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5 tips for choosing the right tenant

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

london-773359_640Whether you have one property or a whole portfolio, the people that you rent your home to are the ones that determine how successful you will be with your letting. A tenant that pays on time, is friendly with the neighbours, house proud and has no plans for moving is the ideal tenant and can be a real asset, but the bad ones can result in lots of stress. Here are a few tips on finding the best tenants for your properties.

Do your research

You can only make an informed decision on whether or not to accept a tenant if you do your research on them first. You should always ask them to fill out a form which provides a background check on them. This should include basic details like their name, age and current address but also information about employment, income, their right to work in the UK and a list of any previous addresses in the past three years. This will provide you with some initial data that you can cross check and validate to make sure the person is who they say they are. Furthermore, you should ask to see a copy of their birth certificate or passport and a recent utility bill to prove their current address. Always be wary of tenants who have a history of moving around lots in a short period of time as they may repeat this pattern which means you will have to spend more time relisting the property, redecorating and finding new tenants for the property.

Perform a credit check

Next, you should have a private company perform a credit history check on your potential tenant to reduce the chances of rental income loss. A full credit report should be able to give you information on previous addresses, whether the tenant is on the electoral role and most importantly any history of County Court Judgements (CCJ’s), bankruptcy or other financial issues.

Ask questions

The next step is to meet your potential new tenant or tenants. Meeting people face to face helps you to get a better understanding of their personality and whether or not they would be a good fit for your letting. It’s also a chance to ask them more details about their background and see copies of their identification. It’s also a helpful way of immediately building up a rapport with your tenant so that if you do encounter any problems down the line you are more likely to be able to find a solution and avoid any conflict along the way.

Verify details

Much like you would vet a potential new employee by calling their previous employer, you should always check references. Call up their employer and ask them to verify their salary, address and position within the company and also call their current landlord to find out their opinion too. If you want to be extra vigilant then contact as many previous landlords as you can. Before calling anyone always verify phone numbers through the internet or phone directories, as this ensures that you are calling who you think you are calling – rather than a well-briefed friend of your prospective tenant.

Tenancy agreements

Thorough background checks on your new tenant can give you the peace of mind that you are letting your property to a responsible tenant who will be able to pay their rent on time and sufficiently look after your property. However, in order to cover your back completely you should have a well-prepared tenancy agreement which caters for every eventuality.

Here at Rollingsons we have extensive experience of helping landlords to settle disputes, mediating between parties and advising on how best to recover their properties. For further information please visit our property litigation page, or call us on 020 7611 4848.

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