Looking for a new tenant
Every landlord prays their tenant turns out to be ‘one of the good ones’. That’s the type that pays their rent on time every month and only rings when they need legitimate repairs. Or even, rings to warn of an issue that, if not resolved, may have led to an expensive maintenance matter.
So, how do you find this paragon of virtue? Well, not by crossing your fingers behind your back when you come to interview a prospective tenant. There’s a far better way to guarantee peace of mind as a landlord. And here’s our tick list of how to get it:
1. Do an employment check
The first thing you should do is check that your tenant does indeed have a full-time, paid job by asking for a reference from their employer.
That way you’ll find out straight away how much they are being paid and whether or not they can afford to pay the rent you’re asking for. If not then expect late rental payments or worse, no payments.
2. Ask for previous landlord references
If they have rented before ask for the name and contact details of their previous landlord and get a reference.
It only takes a minute or so and it should give you a good idea of who you’re handing over the keys of your precious property to.
3. Order a credit check
There are plenty of firms out there who, for a small fee, will check the credit history of a prospective tenant through organisations such as Experian.
Again, this could be a financial lifesaver. A tenant could have a good job but they may be totally irresponsible when it comes to financial matters.
4. Ask for a guarantor
It’s not unreasonable to ask – especially if you plan to rent to students - that someone will step in and pay the rent if they can’t. This is usually a family member, such as a parent. It’s actually not uncommon these days.
5. Check the first-tier tribunal
Want to find out if a prospective tenant has previously been evicted for rent arrears or other issues?
Then you can find information on this in the lists of the First-tier Housing and Property Tribunal if the landlord has applied for an eviction order.
6. Check social media
Yes, we all know companies routinely check social media these days for new employees. But now landlords are starting to as well.
A prospective tenant may look very smart, responsible and mature, but if their social media profiles are full of pics of them partying constantly and caught in unlikely poses then you may well have a master of disguise on your hands.
7. Be flexible
A landlord who is prepared to compromise on times and dates to meet with tenants and show them around, not to mention deal with their maintenance issues quickly, will hopefully get similar respect back from tenants.
8. Go with your gut
And finally, in that time old way, listen to your gut. Even if the person’s references check out fine, and there’s nothing dodgy on their social media, don’t necessarily sign him or her up.
Intuition (or ‘gut feeling’) is powerful and nine times out of ten there’s a reason for something not feeling ‘quite right.’
Of course, there are other ways you can ensure you get a good tenant, such as making sure the flat is clean, tidy and the appliances all work.
Here at Clan Gordon you can rest assure our tenant checking process is scrupulous!