Do you think all tenants are created equally? Is a tenant a tenant a tenant? Do you give much thought to the kind of tenant you let your property out too or are you quick to let your property to the first person who says they can afford the rent?
Recently we have heard of a few horror stories involving agents that have been quick to fill a property with new tenants that turn out to be an absolute nightmare down the line. There was one shocking case in particular where a group of shameless tenants disappeared from a property without a hint of a trace, taking all of the brand new furniture along with them. The landlord had just spent a great deal of money bringing their property up to a high standard, just to have it all stolen from him. You can imagine how distraught he was after this huge loss.
Fortunately, these nightmare scenarios are few and far between, most tenants are honest and look after properties to the best of their abilities (sometimes even better than you would yourself!). That said, it still pays to be cautious when selecting tenants for your property, doing your best to avoid the few rotten apples out there.
Be sure to carry out the basic background checks on prospective tenants. Now with the new immigration laws it is mandatory for you to perform checks to make sure that tenant has the right to rent in the U.K. Knowing that your tenants have the legal right to rent your property will ensure you cannot be put at fault if any disputes arise.
Good referrals from previous Landlords are a positive indicator that you are dealing with sound tenants. Ask your prospective tenants for any previous referrals and if you want to be more proactive you can try to find out who their previous landlords were and contact them direct to ask about how the tenants behaved at their property.
Referrals are good proof of the tenants previous standing and can give you confidence in your prospective tenant but don’t rely on them wholeheartedly, people’s behaviour can change. We have taken on tenants whose previous landlords did not give them a great referral but they have turned out to be just fine.
You can also ask for reference from the prospective tenant’s employer. As well as getting an idea of their character it will also prove that they are currently employed and have a source of income coming in.
On top of this you have to take a hunch and use your built-in character judging senses. Meet with your prospective tenant, a few times if needs be. Build up a solid impression of them and decide for yourself if they will be suitable for your property. If you’re not totally comfortable with them then don’t offer them your property to rent, even if you are tempted to get it let quickly. After all this is a long term decision you are making.
Letting your property out quickly in order to save money on costs, only to find out you chose the tenants from hell that have cost you a whole lot more money, time and energy down the line is the nightmare you don’t want to find yourself in and defeats the whole purpose of getting in tenants quick to save money.
Also when you are in a buoyant property market such as Leamington where there is a high demand for rentals, you have the liberty of being more choosy with your potential tenants.
As in the unfortunate scenario mentioned earlier, the landlord who had all of his new furnishings stolen by his tenants, lost out on way more than he initially thought he saved by being enticed by the agent who dazzled him with the promise of letting out his property very quickly.
So be wise and heed the warning in that story.
If you don’t find tenants for your property yourself and go through an estate agent be sure to find out how the agent you deal with goes about finding suitable tenants. Professional agency’s will diligently carry out all of the required checks, ask for referrals, make sure the prospective tenants are in a secure position to make payments and use good judgement of character to decide if they will be safe, suitable tenants for your property. (With all of the people skills long established estate agents gain in this business, we develop sharp senses of character).