there are simply too few homes for the demand,” said Nick Jopling, the company's executive property director. “More and more people are renting.”

Let's wait and see.

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Property price twitter - Hey you

Hey you, EU!

360,000 young buyers stuck in starter homes with negative equity - Daily Mail
House prices still falling outside London - BBC
First time buyers trapped in homes ( not literally ) - Independent

EU rules to slash house prices - The Express
EU rules on mortgages would hit British house prices - Telegraph

Savills predict house price falls next year - Bloomberg
Assetz data show property price falls - FT Advisor
Home repossessions creep up - BBC

See all the property price tweets

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Increase in landlord remortgages

Andy Young the Chief Executive of TBMC comments on the increase of remortgages by existing landlords -

“During quarter three 53% of offers were for remortgages, which suggests that existing landlords are looking to release equity in order to expand their portfolios. This improvement in the remortgage market can be attributed to an increase in the number of good deals available specifically for refinancing and evidence that house prices may have bottomed out, providing suitable conditions for further property investment. Also noteworthy is that around 85% of offers were made to people who are 40 years old or over, compounding the finding that experienced landlords are now remortgaging.”

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Letting close shave!

I was all set up for the final of my new tenants to sign up yesterday morning.

I was a little nervous. I hadn't been able to get in touch to arrange his check in because of an incorrect mobile number. Having finally spoken to him 20 mins before he was due to sign the tenancy agreement I was relieved to be able to talk to him. My immediate impressions were to confirm the letting agents description of him that he sounded like a pretty decent young guy.
So relieved, I duly arranged to meet up with him to go through the inventory and 'check in'.

Having barely relaxed back into my arm chair to carry on with my side project of putting on cookery courses in Bakewell, the phone went. It was the letting agent. They were trying to pin an oversight on me. They had failed to check with me whether the garage was included in the let. It wasn't but the tenant had been assured it was. He wasn't pleased at all! He phoned me directly and it was clear his annoyance was with the letting agent who had 'misled' him and not me. A little bit of fancy foot work and some comforting and sympathetic noises saved the day from loosing my tenant. I apologised for the confusion and explained that his car, unless it was made by dinky would have not fitted into the garage anyway. He seemed reassured.

A nail biting 30 minutes later a call from the letting agent to confirm that the letting was back on track. Phew!

The moral of this story is make sure that the tenant and the letting agent knows the demise of the property to be let. If the garage or shed or garden is not to be let then be sure that they know this at the outset. It will hopefully avoid a last minute hitch and a small heart attack!

Letting Referencing
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