How To Find A Good Tenant
As a landlord, finding a ‘good’ tenant to rent your property is the most important phase of the lettings process. Your tenant is someone you will trust to look after your most significant asset, alert you when something goes wrong with your property, and pay their rent on time every month. So, how do you begin finding your perfect tenant? We have put together some top tips to help you find the best tenant for your property.
What makes a 'good' tenant?
The definition of a good tenant really depends on what you are looking for as a landlord. The best tenant is not necessarily the first person to come along or the one who is willing to pay the highest monthly rent. It will save you both time and money in the long run if you can find a tenant who will:
- Look after the property as if it is their own
- Live in the property long-term
- Pay their rent on time, every month
99% of landlords responding to our 2018 Landlord Satisfaction Survey said they are satisfied with the calibre of tenant found for their property.
How to find a good tenant
Edinburgh landlords are currently in the fortunate position where, due to a lack of lettings stock, most properties are oversubscribed and receive multiple applications. This is especially true for one and two bedroom flats in the city centre. However, even in these circumstances, it is important to follow steps to ensure you find the right tenant for your property.
Provide a quality home
Although there is a general shortage of lettings stock across the city, one of the main issues for tenants is the lack of good quality rental homes available. Due to several factors, including the prohibitive cost of buying, tenants are now tending to rent for longer and so are more selective when choosing a rental property.
Well maintained properties that have recently been refurbished, redecorated or have upgraded bathrooms or kitchens will attract more interest from prospective tenants – giving you a larger pool of applicants to choose from – and can also command higher rents. Providing good quality, matching furniture in furnished properties also helps.
In addition to providing a quality home, it is important to price your property fairly in the current market if you want to maximise the number of applications you receive. There is a temptation to push the rent as high as possible, however, online property searches mean that applicants can easily see what is available at any one time; if your property is priced significantly higher (without being significantly nicer), it is unlikely you will receive a lot of interest. Remember, the best tenants, who are going to look after your property, are not necessarily the ones who are willing to pay the highest rent.
Under the PRT, residential tenancies in Scotland no longer have a minimum term, meaning that tenants can serve notice at any point from the beginning of the tenancy. Overpricing a property almost certainly means that tenants will be more likely to serve notice and move out if a more accurately priced property comes along. Pricing your property fairly should help to avoid frequent void periods, saving you money in the long term.
To find the best tenant, it is beneficial to have as many applicants as possible to choose from. Virtually all tenants now find properties by searching online, so advertising your property on the main property portals will ensure it is seen by as many potential tenants as possible. At Clan Gordon, we advertise available properties on the below websites, so if a tenant is searching for a home in Edinburgh, they will be sure to see our advert.
When selecting a tenant to live in your property, nothing beats meeting face to face. Whether it's you or your letting agent conducting viewings, avoid group viewings so you can meet tenants individually. Even a 5-minute conversation can give a good indication of if a tenant will be a good match for you and your property.
Not all landlords are looking for the same tenant qualities, for example, a 12-month tenancy may suit you better than a longer-term one, so ideally you need to find a tenant with similar plans. A viewing is an excellent opportunity to find out how long the tenant is planning to rent, who will be living in the property, and why they are specifically interested in your property. Although a tenant’s plans may change after they move in, these are still good indicators when selecting a tenant.
Tenant reference checks
Third party reference checks are invaluable when selecting a tenant. At Clan Gordon, successful applications are always subject to satisfactory reference checks being carried out. Our referencing provides:
- Credit check
- Bank validation check
- Background search
- Financial sanctions check
- Current landlord reference
- Employment check
- Affordability calculation
Every tenant's situation is different and sometimes tenants, who you know from meeting would be great tenants for your property, don’t pass the reference checks. Reasons for not passing referencing can include, being on probation for a new job, self-employed, or having recently moved from abroad. In these situations, it may be possible to have a UK based guarantor, who would also be reference checked. As the landlord, you should always have the final say on who moves into your property.