Q. We have just let our property out to a banker. My husband and I were very excited at first but all he seems to do is complain about the little things in our property, is quite abrupt and calls us constantly. Do you have any advice as to what we need to do differently?
A. Firstly, most white-collar professionals will enter into the letting of a property on a professional and non-personal basis. It is always advisable to try your best to do the same. Corporate or corporate-quality tenants nowadays often expect a professional and responsive service from whoever is managing the property, especially in Central London. Tenants often do not realise that the owner of the property is the person with whom they are dealing after they move in. This can very often be a failing of the estate agent who may not have explained that after a tenant takes occupancy of the property their role diminishes.
I always try to advise my clients that they should meet their tenants when they move in and, at the very least, should formerly introduce themselves by phone and email at the beginning of the tenancy. Again, try your best to keep all communication pleasant, but formal, so that there is no opportunity for things to get too personal.
Q. I want to let my property privately through a well-known website, having had enough of estate agents. In your opinion, is there anything I need to look out for when going down this route?
A. As long as you have a certain amount of experience of being a landlord, the process should be quite simple and familiar to you. I would, however, try to remain sceptical, asking why any prospective tenant has chosen to sidestep estate agents. Often it is for financial reasons: either because they are unable to meet normal referencing criteria or because they can think that they can obtain a lower rent. Try to get a detailed back story on this. Things are rarely what they seem and you may end up with a more difficult or problematic tenant than you bargained for. If you are unsure of a tenant in anyway, my advice would be to move on to the next one. You never know, you might meet a kindred spirit who shares your disdain for our professional breed.