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Landlord and Tenant News: Rent Gazumping

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Landlords have had a fairly torrid time during the COVID-19 pandemic caught in the middle of tenants who can't afford to pay their rent because of coronavirus and their buy to let mortgage commitments. There is now some good news for landlords as rental properties are flying off letting agents websites and off the Rightmove site as soon as the properties go up for rent, with cases of rent gazumping so tenants can secure a property to rent. In this blog, Nollienne Alparaque, head of the landlord and tenant team at OTS Solicitors takes a look at the phenomenon of rent gazumping and renting in a frenzied property market.

UK Online and London Based Landlord and Tenant Solicitors 

For an initial consultation or legal advice on any aspect of landlord and tenant law call the expert London landlord and tenant lawyers at OTS Solicitors  on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

Rent gazumping

Rent gazumping is not confined to London and the surrounding areas. The property market, both in terms of sales and rental, seems to have gone crazy with so many people on the move after having been confined for so long with lockdowns and COVID-19 related restrictions. Some renters are wanting to move out to the country or to the suburbs to get more outdoor space whereas others are wanting to rent in London or other cities as they can foresee the end of working from home and the return to the office and they don’t want to cope with a long commute.

In the current property climate, many rental properties will fly off the shelves and that can result in rent gazumping as landlords have so much choice of who they decide to rent to. Landlord and tenant solicitors recognise that this is a problem for a number of prospective tenants but willingness to rent gazump should not be the sole criteria for who gets to rent a property as commercial and savvy landlords will also consider:

  • The length of time that a tenant is willing to sign a tenancy agreement for. If a tenant is willing to commit to a long tenancy agreement a landlord may save on costs and overheads as they will not have to decorate and make good their rental property every six months or twelve months when there is a new tenant.
  • The nature of the tenant’s employment. Whilst a freelance copywriter may be willing to rent gazump is an NHS doctor or nurse a better option in terms of their job security?
  • Has the prospective tenant completed an income check with a letting agent to check affordability?
  • Does a person who is willing to rent gazump have as good references or as good credit score as the other rental candidates? This is important because of the time it takes to start possession proceedings for rent arrears and to secure an eviction order.
  • Is a tenant able to pay advance rent for say six or twelve months or is the tenant able to provide a guarantor to pay the rent if they are not able to do so?
  • Is the tenant able to start the tenancy agreement as soon as possible?
  • Is the tenant single, part of a couple or does a tenant plan to rent with a group of friends as a house share?
  • Are there any concerns about the tenant’s circumstances. For example, does the prospective tenant have a large dog but want to rent a small apartment? Is the tenant a drummer who rehearses from home? Whilst pet ownership and musical ability may not bother a landlord, they may not be prepared to deal with potential neighbour complaints even if a prospective tenant is prepared to rent gazump.

The above matters are all important considerations for any landlord and especially ones who have had a difficult time with their rental properties during COVID-19.

Tenants and rent gazumping 

Landlord and tenant solicitors and letting agents have considerable sympathy for prospective tenants looking to find a property to rent in the current UK property market. Whilst the main advice is to be quick, it is also important to emphasise that it is best to be organised so you have evidence of income, know how long you are willing to commit to a tenancy agreement for and whether break clauses are needed. If advance rent is a possibility, then evidence of the savings will be needed or evidence that a parent or other person is willing to stand as guarantor for the rental payments.

No one would say that even if a prospective tenant does all these things that it will be easy to secure a rental property, especially in a property hot spot like London. Preparation work will put a potential tenant ahead of others looking to rent, even if the others prospective tenants are willing to try to rent gazump.

Getting the right landlord and tenant legal advice

Finding a rental property is undoubtedly a stressful experience for many tenants but the stresses don’t always end there. For example, landlords and tenants can fall out about:

  • Repairs to a property.
  • Property or garden maintenance and who is responsible.
  • Neighbour nuisance or complaints.
  • Alleged rent arrears.
  • Allegations of breach of the tenancy agreement.
  • Rent reviews.
  • Ending a tenancy and deposit disputes.

As there are many reasons why either a landlord or tenant may require specialist legal advice it is best to find a landlord and tenant solicitor who combines specialist legal knowledge with efficiency and empathy.

At OTS Solicitors we are known for our exceptional client service as shown by a recent five-star review about our landlord and tenant legal advice. This review was posted on the 11 October 2021:

‘I was very satisfied with OTS Solicitors and in particular Stephen Slater who represented me as tenant in a recent case. From the first consultation we had with Stephen, the events followed as he initially advised, ending in a positive outcome for us. Stephen's expertise and professional approach have taken out the stress from a potentially very stressful situation’.

UK Online and London Based Landlord and Tenant Solicitors 

For help and legal advice on any aspect of landlord and tenant law call the expert London landlord and tenantlawyers at OTS Solicitors  on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

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