A Guide to Finding Good Landlords
When you come to sign a tenancy agreement, you are entering a contract with the landlord, who throughout your tenancy will often be your first or main point of contact. A good landlord will be able to address issues with the property in a timely manner, be easily accessible for communication, be responsible of his legal obligations and your safety, be considerate of you and your needs, and throughout act in a just and fair manner to make your tenancy as pleasant as possible. To that extent, it is vital for you to find a great landlord and have a good relationship with the them.
There is no doubt that the choice of property comes before choosing or picking out a good landlord – you first find a property and then hope that the landlord is also a match. An ideal property, with a less than ideal landlord can often be a recipe for disaster and turn your dream tenancy into a nightmare. There are however a number of ways and approaches that you can use to spot and pick out the good, but also the bad landlords.
Can I speak to the landlord before moving in?
It will often be useful to get to know your landlord before moving into a property. In other words, speak to the landlord of the property beforehand, so as to get to know them and their personality better. If the viewing is held through an agency or agent, try to arrange an additional meeting with the landlord. Not being able to meet the landlord (unless there is a justified reason) is one of the first signs of a dodgy property and an absolute no-go for tenants. When you do get to meet the landlord, besides inquiries and general discussion, your ultimate goal should be to assure yourself that the landlord is in fact a genuine person who will look after you and your best interests throughout the tenancy.
Understanding signs of a good landlord comes with experience, however, to avoid pitfalls in finding the right property, you can also prepare yourself in a number of ways. Prior to meeting your landlord, think about how you present yourself. Just as you look to read into a landlord’s personality and character, the first impression you should leave on a landlord is that you as a tenant are aware of your rights, and in control of your decisions, rather than a person who can be exploited.
What questions should I ask a landlord?
To make a good first impression, ask the landlord questions regarding important property documents such as the deposit or gas safety certificate. A good landlord will be able to answer all your questions directly and with transparency, and where needed provide evidence to support his answers. If on the contrary the landlord seems to be dishonest or holding back information, this could be a sign that they are in fact an undutiful landlord. Furthermore, if your landlord is late, or seems to be unorganised that will often be a reflection of their true self, and an indication that you as a tenant will also receive an unprofessional service.
Is my landlord a member of the National Residential Landlord Association (NRLA)?
Finally, there are a number of ways through which you can research your landlord and find out more about them. If your landlord is a member of one of the major landlord associations such as the National Residential Landlord Association (NRLA), you can have indication that they are responsible and will be abiding by a given code of conduct where you as a tenant will be treated reasonably. Alternatively, you can use the platform ‘Ask Tenants’ which can be described as the TripAdvisor equivalent of landlords. There you may be able to find reviews and opinions of past tenants regarding the landlord, or even about certain defects the property may have such as a leaky roof or damp walls, which the landlord may be trying to hide prior to you signing the contract for tenancy.
Although not the most accessible method, if you are fortunate to be visiting a property that still has its soon to be departed tenants on sight, you could always ask them for their opinion on the landlord and will often get a very informed and helpful answer!