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Is it necessary for landlords to handle their own viewings?
04th May 2012
When potential tenants come to look at your property, as a landlord you have two choices: take them round the house or flat yourself or sit back and let the letting agent handle it.
This second option can have its advantages - for example, if you live far away from your property or have a full-time job alongside your lettings business, it may not be practical to conduct viewings yourself.
But according to a new poll by Upad, landlords may be missing a trick by not showing prospective tenants around the property personally.
The online lettings agency found that just 15 per cent of tenants would rather meet an agent for a viewing than deal directly with the landlord.
More than half of renters said they would rather meet the landlord, while just over a third said that they were indifferent.
Tenants generally prefer to be shown the property by the landlord as they believe they are best placed to answer any questions they may have, the survey found.
One tenant told Upad: "It is the landlord's property and therefore he or she is more likely to know the finer details about the house than the agent who is simply there to do a job.
"Landlords are more honest with you and you don't feel like you are being constantly pitched or sold to. A landlord is more likely to tell it like it is.
As such, conducting viewings yourself could make the difference between a tenant choosing your property over someone else's.
But this is not the only advantage, as meeting a prospective tenant before handing over the keys to the property could give the landlord an important first impression of the person who is going to be occupying their house or flat.
While property owners can take out rent guarantee insurance and contents cover to protect themselves from unreliable tenants, meeting them beforehand and getting a feel for their personality can help landlords avoid taking on bad tenants in the first place.
It can also help form the basis of a good relationship between the landlord and tenant, making it easier to avoid disputes further down the line.
"By cutting out the middle man and dealing directly with tenants, landlords have full control, enabling them to build trust and secure long-lasting relationships with their tenants," says James Davis, chief executive of Upad.
The National Landlords Association (NLA) also argues that meeting the tenant is vital to building a good relationship between them and their landlord.
"The best way to ensure good relations between the tenant and landlord is to ensure the right tenant is selected for the property," said NLA chairman David Salusbury.
"The NLA advises that all landlords should meet with the prospective tenant, view the property together, discuss the tenancy agreement in detail and explain how and when the rent should be paid."
Landlords can further ensure they are taking on a trustworthy tenant by having referencing carried out. This should reveal if the tenant has a good credit history, if they are likely to be able to afford rent payments and if they have any record of mistreating properties in the past.