We have all heard horror stories of nightmare tenants. You only really know 100% what a tenant is like once they are living in your property.
There are a number of ways that landlords can cover themselves and find the right tenant. Good tenants that look after your property, pay on time and never bother you (unless needed), are worth their weight in gold. Fortunately, we have seen many like this over the years. Good tenants are out there; you just have to find them.
Firstly, be clear on who your ideal tenant is. Dig deeper than just someone who pays on time and keeps the place tidy. Think about the type of tenant you want and what would suit your property. Are you aiming at a professional couple or a family? What are the pros and cons? Make a list and really try and understand who you want to target.
Once you know this, you must make your property as appealing to this type of tenant as possible. If you tick all their boxes, your home is a good fit and they fall in love with it, they are far more likely to be good, long-term tenants.
To find your perfect tenant and avoid the dodgy ones, follow our nine-step process:
1. You want someone who takes pride in where they live and that will look after your property. It is important that your rental property is in a good state of repair, to begin with. It should be well maintained and well presented. After each tenancy, give the place a lick of paint, a thorough clean and bring it back up to your high standards. The better it looks, the more likely you are to get lots of interest. You will then be in the position where you have a choice of tenants.
2. Check that your advertising interests the type of tenant you are trying to attract. So, for instance, a two bedroom plus study would be more likely to attract a professional couple. A three-bedroom property more likely to appeal to families. Same property, just a tweak in the description. Are you near offices and commuter links for the professional? Or in the catchment area of a popular and oversubscribed primary school where families will pay a premium to get into it? Include these details in your online property descriptions. Certain features of a house would appeal to different groups of people. A low maintenance garden could appeal to a busy professional couple whilst a lawned, mature garden would be more appealing to families. Ensure that the property photographs and written description all play a part in appealing to your target market. They need to show off the best bits about your property that would interest your ideal tenant.
3. Ensure that each applicant fills in a tenant application form. The form should identify previous landlords, existing and previous employers and also give a name for a personal reference. It is important to check the background and history of your prospective tenants before you make the decision to let your property to them.
4. Ask your prospective tenant for proof of income and run an affordability check. Most letting agents expect the tenant to earn 30 times the monthly rent per annum to be able to afford the property. This is worked out by taking the monthly rent, multiplying it by 30 and making sure that the tenant's wage is above this figure. So, for example, say the monthly rent is £650 PCM, you would need a minimum of £19,500.00 per annum to pass the affordability check.
5. A comprehensive credit check can show a variety of essential points for a landlord to consider. It will highlight late payments and how much credit the applicant has outstanding. From this you can determine a pattern of behaviours and if the tenant can afford the rent depending on how much they have outstanding on credit. Whilst they may have passed the affordability check, a credit check could show other debts that could impact on their ability to pay your rent.
There are many Credit Check Companies that can assist with this. Green Key can also run credit checks on applicants, so speak to us if you would like this service.
6. There are strict rules around the eligibility to rent in the UK and all tenants must be checked. Right to Rent legislation was introduced last year in 2016. It is a criminal offence to let a property to an illegal migrant. Certain documentation must be carefully checked and a copy kept on file. There are many documents that can be used to check this and too many to list here, but if you want to know more about this, please see https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/573057/6_1193_HO_NH_Right-to-Rent-Guidance.pdf
The important point is that you need to make sure that your tenant can rent from you in the first place.
7. Meet your prospective tenants face to face. If there are several prospects interested in renting your property, interview them. Take a family member or friend along for a second opinion. See how they come across, are they well presented? If they are well groomed and look after themselves, the chances are they will look after your property.
8. Ask a local letting agent for advice and help. If you want to manage finding a tenant by yourself, there are still ways that an agent can help. A letting agent will have access to systems that can do the background checks above. They will charge a fee for doing so, but it is worth it for peace of mind. Your agent can also help you advertise your property on Rightmove and the other property portals. Advertising on these sites makes sure you get as much exposure as possible and the pick of the bunch when it comes to applicants.
9. There’s a lot to be said about gut instinct. Ok, it’s not failproof, but if you complete all the background checks and meet the tenant you will get a feel for them. Your intuition will tell you if they are the right one. If you have a good gut feeling about them and all the checks have come back good, then go with them. Of course, you only truly know when they have moved in, but these steps will give you the best chance of finding the right tenant for you.
If you would like help in finding a tenant, managing your rental property, or both, Green Key Sales and Lettings have over 26 years combined to help you. Just get in touch - give me a ring on 01522 904 904 or drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more about our lettings service, go to https://www.greenkeysalesandlets.co.uk/landlord-guide