How to find the best tenants
One of the biggest challenges faced by landlords is to find the best tenants. It is also one of the most stressful aspects of letting a property. The tenant from hell is every landlord’s worst nightmare.
Of course, there are no guarantees with any tenant. Even the seemingly perfect renter can end up causing damage or not paying the rent. But there are steps you can take to increase your chances of finding the best tenants.
Use a professional online letting agent
A reputable agent will list your property on the major internet portals. They will also promote the listing to their mailing list and existing customer database. This will put your property in front of as many potential tenants as possible. It is much more effective than locally advertising the property yourself. The more people who see the listing the more likely you are to find the best tenants.
However, you find possible renters you need to select just one. To narrow down your options you should:
Most landlords ask for references. But it is surprising how few follow them up.
You should always check tenant’s references. Ensure they include former landlords or parents if it is the tenant’s first rental. Also, check employer’s references.
Consider a credit check
Although not infallible and not used by some landlords a credit check can reveal whether the tenant has a record of defaulting on payments. How you interpret a credit report and remember you need the written permission of the renter to request a report, is up to you. But a very poor credit rating should ring alarm bells.
Ask to see payslips
Payslips provide proof of income. You won’t know all their personal circumstances but payslips will provide a good idea of whether they can afford the rent. Make sure you ask to see payslips from the last three months.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
You are letting a person into your property for the next six to twelve months or possibly even longer. You have an absolute right to ask questions. The more you ask the more you will get to know the tenant. Questions you should ask include:
- Why did you leave your last rental?
- How long are you hoping to rent for?
- Do you have a guarantor?
- Do you have pets?
- Do you smoke?
- Do you work shifts?
- Do you play musical instruments?
- Are you able to pay a deposit and a month’s rent in advance?
The last is particularly important. If they say no or ask for more time then move on to the next person. The other questions relate to lifestyle and what sort of tenant they are likely to be. You may want to pass on a tuba playing night shift worker.
Trust your instincts
No matter what the referees say or the payslips reveal always trust your instincts. If you feel a tenant isn’t right for you, move on to the next. If on the other hand, you get a positive feeling you should go with your gut.
It’s not just a one-way street
Finding the best tenants isn’t just about you vetting potential renters. You have to sell yourself and the property. If you do find the perfect renter you don’t want to lose them to another landlord.
A well-presented property is more likely to attract a better tenant. But an untidy, or worse unclean property, will put them off. On the tenant’s viewing make sure you or your agent emphasise all its features as well as the benefits of the location. Shops, transport links etc.
When you meet the tenant and hand over the keys make sure you take the time to answer all their questions and leave them with all your contact information. It all creates a good impression and a healthy relationship between landlord and tenant always makes things easier.
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