Letting agents may have achieved the impossible – they have (in the eyes of many) outdone even the much maligned estate agents and ‘we buy any house’ companies of this world to take the crown of most mistrusted professional.
And like all ‘public perceptions’, whilst there are many good reasons for the bad impression, the real situation is much more nuanced – many (in fact, dare we say most) letting agents work very hard, don’t get paid as much as people think and help people find the best home possible. What is more, they sit precariously between a landlord (as a breed, not famed for kindness or compassion) and the tenant.
Chances are, if you haven’t lived in the same property for years, you’ve probably been on a rental viewing when trying to find your next home.
And you’ll have met many letting agents as you go from office to office, flat to house, trying to find the right property.
But have you stopped to think what the agent might really be thinking on that all important viewing?
Well, fear not – our intrepid researchers have spoken to them and asked the right questions, so you don’t have to.
Here’s what they found…
By the way, no names or company details will ever be revealed – that’s just how we roll.
“I know it sounds horrible but I know if they’ll get the property before they get out the car. You can tell a lot about people by what their car is like and how they drive. If you can’t park nicely, you’re not getting the house. Sorry. That’s how it is.”
“So many times people tick ‘non-smoker’ when they blatantly stink of fags. If they lie about that then what else are they not telling me? I always reject the ‘non-smokers’ who smell like an old pub ashtray!”
“The tenants have to seem keen or I just don’t trust them. If they’re on their phone all the time I can’t be bothered to talk to them but if they seem interested I do whatever I can to help.”
“We have a code in the office for applicants we think are no good but don’t like to say no to. We tell them we’ll put them on the PA list and tell them it means Priority Applicant. But we just chuck them in the bin.”
“Sometimes we deal with horrible landlords and I feel so sorry to let their flats to a nice tenant, you know you’re stitching them up but you have to do it, we have targets for letting stuff out.”
“So many tenants have reptiles, iguanas, that kind of thing. That always puts me off.”
“The worst bit of my job is meeting a tenant you like and then you do the checks and find out they are liars. I don’t fall for it so much now but early on in my job, it was hard to deal with that.”
“The new safety rules for electrics are good. I have let so many places that look dodgy, you know, wires hanging out the wall where a sockets been broken or whatever.”
“I am always in a hurry. I feel sorry to go fast round somewhere but some days I have to show 20 people round flats and with the traffic it leaves no time, you know to be nice and whatever.”
So it turns out letting agents are like many of the rest of us. Busy, rushed, stressed and sometimes put in to difficult situations. Lets be nice to them – there’s nothing to lose!