Finding Your Ideal Tenant
Like dragons and leprechauns, there’s no such thing as the perfect tenant but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find someone that’s ideal for you. From families to retired couples and commuters to students, there are a huge number of types of tenants out there, all with their own needs and expectations, but if you can find someone reliable, who pays rent on time and takes care of your house then you’re on to a winner. (If they’re also OK with yearly rent increases and have no plans to move then maybe they are perfect!)
In the absence of perfection, there are several steps that you can take to make the most of every viewing to locate your ideal tenant.
Take a hands-on approach
While it’s not always possible, if you are a hands-on person then it can really pay to source a tenant yourself, rather than paying an agency to manage this on your behalf. There are a huge number of websites where you can advertise your letting for a minimal fee. Word of mouth marketing is always a fantastic option, and taking out print adverts can also be very effective. If you do decide to take this on yourself, just be sure that you can manage all of the phone calls and email enquiries!
Meet face to face
Meeting in person, as opposed to being represented by a lettings agent, can also help you to narrow down the list of prospective tenants. Nothing can replace the gut feeling you get about someone, and first impressions do count, but this is also an opportune time to get a general sense of the person. Do they seem level-headed? Do they take care of their appearance? Don’t let them ask all the questions during the viewing either... Find out whether they have any extreme hobbies, pets, a large family or even bad habits.
Do your due diligence
Once you’ve made up your mind about a prospect, don’t get lazy. Take steps to find out more about the person you may soon be entering into a contract with. First things first, check that they have the right to rent in the UK. Next, perform a background check. You can pay for this as a service, and it will give you a better understanding of your prospect’s job security, credit history and stability as a tenant.
Remember to check:
- Identity of the potential tenants.
- Details of their previous addresses.
- Income and proof of employment.
- Character references.
Secure the deposit and contract
Don’t count on everything running smoothly. It’s in your best interests to wait for the deposit to clear in your account – or at least a holding fee – before agreeing a date to move in. Until pen is put to paper, you have no guarantee whatsoever that your new tenant will actually move in; people change their minds all the time so don’t stop viewings with other prospects until the deal is done.
Bear in mind that once the contract is signed you are also bound by its terms. Take care to stick to the conditions that you have laid out, like taking responsibility for maintenance and repairs. Your tenant will appreciate it and it will go a long way to keeping your relationship with them open and honest. That way, they might stick around for longer and you’ll be one step closer to having the perfect tenant!