The modernised flat with sound insulation fitted kitchen including dishwasher, and chrome power shower always attracts quick viewings when advertised in the main internet portals.
Sure enough the phone started ringing as soon as the listing was live and the first appointment made for that afternoon.
A very chic lady, too chic for the area arrived. Angelina’s show of leg at the Oscars paled in comparison to the display by ‘Miss Prospective Tenant’. Panache must have been her second name.
‘I want to pay 6 months’ rent up front!’
Alarm bells ringing I asked:
Came the prompt response. Elaborating:
‘I know its all paid and no more worries. I have my documents ready for you to see including my European Driving Licence and I can take the flat right now.’
‘Not a problem for me to be paid monthly’
I explained. Adding:
‘My office is in the building next door and I am in this building weekly checking the call points on the fire alarm system.
If you’d like to come next door to my office I can start the Identity checks on the internet and take a copy of your License.’
Now more alarmed than I, she hastily concluded:
‘No, No! I have just realised that I have left the paperwork in the car I will make another appointment. ‘
I showed Miss (no-longer) Prospective Tenant out and her large minder-esque friend slipped into step behind her.
This was a practical lessons for someone who routinely preaches them, including a few points I’m only too happy to share.
- There are no such things as European Driving Licences. they can be bought on the internet for £5.00
- Upfront rent payments means the tenants want you to stay away. They do not want a Landlord to be suspicious of activity around the premises.
- Trust Your Instincts
My instinct was there would have been a regular trail of visitors to the flat, staying for short periods of time and my chic lady may have been earning her living (and rent) from immoral means.
These warning signs are not dissimilar from that other scourge of the private landlord.
Criminal gangs target innocent Landlords and the more innocent you are the more likely you are to be taken in.
Cannabis factories are very expensive to recover from as the interior of the house will have been all-but destroyed to convert all available space into a greenhouse.
Usually a smart, respectable couple will take the house – passing the tenant check with ease.
Six months rent will be paid up front, with the intention that the landlord will have no reason to visit the property again. Shortly after ‘workers’ will move in and convert the property into a factory.
They will tap into the main electrical grid, or the neighbours supply, or even the street lighting as it takes an enormous amounts of electricity.
They will rip huge holes in the floors and ceilings to run ventilation ducts and there will be dripping supply pipes everywhere watering the illicit crops.
Finally they will ‘booby trap’ the premises to stop rival gangs stealing getting in.
This can even include connecting door handles to the mains and installing spikes on the insides of windows to impale the curious.
These are the traps which will be waiting for you if you venture in because the neighbours have phoned to report:
- blacked out windows,
- piles of soil appearing in the garden and;
- someone living in a tent in the garden as its too hot inside for the ‘gardener’ looking after the plants
All-in-all: Landlords be suspicious, the phrase :-
‘I’ll pay 6 months up front’ – is not a dream come true, it is an alert of potential criminal behaviour.
As a landlord it is vital that you take out specialist residential landlord property insurance as normal home insurance policies may not be valid, especially when you’re tenants deviate from the norm.
NLA Property Insurance has been developed specifically for landlords, taking into account all your requirements. NLA members benefit from up-to 15% discount. To find out about other benefits of membership click here