The accidental landlord says money isn’t everything...

A new tenant offers less rent than his rival but brings his own tasteful art and furniture. The accidental landlord hopes he stays forever.
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Not all landlords are greedy bloodsuckers obsessed with squeezing the last penny from tenants. Sure, we all want to make a nice profit at the end of the day, but how much rent a tenant is prepared to pay isn’t the only factor to consider and I, for one, don’t always accept the highest bidder.
I can’t speak for other landlords, but I am more likely to accept an offer from a tenant I warm to than a higher rent from someone I really don’t much like. I want tenants who I feel I can trust, who I think will look after my property and who will be easy to deal with.

I recently had two offers on a flat, from young, single chaps, but one was slightly higher than the other. However, I accepted the lower offer because the guy was so enthusiastic about the property that I was instantly drawn to him. Also, he was chatty and seemed very open and honest. After a 15-minute conversation I felt confident he’d take really good care of the flat.
The fact that he seemed to be looking for a home, rather than a crash pad, also went in his favour. Marketing a property is expensive if you use a letting agent and time-consuming if you don’t, so it often makes sense to accept a little less rent for the possibility of a longer let.
However much I like a tenant I would still only start with a short contract, just to make sure they’re as great as I hope they’ll be. This guy offered to go for a fixed two-year let. Steady on, I said, let’s start with six months and see how we get along.
So far it’s all going well, even though the day after he moved in he asked if he could chuck out most of my furniture.
To be honest, it was a collection of mismatched items, including a sofa my first-ever tenant had persuaded me to buy in a sale years ago when I was too inexperienced to realise that when someone asks for a specific piece of furniture, particularly one that you believe to be truly hideous, the correct response is to tell them to buy it themselves — and to make sure they take it with them when they leave.
The other pieces were left behind by other tenants over the years, so when he explained very nicely how he just really wanted to make the place his own, I told him to give them all away on Gumtree.
I don’t have a problem with tenants making it their own and hanging their own artwork on the walls. Everyone likes to have their own stuff around them.
I popped in recently to check all was well with him and, wow, the old flat looked amazing. With his cool furniture and tasteful art it was hard to believe it was the same place. Hopefully now this tenant has made it his home, he’ll stay — forever. The ideal tenant. Result.
  • Victoria Whitlock lets three properties in south London. To contact Victoria with your ideas and views, tweet @vicwhitlock  

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