A colleague of mine recently told me about a landlord that he spotted advertising a property on Gumtree, he recognised the property as he’d been out to value it for sale only 6 months previously and he provided the landlord with advise on the kind of rental yield he could expect if he let it as a HMO.
When contacted, the landlord remembered him and explained he had taken him up on his letting advice and had decided to rent it out privately as a HMO (house in multiple occupancy). He commented that he decided to use Gumtree to save on costs and because ‘how hard can it be to find a tenant anyway?’.
He also commented that he didn’t know if he had made the right decision, as he had suffered some particularly bad experiences with the tenants he had found, and he was considering giving it all up anyway and selling. When pressed he explained that in his HMO in the last 6 months, one tenant had committed suicide in his room and another tenant had been arrested and carted off to stay at Her Majesty’s pleasure after he had been using his room to store and deal drugs from. He had also suffered high levels of arrears with other tenants. My colleague asked again why, when obviously finding tenants on Gumtree had not served him well, he was still using the website to find tenants for his property? Incredulously, the landlord informed him it was again due to cost. We hear these stories from Gumtree landlords all the time and it is even more surprising and saddening that this landlord had still not learned the error of his ways. I wonder if this landlord had even stopped to consider, what using Gumtree to source these tenants had cost him already? What time, money and personal stress could he have saved if he had just used a letting agent to find him tenants in the first place?
Landlords, are you really prepared to play Russian roulette with your property investments? Do you really have the time to deal with all of this stress and anxiety by not letting the experts do what we do best? As letting agents, we weed out the tenants who have bad credit history, low affordability and a history of anti-social behaviour. It is a fact that they use Gumtree to find somewhere to live as they know private landlords wont reference them like a letting agent will. Think about it, this is what we do day in day out, we are experts in spotting these fraudulent and poorly behaving tenants and we are experienced in spotting the professional scammers and the tenants who lie about who they are (we actually had an incident just last week where a tenant was pretending to be someone they weren’t and their ID didn’t quite match up to the person we had met). We genuinely want to find you good paying and long-staying tenants who will look after your property for the long-term.
Please think in the long-term about what a bad tenant in your investment could cost you and mean to your time and stress levels spent sorting it out. Consider what is more valuable to you, a few hundred pounds at the start of a tenancy getting it right? Or a few thousand pounds sorting it out later down the line?
Please get in contact if you’ve decided to make the clever choice.
Angharad Trueman – Managing Director