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Vetting Tenants - Advice for Landlords

When renting out your property, you are engaged in a relationship between yourself (the landlord) and your tenant. There may be other parties involved too such as a letting agent or an estate management company, but at the core of everything that happens in your property is your tenant.

That’s why making sure you're happy with the tenant from the outset is so vital.

Take Control – Vet Your Tenants

By ensuring you properly vet your tenants, you give yourself the best possible chance of having a tenant that is hassle free and won't cause you problems.

A nightmare tenant can cause inconveniences like unnecessary maintenance requests or in extreme cases more serious problems like property damage and rent arrears. So vetting them at the start is a good way to gauge what sort of tenant they are likely to be.

Always Meet Potential Tenants Face to Face

When you’re vetting potential tenants, a face-to-face meeting is a good place to start. It’s perfectly reasonable for you to be present for the viewing, and avoids the perception of you being an intrusive landlord.

Meeting the tenant gives you a chance to observe their behaviour. Here are some tips for what to look out for:

  • How do they treat their belongings? This could give you a clue as to how they might treat your property.
  • Do they answer your questions? If they are being evasive when you ask them for details about their situation, this might be a clue that they are hiding something.
  • Do they understand what they need to do? Make it clear you expect the property back in a similar state to how it is at the viewing – how do they respond?

Make Sure You Get References

It’s essential that you get a full tenant reference. You also shouldn't overlook references from any previous landlords, as they are a good way to spot warning signs. If a tenant omits information that prevents you from getting in touch with previous landlords or is opposed to the idea of providing details for references, then this should set off alarm bells for you.

When you do get a reference, there is another potential pitfall to be aware of. Some landlords have been known to give a great reference for a terrible tenant in the hope of getting them out of their property.

To avoid this, we recommend going further back – don’t just contact their previous landlord, talk to the one before that as well. This will give you a fuller picture of their rental history.

Be Patient

All landlords want to minimise void periods when their property is empty and there is no rental income. This can put increased pressure on landlords to find someone as soon as possible.

However, the private rental market is bigger than ever before. There are countless potential tenants out there, so don’t put someone in your property unless you’re sure it’s the right decision. Getting them out can be much more difficult.

It’s all about the long term gain. A good tenant will make your life easier, make you money and ensure that your property is kept in a good state of repair. A bad tenant will give you more stress and end up costing you more.

Remember, you don’t need to take the first person who walks through the door.

Want to Learn More?

If you want to know more about how to make your life as a landlord easier, have a look through our blog. We have advice and guidance on a variety of subjects, so if you want read more it’s a great place to start!