The accidental landlord: how tenants can impress landlords

The accidental landlord weeds out would-be tenants who turn up late and can't afford the rent.
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£750 a week: a three-bedroom house to rent with a pretty garden and summerhouse, near Fulham Broadway and West Brompton 

Don't people realise that when they go to look at a property, landlords are looking at them to see if they would make suitable tenants? I advertised a vacant room 24 hours ago and I've had three viewers, but I wouldn't let to any of them.

One was 45 minutes late, one rocked up wearing massive headphones that he left hanging round his neck with the music seeping out (idiot) and the third asked, was it okay if she only provided half the requested deposit? Er, no.

I sympathise with the struggle to find suitable accommodation but some people really need to make more of an effort to impress landlords if they're going to get their pick of the best on offer.

For what it's worth, here's my advice to tenants applying to rent a room or a property:
Don't be late for the viewing. I know public transport is unreliable and traffic can be a nightmare in London, but allow extra time for your journey and if by some miracle you arrive early, use those spare minutes to check out the local area. If you are running late, try to let the landlord know and then have the decency to apologise for keeping them waiting.

As you enter the property, offer to remove your shoes because it's polite and it shows the landlord that you care about cleanliness. And say nice things about the place. I want tenants who want to live in my flat and if they compliment my choice of decor I'll feel better disposed towards them.

Show you're a serious viewer — bring along copies of your photo ID, a reference from your current landlord and a letter from your employer providing proof of salary, or your last three months' bank statements instead. Your monthly gross income should ideally be at least three times the monthly rent to pass a credit check. If your salary is a bit on the low side, it will help if you can provide details of a guarantor who will accept responsibility for paying the rent if you can't. It's important they are based in the UK. I don't care if your parents own a safari park in Kenya or run a French vineyard, if they are based abroad they're useless as guarantors.

If you like a property but think the rent is a bit too high, don't be afraid to make an offer, but keep it realistic. I had four lovely young girls interested in a flat but they offered me 25 per cent below the asking price. They called two days later to make me a sensible offer but I'd accepted another group.

Be flexible. Consider renting an empty property and furnishing it yourself, then you'll have more places to choose from. You'll be able to pick furniture you actually like rather than putting up with someone else's choice, and you can keep it when you move.

If you do want furnished accommodation, it's worth looking at unfurnished and asking the landlord if they'll provide some essential items, but don't be too demanding. Finally, if you can move in as soon as the property becomes vacant you are more likely to secure it. If this means covering the rent for few days before you are able to move in, that might be a small price to pay for the perfect place.

Victoria Whitlock lets three properties in south London. To contact Victoria with your ideas and views, tweet @vicwhitlock

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