How to Let Property
(Really Nasty Property)

Talking about how to let property, I just wanted to tell you about a strategy that I just used to let the nastiest property I’ve ever seen.

Have you ever been in a situation where you got a property back from a tenant in an absolute state? Was all your capital tied up and you didn’t have the ready cash to get the property back into a lettable condition?

This happened to me a while ago and I came up with this wee strategy that resulted in the tenant doing the work and I didn’t have to pay a penny!

I had bought the property from the seller several years ago and bought it sight-unseen. (Yes, I know. It was in my young and reckless days!)

how to let property

When I got the property back, it was in a disgusting state. It was filthy, it stank to high-heaven and in one room, the carpet and wallpaper was actually soaking with pet urine(!!!). Yuck.

Here’s how it goes... offer the property at a reduced rent for a period at the beginning of the tenancy.

So, for this one I offered it as follows:

  • First 6 months: £150 per month
  • Second 6 months: £250 per month
  • Third 6 months: £350 per month
  • Fourth 6 months onwards: £450 per month

That’s a total saving of £3,600. You can obviously tweak the figures depending on how much work needs done.

Be honest in your ad

I was totally honest in the advert, in fact I think I used a headline something like “Do up this smelly flat for a rent discount!”.

It turns out that it was super-popular. I ended up with a deluge of enquiries and people fighting over the flat!

Why was it so popular?

I suppose in these times of financial hardship, a big saving like this is very attractive to people. Also, people like being able to put their own stamp on it by decorating to their own taste.

The benefits for you?

To recap, here are benefits to you, the landlord:

  • the property lets in super-quick time so you don’t lose rent while waiting for repairs to be done
  • you don’t have to fork out cash for repairs up-front
  • no mortgage carry costs while works are being done or while the property is marketed
  • the tenancy lasts for longer than you might normally expect because they won’t get the full benefit of the discount if they don’t stay for the full 18 months. Plus they’ve just done all that work!
  • you can get away with a very full end rent because people focus on the up-front discount rather than the final figure
  • having done all the work up-front, they are far less likely to call you for minor repairs down the line.

What to watch for

Although this way how to let property is very effective if you are strapped for cash or in a hurry but there are a few things to watch for:

  • it’s a good idea to specify the exact works to be done
  • only specify cosmetic stuff like decor and minor DIY; if you put in say plastering or complicated joinery then you’re asking for it to be botched (unless you rent to a qualified tradesman of course)
  • there is obviously the risk that someone might not do the work or do it badly
  • it’s an option to insist that the tenant does the work before they’re allowed to move in; this would guarantee that it gets done.

Empty flats are like busses

I’ve just had a situation where no less than three of my properties have become empty and in need of refurbishment in the space of a fortnight. (One was scheduled, one was an eviction and another was an abandonment.)

If I’d let these the traditional way, I would have faced a bill of several thousand and had to wait weeks while the works were done and they were marketed.

Using the strategy above, I let one of them yesterday, a day after it was advertised and without even having to clean it!

I have nearly ten viewings lined up for the other two tomorrow and have every hope of letting them on first viewing.

If, instead of this way how to let property, you would really prefer to sell the property, have the buyer to the work and put the rent up at the same time, then read about how I did this here.

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