In this guide we will give accurate and good advice on finding the right tenant and how to maintain a positive relationship with your tenant.
This includes finding a tenant, screening methods, asking the right questions, taking your time and maintaining a good relationship with your tenant.
Ideally when advertising a property to rent you have a lot of options, these include:
Websites such as Rightmove or Zoopla etc. are major sources of information in the property market and are regularly used by prospective tenants to find a home. The main issue is that individual landlords can’t create listings on these sites as it has to be done by a professional letting agency. The other way around this loophole is to use an online agent for a percentage of the original cost, for example Prop Home. (this could do with further explanation)
Even though we live in a modern age society, placing an ad in a newspaper could be a potential winner, depending on your market. This is an ideal way to reach the older generation or those who don’t access the internet.
Social media is an increasingly popular way of finding new tenants, which has the advantage of being free and quick and simple to use. Advertising a property can be done through Facebook or Instagram and can be shared by your followers to reach an ever expanding audience. Through social media, tenants can easily find what’s available to them in a specific area or at what size of property. As social media is very visual, it is essential to have great photos of each property listed.
If you are looking for student tenants, it’s always best to get in touch with the local college or university as they may have rules and guides before creating a listing acceptable to the college and from there they may be able to advertise it directly to their students.
Advertising in properties that you own is a good way to keep a property tenanted as existing tenants may be able to refer you to their friends or family members. Word of mouth is one of the most popular form of advertising as you can always offer an incentive for those who have helped create a tenancy.
The first thing that will catch the eye of a tenant is good quality photos of a property. This will increase the level of enquiries.
When listing a property be sure to include:
Based on your experience and the types of tenants that you want to attract depends on what screening methods you might use.
The best way to screen tenants could be:
This is one of the easiest and quickest ways of selecting a tenant with basic questions such as;
These questions are great starters and can provide information if the applicant is suitable or not, for example if your advertising a 3-bedroom house and you have an applicant for a family looking to move in, that seems more suitable rather than a household of one.
Remember not to discriminate tenants based on age, gender, sexuality, race, religion, etc.
While adhering to government guidelines telephone/ or webcam interviews are a good way of conducting who is a good fit for the property. Being prepared and having a list of questions and taking notes can really help when coming to a decision.
Meeting a prospective tenant at a property is a good way to get a feel for a tenant and let them have a look around. Meeting the tenant is ideally the second stage of the process whereas the first stage could be the application form or the telephone interview.
It is possible that you may choose to verify a tenant’s suitability by taking a look a what is publicly available through their social media profile. However, it is not advisable to keep checking up on their social media throughout a tenancy. Checking their Linkedin profile, for example, should verify their employment status, to ensure that the given information is correct.
You should ask a tenant for employer references to ensure you have a reliable, trustworthy tenant. It is also a good idea for a landlord to ask to see their contract of employment. Double check to make sure the employment letter is from their employer and follow it up with a phone call to verify, if there is any doubt.
It is within a landlord’s right to ask to see a tenant’s payslip so that you can make sure that they have a steady income and will not end up in debt.
Asking the tenant for the previous landlord details is an important part of the screening process just because of the fact that you can hear for yourself from other landlords about how good the potential tenant is. It may seem unnecessary but if you really think about it, it’s a smart way of screening.
This goes without saying, checking a tenant’s credit can give a good indication on the long-term trust you can build. It will point out if the tenant has had any problems including late payments and non-payments. However, you will need the tenant’s permission before conducting these checks even though it is a common procedure.
If you can see that the tenant has had a bad history with credit then don’t be afraid to ask why, don’t be too quick to dismiss an applicant because there may be a story behind the reason as we all struggle sometimes. If they are upfront about the reasons then they still might be a good honest fit for the property but to cover yourself ask them to either pay a larger deposit or find a guarantor.
This was introduced in 2016, all landlords must carry out checks to verify a tenant’s immigration status. The government has provided a guideline to help landlords and you can find this HERE
In a nutshell this is straightforward where you can ask a tenant to provide identification documents such as a passport etc. if this is not done correctly it could result in a fine.
When screening a tenant make sure to ask the same questions to avoid discrimination, this also makes it easier to compare each of their answers and use the information to decide. It is important to ask the right questions that are relevant to the situations for example:
Assess the suitability of the tenant to the property, depending on size of their household and size of the property, closeness to their workplace and there may be other factors, such as do they have family living in the same area. Make a shortlist in choosing the right tenant and then it might just be down to gut feeling once you have actually met the tenants.
Bad credit rating. For example if the tenant has a history of providing late payments or even no payments at all then it is in your own judgement to see what course of action you can take.
Keeping a good relationship with your tenant is crucial to ensure you don’t have to go through the process of finding a new one too often….
Make sure you have their phone number and email address.
You can ask them to NOT contact you outside working hours unless it is an emergency for example the boiler has broken or they’ve lost the keys and can’t get into the property.
It is good practice to decorate a property before renting it out as a fresh coat of paint can improve a home significantly, and it shows that you take care in looking after the property.
Even though it is your property it is actually going to be the tenants home meaning that you should give certain and clear permission on what the tenant can or can’t do in relations to decorating for example putting up pictures and not screwing into the walls and using mounting tape instead. But if the tenant wishes to change the colour of the room make sure they ask permission first with a colour scheme.
This is along the lines of removing walls and building new walls. Restrictions here should be explained in your tenancy agreements.
If the property has a garden make sure to establish the ground rules of how to appropriately maintain it for example keep the grass short and the garden tidy. Most occasions landlords hire gardeners to do the work as it could be stated in the agreement.
If parking is available, make sure that its maintained from oil leaks and any causes of damage.
It’s very important to always know who is staying at the property, if the property is sub-let then who pays for the damages if anything does get damaged. In all make sure it is very clear from the start that subletting is not allowed (unless anything else is agreed)
All landlords have responsibilities and making sure you stay are responsive can keep the tenant happy. For example, if something in the house needs repairing then aim to get it fixed quickly and efficiently.
It is a smart idea to document everything that happens between yourself and the tenant. This way it helps to provides records and proof if anything does go wrong.
Always keep a professional relationship and never let it get personal, as well be respectful as this is your tenants home even though it’s your property.
Always listen to your tenant, show them that you really do care and that they can come to you about anything relevant. Take any complaints seriously and act accordingly.
If all of this seems a little daunting the Prop Home team would be delighted to help in any way, they can. Contact Paul Harrison today – 0345 8686868.
This Guide is produced for general information and is not liable any direct, indirect, special, consequential, or other losses or damages whatsoever kind coming from using this guide. Please note that this guide only offers information and should not be considered as giving advice, please find professional advice if you are to decide on how to find a tenant.