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Decoding letting agent chat

What are they actually saying?

decoding letting agent chat

Do you struggle to understand property descriptions? Do you find that you’re left baffled while flat hunting? Of course letting agents are just normal people but something seems to happen when they put on that suit, jump into that branded mini and start showing people around properties. If you – like us – have trouble decoding your letting agent then here are a few tips on how to communicate in letting agent chat.

“In our opinion” – when you hear this then you know you’re being served with a letting agent disclaimer. This means that whatever is coming next isn’t going to be a statement of fact that you can rely on. So, for example, you might be told “in our opinion the area is fantastically up and coming” while the reality might be that you walk outside the door and you can’t think straight for police sirens and rubbish.

“On the bright side” – although letting agents might not actually speak these words, this is the approach that they take to the property you’re being convinced to rent. You’ll rarely hear a letting agent admitting to any negatives about the house or flat you’re wandering round, whether the flooring is half ripped up or one of the walls is covered in mould. To understand the reality of what an agent is saying always bear in mind that they’ve dialed the positivity up about three notches.

“Wherefore, wherein, therefore.” You’ve probably heard this for yourself, that moment when a letting agent suddenly wheels out what seems like completely inappropriately formal word in the middle of a casual conversation about grouting. You’ll see this from the advert wording right through to the email communications and if they’re trying to stamp authority on a situation then this tends to increase significantly.

“AST…DoC…GSR.” Jargon, one of the most often-used tools in the letting agent’s armoury as many believe that this is the fastest way to get tenants, and potential tenants, to do what they want. If you find your communications littered with acronyms or phrases or words you’re just not getting the hang of then take a step back, Google it, or just simply ask. A good agent will give you a simple and straightforward explanation. Watch out for those who seem as puzzled as you are when you ask the question…

“At the end of the day.” Another skill that letting agents seem to apply with abandon is the kind of horrible business phrases that most of us, other than middle aged men who have just purchased red Porsches, have long ago moved on from. ‘Blue sky thinking,’ ‘touching base’ and ‘getting your ducks in a row’ are apparently all still acceptable in the rentals world – David Brent eat your heart out.

We all know that there are some great letting agents out there – you’ll find many of them in our vetted agents section – but, given that the rentals market is sometimes a depressing place to be, we like to find the humour where we can.

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This article is provided as a guide. Any information should be used for research purposes and not as the base for taking legal action. The Tenants' Voice does not provide legal advice and our content does not constitute a client-solicitor relationship.

We advise all tenants to act respectfully with their landlords and letting agents and seek a peaceful resolution to problems with their rented property. For more information, explore the articles in our Rights and responsibilities category.

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