Are you looking for someone to live in and look after your property for the long-term, and have no rental arrears?
Perhaps you’re wondering what defines a perfect tenant, what exactly to look out for and whether there is anything you can do, as a landlord?
Well, unfortunately, there’s no magic wand or guarantee, however, there are some steps you can take as a landlord to protect yourself and to ensure you have more chance of finding the best possible tenants you can.
establish your tenants affordability
Many landlords have previously made errors by agreeing on tenants whose income just about cover the rent. However, they have failed to consider the tenant must also leave some room for living expenses. Council tax and utilities are costly, and that’s before considering food, fuel, socialising and other spending involved in day-to-day living.
Unfortunately, what tends to happen when things are stretched is the rent is the first thing to fall by the wayside. If this does happen, this leaves you, the landlord, out of pocket – often having to cover the mortgage repayments yourself. We always advise our landlords to consider affordability fully before agreeing on a tenant, ensuring they can afford the rent comfortably.
We always use the rule that a tenant must be earning 30 x the monthly rent in a year to afford it comfortably.
have open lines of communication
When negotiating with a tenant about agreeing to take a rental property, you must be flexible and have open lines of communication from the very start. The point of negotiation marks the beginning of the relationship between a landlord and a tenant, so it’s important to get off on the right foot.
Many tenants have different requirements when moving into a property, including changing their tenancy start dates, a desire to put up pictures or perhaps even a small pet. If you consider all requests fairly and ensure the communication lines are strong at the beginning of the relationship, this is likely to make for a much easier and positive tenancy.
ensure the property is clean and in good condition before the tenancy starts
Ensuring any repairs are completed and the property is freshly cleaned, before the tenancy starts, will make all the difference to starting the tenancy off on a good foot. We have, on many previous occasions, witnessed excited tenants quickly morph into extremely disappointed and angry tenants when moving into a property. The main reason, which can be avoided, is finding out the property hasn’t been cleaned, or repairs haven’t been resolved by a landlord when first entering the property.
They say moving into a new home is the third most stressful thing you can do in your life, and a landlord adding to it by not finishing off important jobs will only strain the relationship from the start. No tenant wants to spend the first few exciting days of their tenancy cleaning up dirt and mess left by the previous tenants. For the sake of sending in a cleaner and retaining the costs from the previous tenants’ deposit (if evidence of inventory/check out report says you can and the tenant agrees), the relationship can begin in a more positive light.
use a letting agent who references thoroughly to ensure all avenues are checked
One of the most important steps to finding your perfect tenants is using a letting agent to source them. Now, you may think as agents we are biased, however, trust us on this one, it’s completely necessary for the following two reasons;
- A letting agent will reference your potential tenants thoroughly by running background checks, which will pick up any adverse credit history and any County Court Judgements (CCJ’s) taken out against them. A letting agent will also source employment references and previous landlord references and some software’s now can even access the applicants spending history from their bank accounts to review how well they manage their finances.
- Once referencing is deemed acceptable, using a letting agent under a managed service, you are then eligible to protect yourself against loss of rent and legal fees. This is beneficial for many reasons, particularly in the event of having to regain possession of the property. If you wish to discuss the benefits of tenant referencing in more depth, and how a managed service could benefit you, please feel free to contact us.
We hope you have found these steps useful as we previously mentioned, there is no magic answer, however, if you source your tenants from the right place, reference them thoroughly and start the relationship off on a good foot, then it’s much more likely that you will have happy paying tenants, looking after your property for longer.