Finding the right tenants – Top Ten Tips

December 30, 2018

1. Create a good advert

A well-created advert should give potential tenants an insight in to the room, property and facilities with a detailed description with good photos. You should also include details such as nearby amenities and transport links.  An attractive and well worded advert should provide you with a good selection of applicants, increasing your chances of finding the ideal tenant quicker. 

2. Check Right to Rent documents and references

From February 1st 2016, it will be essential for all landlords to check that potential tenants have the Right to Rent. The following documents all serve as evidence of a tenant’s right to live in the UK:

  • UK passport
  • European Economic Area passport or identity card
  • Permanent residence card or travel document showing indefinite leave to remain
  • Home Office immigration status document and a certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen

Referencing is also a vital tool for any landlord – but simply collecting them is not enough. All too frequently landlords demand references only to let them sit in a drawer unopened. If you are going to take references, you need to make sure you follow them up. A simple phone call to an employer or other referee will be enough.

Alternatively you can make use of our tenant referencing service –  which does all the hard work for you!

3. Think about credit checking

If you are concerned about your prospective tenants’ ability to pay, consider asking if they will consent to a credit check. Remember to handle this considerately; the letting process is already stacked in favour of the landlord over the tenant, and some tenants will be unwilling to go through a credit check or provide their bank statements. 

You will need to use your discretion in these circumstances, remembering that a refusal to provide these documents does not necessarily mean that the tenants cannot pay. 

A full credit check is just one part of our fully comprehensive referencing service

4. Perform an Employment Record Background Check

Our referencing service verifies the prospective tenant’s current employment has been disclosed honestly and caclulates their affordibility for the property. 

5. Use an application form

Rather than collecting details on endless scraps of paper, try using a standard application form for prospective tenants. Forms of this sort are available free online, and can save a lot of time.

6. Always meet them first

This is vital. You cannot make an informed decision about a prospective tenant without meeting them. If you live a long way away from the property, try to make sure that a trusted person (or, at the very least, your agent) meets them on your behalf. Trust your gut: regardless of references, if you don’t click with or trust the tenant when you meet them, they’re probably not the right choice.

7. Ensure you and the house are ready for a viewing

Make sure the room is ready, clean and presentable. Have a tidy around the house cleaning any dishes etc, also prepare a list of any more questions you may need to ask. When the tenants arrive to the viewing, take your time and give them a good look around the house, not just their room, explain the benefits and talk about the local area access to the town or popular places etc. Also advise them as to the tenancy details and when future rent is due. This is where you can ask a bit more about their circumstances and get a clearer picture of the potential tenant and then see if they are genuinely interested.

8. Decide if they are suitable for your property

Now it’s time to decide if they are suitable, some landlords will make a decision straight away and others may wait for more viewings and make a decision later, remember not to make a rash decision as you will be living or dealing with the tenant for the foreseeable future, once you have made your mind up, ask the potential tenant for their deposit and first month’s rent, and you have yourself a new tenant.

9. Always take a deposit

A deposit is a vital means by which landlords can protect their property. It gives you the peace of mind that your property will be left in good order, and that you can pay for any necessary repairs if it is not. Remember that you are now legally obliged to put a tenancy deposit in a tenancy deposit protection scheme.

10. Remember the contract

Finally, remember that you will need a written tenancy agreement on which you and your tenant can agree. This is a vitally important document that will govern the terms of the tenancy.

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