A renters perspective on landlords and letting agents

I’m spending a lot of time online browsing Zoopla and RightMove to find a new home in a nicer part of London. I have a bunch of suggestions for the chaps developing listing websites/apps and also some observations about landlords/letting agents.

  1. There is no floor plan. I would love to have the option to exclude properties, which do not have a floorplan from my search results. It’s important to know what the layout of my new home will be…
  2. Landlords hate pets. C’mon have a heart and let people live with Schnuffles, Fluffy and Brohound. You’re charging a security deposit and have a million clauses in your rental agreement about who is liable for damage to the flat.
  3. It’s not possible to screen flats by their size i.e. square meters. I’m not interested in living in a shoebox – I’d like to have the option to only look at flats which are of a certain size.
  4. On Zoopla, you can see the previous prices for the same advertisement. You will also find a bunch of people trying to game the system. I call them relisting manipulators who keep increasing and decreasing the price of their property. This might result in the ad getting shown higher up in the results or something… but as a prospective tenant, it’s frustrating to look at the same crap all over again and again.
  5. It’s amazing how few ads have video walkthroughs of a flat. Literally, everyone owns a smartphone and it takes only a few minutes to put a video together. Ads without videos are probably a good way to identify lazy landlords. Some don’t even upload pictures – these listings should be excluded from search results by default.
  6. Rental agents are lazy as well. Often, they don’t call back when I leave a message to show interest in a property. Great customer service there… I’m sure it’s only a taste of what’s more to come if I actually ended up renting from them.
  7. I’ve seen ads that state “no agent fees” as if it’s some kind of a Unique Selling Point (USP). The law has made it illegal to charges such fees and it’s been in effect for years. How dumb does the landlord think I am?
  8. Many properties listed do not include an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). I would like to know if I’m going to freeze in the flat or not – why do I need to call the agent/landlord to find out this basic thing. I think ads without an EPC should be hidden from search results as a default.
  9. Landlords can’t count on their fingers to save their own life. There are many ads out there in which one-bedroom flats are listed as two-bedreem flats… or studio flats are listed as one-bedroom flats. Learn to count!!! It’s not that hard. Also, a living room is NOT a bedroom.
  10. Is the ground floor the same as first floor? I have more confidence in the phrase ground floor but first floor can mean the same or the floor above ground floor. I guess this is a British thing… welcome to the UK!
  11. I hate basement flats. Why can’t I filter them out? Who wants to live underground like a rat? No, thank you!
  12. Some flats share bathrooms or washing machines with other flats in the building. This is unacceptable to many people. Why can’t I filter these flats out?
  13. I would love to know if there is a lift in the building. Not a difficult thing to add, is it.

Renters in London

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