As a landlord you are no doubt choosy about who you rent your property to. Unfortunately, there is always the possibility of your tenant not being as reliable as first impressions may suggest which will cause you problems down the line.
So how do you make sure that your future tenant is reliable and respectful when they are occupying your property? The following tips do not guarantee that you will find a perfect tenant, but should help with the initial sift of possible occupants:
Be clear in your advertising:
When advertising the property, ensure that you cover all bases to discourage potential troublemakers; mention that anyone who is to rent the property will need to be subject to a background check (which can be organised by your letting agent) and that you will be requiring references from relevant parties such as previous landlords or co-habitants. Mentioning these things with dissuade a bad tenant from even approaching you in the first place.
Ask the right questions:
By having potential tenants answer a simple questionnaire may seem somewhat excessive, it can be a helpful and organised way of finding out more about them and the likelihood that they will be quality tenants. Ask them about employment, and if they are willing to provide bank statements to show that they are able to meet their rent. Have them put down their previous address so you can contact their landlord. Having these details on a signed piece of paper could be useful in the future if legal proceedings take place.
Do your checks:
There are a number of checks you can make which can paint a broader picture about your potential tenant. Firstly, request that you see the last 3 months of a tenant’s bank statements to see if they are receiving a regular income from employment or other areas; you could accept payslips as proof, but bear in mind these could be forged. If the person is self-employed, ask for some other proofs of income. You can also do a credit check, either on your own or through one of the many services that are available. Although this may cost a small amount of money, it can save you a lot of trouble in the long run. You can do these checks yourself, or if you are using a letting agent, they will usually carry them out on your behalf.
Use your instincts
At the end of the day, your own gut instinct can help you in making your decision of whether to let someone live in your property. Simple things such as their appearance, attitude and willingness to take part in checks should act as an indicator as to what kind of tenant they are. If they seem evasive, are late with information or are unwilling to provide you with certain information this should serve as a red flag, although it is not concrete as an indicator as they may genuinely be having trouble getting the information quickly. If you are a first-time landlord, gut instinct may be more difficult as more seasoned renters will have had the experience to spot out a tenant who may cause problems.
This article has been written by Helpland, a specialist eviction services company that has helped landlords throughout the UK with dealing with problem tenants and rent arrears.