If a prospective tenant or landlord seems desperate to sign and exchange money then always ask 'Why?' Listen to your instincts and don't hand over your money or property to anyone you're not sure of.
Desperation is never attractive and in a landlord/tenant situation it’s best to be very wary!
Every now and again someone will come and view a property with me and at the end of the viewing they’ll ask me what they need to do to move in the next or even the same day. Now granted there may be some legitimate reasons where a tenant needs a new home urgently, for example if the landlord of a property they were due to move to has pulled out unexpectedly or if there's been a relationship breakdown.
However, in general if someone tells me they need to move in immediately, the alarm bells start ringing and they get louder and louder the more the person refuses to accept no for an answer.
Recently I had a call from one of my live-in landlady’s saying that a viewer we hadn’t been able to contact to confirm the appointment, had turned up an hour late. She’d shown him (and a friend) around the property. Good news – he wanted to take the room but he absolutely had to move in the next day. ‘Can we reference him overnight?’ she called to ask me. Unfortunately not, referencing generally takes 2-3 working days and as shown in the two earlier Belvoir Enfield articles listed below, full referencing is essential for every tenancy.
This situation reminded me of a gentleman I met earlier this year who was initially very charming and announced after seeing the kitchen of a flat that he absolutely loved it and what information did I now need from him? 'Erm, would you like to see the rest of the flat before you decide?'
He subsesquently offered me quite a substantial amount of money to be able to move in to the flat the same day, and when I refused, he offered me more. He was quite insistent and the charm disappeared, but if he was the successful businessman that he claimed to be then why was he so desperate and why couldn’t he find a hotel for a few of days?
A few weeks later I saw the same gentleman on a certain landlord and tenant show on TV and it became obvious why he was desperate.
However it can work both ways, I have also heard stories of people attending viewings and being told they need to put down a deposit there and then to secure a property, sometimes with no paperwork and no receipt! WIth so many horror stories of bogus landlords and agents who will take the unsuspecting tenants money and disappear, I'm amazed that people still handover money in these circumstances.
My advice is that whether you're a landlord or tenant, if you feel under pressure to commit to something you’re not 100% sure about, then walk away.
And all money transactions should be accompanied by an invoice and receipt.
The Enfield Property Blog contains more helpful advice and guidance for landlords, tenants and investors.