@TessaShepperson blogs “Check out your tenants or live to rue the day”

@TessaShepperson blogs “Check out your tenants or live to rue the day”

12:37 PM, 21st February 2011, About 13 years ago

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This is the third in a series of 10 articles written by specialist landlord & tenant solicitor Tessa Shepperson, founder of the online Landlord Law Service. 

Having a good tenant is THE most important thing about renting property. 

If you have a good tenant, someone responsible and honest, then they will ensure that their rent is always paid, and will look after the property carefully.

If you have a bad tenant, then you are very likely to end up out of pocket, and possibly with expensive repair and redecoration work needing to be done when you finally get it back again.  The horror story described on my Landlord Law site does not happen very often, but this does not mean it never happens.

So what can you do to avoid the bad and rent to the good?

Here are some tips for you

  • Take references and follow them up. 
  • Double check all names and addresses (eg through Yellow Pages, other directories, the Internet) – that telephone number provided for the applicants employer for example – is it really his employer who answers or is it a friend pretending?  Adopt the attitude that everything is a lie until it has been independently verified.
  • Try to speak to people as well as (or instead of) getting a written reference.  Sometimes you can learn things from people’s tone of voice or by the things that they don’t say
  • Listen to your instincts.  If you feel uneasy about someone there is probably a reason for this.  Choose someone else.
  • Remember that con men succeed because they are persuasive.

It is also important that you have time to carry out these investigations.  Don’t let yourself be rushed. 

If a tenant comes to you desperate for accommodation and insisting that they must move in now before you have a chance to carry out all the checks, say “no”.  Experience has shown that these ‘desperate’ people often turn out to be nightmare tenants.  If they want your property that badly, they can go and stay in a B&B for a couple of nights while you carry out your checks.  You’re not renting property as a charity, you need the income. 

Finally, always, always, always, take a months rent in advance and a deposit, and do not allow the tenants to have the keys and move in before this money has cleared through your bank account.  Then if it all turns pear shaped, at least you will have got some rent out of them. 

More practical Tips are shared by Mark Alexander and how he chooses his tenants HERE.

What tips can you share?  We love to read contructive comments so please leave one.  If you’ve enjoyed this article please share it.


1. Have you got what it takes to be a landlord?
2. Make sure your property is legal before you rent 
3. You are here | Check out your tenants or live to rue the day
4. Why you need to have the right tenancy agreement for your letting
5. All about tenancy deposits
6. How to increase rent the proper way
7. Help!  My tenant has stopped paying rent – what do I do?
8. I think my tenant has left, can I change the locks?
9. What do you do if your tenant won’t leave when their section 21 notice expires?
10. The various and wondrous ways that tenancies end.

Tessa Shepperson is a solicitor specialising in residential landlord and tenant law.  She practises online via her web-site Landlord Law and blogs at the Landlord Law Blog .


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