As the housing market continues to gain momentum, two things are starting to happen. Prospective tenants, aware that properties are appearing on the market and disappearing again within days, are eager to sign on the dotted line. And landlords, eager to avoid empty properties, are letting them. But the quickest deal isn’t always the best deal. Even in the most buoyant of markets, it still pays to choose the right tenants. Here are 10 tips to help you do just that:
1. Check the References
You know you should check the references. But what if you find something? What will you say? So the reference sits unchecked – when it could have saved you time, money and energy.
2. Credit checks
It’s one thing for your prospective tenant to make you aware in advance of the occasional black mark on their credit history. It might even make you more willing to overlook minor or ancient issues. But a credit check could do more than reveal a recent CCJ. It could reveal all you need to know about a tenant who didn’t declare it in the first place. If need help making a credit check, or you’d rather leave it to someone else, ask your letting agency.
3. Set up a standing order
This isn’t a 1970s sitcom. You should be entitled to your rent on time. Your tenant shouldn’t feel the need to hide behind the sofa every time the rent is due. Setting up a standing order or direct debit should make life easier for you and your tenant. So if they resist, ask yourself why…
4. Let a better property
Let a property that’s well furnished, well maintained and well decorated and it not only attracts a higher rent; it increases the chances of your tenant treating it with the care you’d expect.
5. Pay attention to the marketing (or get someone to do it for you)
Good photos – and lots of them. Some attention to detail in the property description, with less fluff and more benefits. And a floor plan that lets a tenant see just what’s on offer. They’re all likely to attract a better rent – and a better tenant. And if that sounds like hard work, that’s just one of the things your letting agent will handle. You can contact yours here.
6. Allow pets?
Animal lovers get a bit of a raw deal from landlords. Around 46% of the population owns a pet, but few of them are allowed to rent. That’s why the Dogs Trust established Lets with Pets. Consider a pet-friendly lease and your tenant is more likely to stay for the long term – because it’s so hard to find a property that allows pets.
7. Always take a deposit
There’s no advantage in not taking a deposit. Your tenant won’t think better of you or the property. In fact they’ll probably be surprised you didn’t ask for a deposit because they know everyone else does. You should always take a deposit in the hope and expectation of handing it back at the end of a long and successful lease. When you do, the law requires you to keep it safe. You can do that here.
8. Meet face to face
If you can, a face to face meeting works wonders. The tenant gets to see that you’re not a faceless landlord and is more likely to treat your property with respect. You get a chance to pick up on all the non-verbal clues that tell you this is/isn’t the tenant for you.
9. Take your time
This isn’t a race. Nor is this likely to be the only tenant interested in your property. Don’t feel obliged to make promises you can’t keep, or snap decisions you regret. Take your time to gather the evidence, hold your meeting, and then make a decision.
10. Gut feeling
Sometimes, despite the full weight of the evidence, there’s a nagging voice in your head that says something isn’t quite right. In our experience it’s always wise to listen to it…
What are your golden rules for choosing tenants? Let us know.