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J4L

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About J4L

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    Super Senior Member

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    http://www.just4let.co.uk

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  • Location
    Barry
  • Interests
    Just4Let is a specialised letting agency, we do not sell houses. We let and manage residential properties throughout Cardiff, Barry and The Vale of Glamorgan.<br /><br />If you are a landlord looking for assistance finding a suitable tenant, or a tenant looking for a suitable property, please contact us, we are here to help in the process of letting property properly. <br /><br />We maintain high professional standards to both Landlord and Tenant and pride ourselves on Customer Care and impeccable service to both.<br /><br />

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  1. J4L

    Broken Window

    yes definitely thought of this one. Long story short we DO have evidence that this girl knows the perpetrator ( said so in so many words on her facebook!!!) It's something we are weighing up at the moment so watch this space . . .
  2. Gotta say I had to check on your link Brian to see what you did and where. The states!! I don't know of anyone who runs a criminal background check on tenants in this country. (It would take too long to do a CRB on every tenant anyway and we've had voids all over the place) It's something I have thought of but then on second thoughts why would I do that?? What would the information do in making my mind up on a tenancy approval? Does it matter really if someone has a record or is it the actual conviction I'm interested in? What are people's thoughts on this and does anyone KNOW an agent that does similar??
  3. An AST should be signed on handover of the property, that's what I do!! I don't see how an agent can sign an AST with the tenant and then a week later you appoint another Agent Of course the original ( I think) is not YET a valid contract until the date it takes effect but I'd be very careful if this is actually the case as I read it because of course Agent A on your instruction has agreed to let this property from a certain date TO a further date so when this date arrives do they have a claim on the property??? I'd say so!! For starters, surely Agent A had discussed potential tenants with you or they would have not told the people they were going to be accepted. Why after accepting them did you change your mind?? Secondly, If I were a tenant that had been promised a property and I'd signed an agreement, handed over an agents fees I'd want THAT money back wouldn't you? Agents DO charge a fee to tenants, it costs time and money to process a tenant and it is absolutely acceptable in this instance to get this fee back to the tenants. If the agent has processed an application then you should pay the agent also. I think we need more information here . . . . . .
  4. J4L

    Advice on Legal Action

    Couple of things. You don't mention if there were any belongings in the house in your post. This really would be an indicator of whether he'd left or not wouldn't it? I agree with Lyndon here, had there been personal possessions in the property I would have put a note on the door stating that due to the circumstances you discovered upon visiting the property to perform your inspection you have HAD to change the locks to ensure that the property was secure but if the tenant calls you on 07---------, you have a spare key for him to gain entry. This is an ideal way of opening up communication channels if he is staying there. Likewise if there was nothing in the property you attach an abandonment notice on the door with similar content giving them 14 days to contact you or you will then empty the property.
  5. J4L

    Broken Window

    Hi all, Not been on here since around September if we look at the last time I wrote anything. This is all good though because it means we're very very busy. Here's a nice story for you to mull over this fine morning. Happened to us a few weeks ago and just wanted to share it because you can never tell what's going to happen day by day in this industry. Ok few weeks ago we have received at 4.30am a message on our phone from a tenants mother saying that her daughter has been out drinking and had been followed home by some people who had attempted to force entry into the house. There was some sort of incident, ahe managed to get in and shut the door but this person kicked the door so hard (UPVC Style) it cracked across the middle ( beyond repair) and then proceeded to smash the lounge window and run off. I called the tenant back at 9am when I picked up the message and she gave me the whole story above and asked if I could get somebody to board this up and then sort getting it repaired. I said of course I could but that she would have to pay for it as windows and doors are her responsibility ( stated in the AST). Lo and behold I then start to get phone calls and letters from CAB. I think the 'boy' who I spoke to, and I say that with the greatest respect because he sounded about TEN, had just gotten his law degree and was 'practising' in the CAB on a voluntary basis until he could find a 'proper' job. Then it was Shelter and then Environmental Health on my case. I have 'battled' with the first 2 but not EH as we do have a great relationship here with them but it turns out that your tenant, if they so feel, can walk outside YOUR house that they rent off you, smash all the windows, say it was vandals, and YOU have to replace them. If you don't you'll get threatened with court action by Shelter (which for the record I said "you go for it, I can't wait" haha) But even following discussions with lots of people on this it becomes the Landlords responsibility and they throw the Housing Act disrepair clause at you. I have to say though that of course, we always advise Landlords to have 'adequate' insurance on the building but this situation had never arisen before so now when we give advice we make sure they have malicious damage included on their cover as this Landlord did not and now it's going to cost her about £800. So a return to the forum and a little advice passed on to those who haven't experienced this or something like this before. (oh and by the way the CAB volunteer tried to tell me that the clause in my AST would not be accepted by a court as it would be seen as an unfair term! Again of course I responded with "there's only one way to find that out isn't there) J4L
  6. J4L

    what would u do

    Got to check here, I think I'm wrong but when you say he ended up with US do you mean you are a live in Landlord or am I just hoping here?
  7. J4L

    Smokers

    Again I repeat, it takes the same amount of time to get a DSS tenant out and from my experiences if a property is managed correctly from day 1 then damage to a property would be kept to a minimum anyway. Remind me again why DSS tenants are so bad?? Not a patronising ? I'm just interested to know what people's experiences of these so called 'bad DSS tenants' do to properties that 'working people don't! Let's take a dog owner for e.g. I KNOW what damage a dog can do but we still have to decide whether a dog will do this in our property when an owner says it's well behaved, so we'd inspect the house they are at NOW and look for evidence of chewing, messing, scratching etc in their present accomodation and if there IS evidence of this then we'd either :- 1) turn their application down 2) Request a much larger bond to accept them with the dog. If you do these things then of course you are reducing the risk massively that they are lying about the pet! These are what I call 'safety nets' and I put these in place on EVERY property so we always have a 'reasonable' way of collecting money should the let go pear shaped. So what do I do with DSS tenants?? Exactly the same as if they were working / and/or had a dog. I'm visiting their current home and checking for cleanliness / tidiness etc i'll ask to see their rent receipts if they have them or their bank statements showing that a regular standing order is paid to the LL/LA. I'm taking references from their previous LL/LA to ensure that their " oh I always pay my rent on time" is absolutely true. I not only take their last LL/LA I'll go back even further, and reference them on a much previous LL/LA. If they have nothing to hide then they will offer up this information very easily. Private LL's (and some agents) don't always check out their tenants correctly or as thoroughly as I do so of course we are going to have a better success rate than they do but I see this as my role in this, it's part of the service I offer, and this is what's being bought initially. Like I've said many times before, LL's are too quick to take the first person that comes along waving a wad of cash. They are more interested in "getting the place filled" than looking at the bigger picture and thinking of what could happen 6 months down the road. I've discussed this with so many LL's I know this is true but I'd rather have a whining LL on my case because a place is empty than just throw anyone in. Here's an example:- New LL approaches me by way of referral, and has 2 properties empty. She's flapping (understandably) because she has 2 extra mortgages to pay. 1st property - local lad ( LL knows the family) calls me and says he's interested. I perform a viewing and ask him to fill MY application form in. 4 days later and I've not received it back and not taken a deposit so naturally I've left the property open to viewings but not a great deal of interest. LL calls me to ask what's happening because the property has now been empty for a fortnight. (remember here that I've helped evict the previous tenant because the previous LA and the LL didn't have a clue what they were doing) So an empty property after 2 weeks of pressure from us on the tenant and she's up & gone owing 6 months rent and slight damage to property!!! I'm getting pressure from LL after a fortnight empty and no one in, but no pressure on previous LA for letting this tenant live rent free for 6 months!!!! Another few days pass and I get the application form back but no holding deposit, I have the sense to go straight for a Guarantor with this kid, call it a 6th sense if you like but I took this before I had any chance to do other references. Met the mum, very nice, looked at the house, very tidy etc so signed her in there and then. TWO days later and into the 3rd week, LL says she's spoken to the prospective tenant and his mum and she's agreed to let him move in on the following Monday because he's told her that the local bond board are covering his bond and he's applied for a crisis loan to pay the months rent in advance. That was on the Friday!! I advise strongly against this, but am told, "don't worry I know the family it'll be ok, he's got everything in place." Monday arrives and I call the Landlord to retrieve the keys she had back to go and do some bits to the property over the weekend and she tells me she's already given them to him and I only need to go and sign the contracts!!!!!!!!!!!!! So he has a 6 month contract, the keys and we've received NO MONEY! That was in July, guess what?? Bond board take a fortnight to process the bond! He smartly thinks that if he doesn't tell them he's in they'll do this for him. One thing the bond board do for tenants is help them do all their housing benefit forms and submit them. Housing now request his tenancy agreement 3 weeks after he's in there and he can't do this via the bond board because the agreement is dated 13th July and they'll then find out he was lying and won't bond him which is exactly what happened. So housing look at his application and his situation have now decided they'll only back-date a claim for 4 weeks and he's not got a bond. So here we are 10th September, tenant been in TWO months, I've managed to drag £160 out of him, and we've got no bond! We're still awaiting housing payment but today I've been told that they've not put it into payment because they are awaiting proof of income (they think he's working) and it's not looking great. Rent due again on Sunday = 3 x £420 rent - £160 paid = £1100 arrears already and no bond!!!! Plus doesn't look like housing will pay him let alone back date any payments. Long winded story I know but this is the pressure that LL's put themselves under every day by not following a particular procedure and worrying too much over a void period. As you can see, she might as well have left the place empty for another week or so and this would never have happened. My point in all this is as long as you know what you are doing and you check people out correctly you shouldn't get these problems at all or at least you'll minimise the risk of this happening. I know this post is about DSS tenants and this is a horror story to show what CAN happen but it's also to show people who is to blame. Not MY fault is it? I advised against this. I'm sure we'll get through it, thank god I took the guarantor when I did, what if mum had refused after he'd had the keys?? She's potentially given her house for a year free of charge. DSS tenants can be fine, even the bad ones, but this is the risk business you are in and the most anyone should lose, potentially is a months equivalent rent if it's done correctly but then you have another safety net in place to cover that in the form of a guarantor. DSS tenants are only bad if LL's allow them to be!!!!!!!!! It has nothing to do with changing laws! Let's not get onto property inspections cos that's a whole different topic!
  8. J4L

    Smokers

    It takes exactly the same amount of time and money to evict a person on DSS as it does a working tenant. Don't understand this comment really.
  9. J4L

    Smokers

    Totally agree that it's subjective, but would you not agree that an agent who does this every day would have more experience and knowledge about what brings people in rather than a Landlord who occasionally pops a card in the post office window?? Your strategy is fine, I do this all the time. As you say it maintains interest. Another way of marketing a property, just for future reference, is to price it much higher than the LHA figures, thus you'll lose the interest of people on benefits straight away. The property has to be A1 condition to be able to warrant this though. And my point originally was to not say NO DSS, this strategy above works every time and once you get your 'preferred' clients over the door or on the phone you can reduce the price accordingly. There's more than one way to skin a cat. . . . .
  10. J4L

    Smokers

    You don't necessarily need to wait 2 months there's always the section 8 route and you may find that he'll go of his own accord once served this.
  11. J4L

    Smokers

    Whatever makes you think i'm not a landlord also?
  12. J4L

    Smokers

    I totally understand where you are going with your reasoning but my point is that 'regardless' of whether you like it or not you will get 9 bad ones to one good one, so don't worry about wasting 'their' time worry more about getting someone in. It's all about how you deal with people and believe me I get tenants every day viewing properties saying "Do you take DSS, Benefits etc because most of the agents around here don't" My answer is ALWAYS, "yes of course we will CONSIDER this. I don't care what part of the country you are in, "setting your stall out" as you put it is going to deter people from calling you and that good tenant is going somewhere else. Of course, once you've got the people looking then I agree it's down to YOU to choose wisely and sometimes this can be guess work but you have to then get your safety nets in place "just in case" Your advert reads as such:- Really nice one bedroom apartment for rent - £450pcm. But I'm really fussy on who I want to live in there because I've heard some bad stories / or had a bad experience before! I refuse to listen to your story even though it may be totally genuine because of course every person who claims benefits HAS to be lazy and sit around all day playing on the play station. Wouldn't surprise me if December comes and you decide to not pay your rent and throw a big party in MY apartment and all your friends will trash the place. Once you wake up in the morning you're bound to think 'b**s to this I can't be bothered cleaning up so I'll do a bunk and find some other mug who will take me in' I think your comment that I'm very 'lucky' with my tenants is quite patronising as you don't know me or them. If you knew me you'd understand that I know what I'm doing and I do it well, regardless of where I'm based and the demographics of my local society. People are people and if you treat them as such you'll get much better responses. Gone are the days where so few Landlords could maximise their portfolios by 'creaming off' the very best tenants for themselves. There are too many Landlords out there now which has increased the competition and left properties standing empty for many months such as yours. You say co operation is not always ideal with private Landlords? Who's fault is this? The council? The Landlords? I guess this could even be a bit of both but believe me, once the homeless department get someone in who needs housing who do you think they call? The guy that is fair, the one they can speak to, the one that goes the extra mile to help them out, and the one who provides 'good' accomodation. It's the one that deals with repairs quickly and communicates with tenants throuhout their stay and not just at the beginning and then leaves them to their own devices. You know in my area there are numerous agents but generally the council come to me. If your Landlord boss has invested heavily then he must also know that this industry is not an easy way to make money, he has to put systems in place that will 'guarantee' that his business, (and let's not forget this, it IS a business) is a successful one. There are plenty of Landlords out there who thought the housing market was a 'simple' way to make money but times have changed and this is no longer the case. That's why so many agents are going under and so many Landlords are selling on. I honestly hope your guy doesn't go the same way but he needs to look at his systems and the way he runs his business rather than 'directly' at his bottom line. Good effective Communication costs nothing and I'd guess that whomever is in charge of running this 'empire' is not very good at it. How far South are you cos for a fee I can come and take a look at this and turn this around for him within 12 months. Yes my list is 'basic commonsense' as you put it but I know of a dozen local agents that can't even talk to people PROPERLY so what does that tell you? All the local agents lack 'basic' common sense? Thus lack business knowledge? Have unhappy tenants? c**P properties and subsequently have larger void periods? Poor bottom lines, bigger problems? All of the above! Once people stop pidgeon holing prospective tenants they'll understand that they too can pick the cream tenants, It's just that I open my doors to all comers in the first place and THEN i choose. If there are a large amount of tenants in arrears then there's only one person to blame. The guy that put them in, the guy that referenced them incorrectly, the guy that doesn't know the HB system as well as he should, the guy that can't communicate, the guy that doesn't know how to collect money, . . . . . . . . Apologies I seem to be going back to my 'basic common sense' list!! There's your answer!! Try this for me please . . . . Ask your guy to give me a call (seriously) and I'll lend an ear and maybe some ideas on how to move forward. You take your "No DSS, smokers, pets" sentence out of your advert for 1 week and see how much of a response you get. Let me know, I'll be intrigued to know if you find someone or get a better call response without it in there.
  13. J4L

    Additional tenant moving in

    "It turns out she wants to move soon so that's why but I'd rather she stayed!" tickled me this! "Thanks, yes I thought I was doing the right thing by forcing a new tenancy." But not as much as this! She's going to go soon anyway so what's the problem? This is why she doesn't want to sign, nothing to do with you allowing or not the new arrival in my opinion. You don't need to send any letters to anyone if you don't wish to so as Rodent suggests, get the guy checked out, ask for lots of cash upfront and let them crack on with it.
  14. J4L

    Advice Please

    Yeh definitely the 2, and a guarantor to cover BOTH not just the girl. Just because he's a 'professional' means nothing! They can sometimes be the worst!
  15. J4L

    Smokers

    Have to say Hat's off to you babyfirefly677, I totally agree with you. Mortitia, I don't think I read anywhere in your posts that it was a one bed property either!! Think you've made some damning comments about this poster and a large chunk of society but I'll leave her and them to defend that, for now! Mortitia, I think you need to relax a little on the information you give out when advertising. I manage in excess of 200 properties and trust me you'll NEVER see an advert of mine that says "No DSS, No Benefits, No Pets, Smokers etc etc." Now that DOESN'T mean that I DO accept them, it just doesn't say that I don't! Huge difference here. The rental market is like a pyramid where the baseline is your 'average person' on 'average wages' or 'benefits' and the rental prices are structured around this and the local LHA figures. The higher up the pyramid you go the higher the rental price is and the less people there are that can afford this. If you then take out smokers, pet owners etc you are narrowing your target market so of COURSE it's going to take much longer to find a tenant. Effectively what you're doing is cutting this pyramid in half 'vertically'!!! Don't know if that makes sense in writing but generally I draw a pyramid for new Landlords and it shows it better. Once you get some responses YOU decide (by meeting them, or getting your agent to visit their present home) who you accept for the tenancy. You may get 10 parties interested and 9 may be 'undesirable' but you may just find one that suits. I'd say that single mums are the BEST renters, well certainly in my experience. Look at this laterally. They may have to move their children's school to find alternative / better accomodation ( i.e. your property) these single mums are more likely to stay because they don't want to be moving schools again in 6 months time so will do their utmost to pay rent on time and look after the property because they don't WANT to be evicted. Moving as we're told is one of the most stressful things in life and I'm sure any tenant doesn't want to be doing this twice a year so most play ball and behave. These are just a few things we consider when deciding on a tenancy application and the list is not exhaustive just a few ideas for you. You say you do the accounting for a private Landlord with many 100's of properties and that he specialises in DSS tenants? You say that many are in arrears so much so that you were worried he may go bust? Can I suggest that this Landlord doesn't know what he's doing? Can I suggest that the properties these people reside in are of low quality? Can I suggest that the Landlord or his staff do not know the Housing Benefit system? Can I suggest that the Landlord or his staff do not know how to communicate effectlively? Can I suggest that the Landlord or his staff have a superiority complex, as you appear to have? Can I suggest that the Landlord or his staff take on tenants without checking them out first? Can I suggest that the Landlord or his staff accept the first person waving a bundle of cash without properly getting to know them? Can I suggest that the Landlord or his staff do not take Guarantors on any of these tenants? 50% of our tenants fall into this, your pet hate, category and NONE are behind with their rent! Why do you think this is? I'll tell you, it's because we can answer a resounding NO to all the suggestions I made above. Unfortunately I think you sit in a nice warm office listening to the staff or the Landlord directly, bemoaning the antics of the very people HE or HIS STAFF have placed in properties. UH!!!! Blame can only be proportioned in one direction I'm afraid! As the Rodent sometimes states "remember when you point a finger there are always 3 pointing back at you" (never thought I'd end up using Rodent's material but this one is apt for this post)
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