Finding the Perfect Tenant – “Trust but Verify”

Finding the Perfect Tenant – “Trust but Verify”

16:18 PM, 13th February 2012, About 12 years ago 6

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Finding that perfect tenant can be time consuming and a very tough task. No matter how a prospective tenant may dress or whether they come across very genuine and trustworthy, there is no guarantee that what you see is what you get.

Recent research undertaken by the NLA found that over 50% of landlords have experienced rent arrears in the last 12 months. Whilst there can be a variety of reasons why a tenant may have problems paying the rent, there are other factors that make a bad tenant such as landlords having their property damaged and anti-social behaviour etc.

Too many landlords are failing to make simple checks on tenants before handing over the keys to their rental properties. As a family business with a large portfolio of properties, we mainly target the DSS market and below are a few quick steps on finding a good tenant:

Where do you advertise your property?

It is worth placing an advertisement in the local press as a local advert is likely to attract those in the vicinity rather than further afield.

Go and visit the tenant at their property!

As landlords we always try to visit the prospective tenant at their current address, that way you can always get a picture of the state of their current property. When you initially speak with the tenant mention you want to meet with them at their current address and if they say no, or rush you off the phone, you can tell something must be wrong. What are they hiding? Move on to the next tenant.

Always think cautiously!

When tenants are in a hurry to move in or offer rent up front to secure the property without allowing time for the correct background checks to take place, it’s important to exercise caution. Approximately one in 20 tenants processed has one or more CCJ’s at an undisclosed address.

If your prospective tenant is stalling…

Most tenants are happy to co-operate if they have nothing to hide, holding up the process of moving into their rental property is unusual if everything is above board.

Some tenants do not appreciate being checked!

A recent case uncovered that the employment details of a prospective tenant were false. This tenant could have potentially slipped through the net because the referenced contact name was an employee of the company concerned doing a friend a favour.

The application might have been successful if it were not for the fact that she couldn’t provide back statements showing her salary payment.

If you don’t thoroughly check a tenant’s credentials they could use the details of someone else to move into your property. You could quite easily end up in a situation of not knowing who your tenant actually is!

Trust your instincts!

You may not want to be best friends, but still, any friction you feel up front could be an indication of things to come later down the line.

We suggest you do all credit checks you need but, as stated earlier, meeting the tenant in their current environment (if you can) is one of the most important checks and it’s is free of charge of course!

EDITOR’S NOTE – if you could add JUST ONE extra check to those already mentioned in this article or other readers comments, what would it be?

Steve Hanbury

Steve Hanbury is Director at, a tenant database recording their vital information and a rating for letting agents and landlords.

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0:23 AM, 14th February 2012, About 12 years ago

Advise that they will be checked on LRS, explaining to them what it is, with them having to give
for the check to be carried out.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

8:42 AM, 14th February 2012, About 12 years ago

Always ask for a home owning guarantor, it can be better than any amount of deposit you take or insurance you will ever buy.

More on my strategy via the link below 

11:24 AM, 16th February 2012, About 12 years ago

The other check is to speak to their current landlord

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

11:34 AM, 16th February 2012, About 12 years ago

..... and the one before as some landlords will say anything in order to pass on a problem tenant - "Sad but True!"

Mark Reynolds

14:24 PM, 16th February 2012, About 12 years ago

It really does make me wonder why some landlords take tenants without the right checks.

Would you allow a stranger to drive your £30,000 BMW without first checking they are legally allowed to drive and they have sufficient insurance cover? The answer is probably not. So why would you allow someone you either hardly know or don't know at all, to live in your property without first checking they are a good bet?

Paul B is right, there are sites out there that allow you to check the tenants history, which for us is simply a first port of call for referencing and if they pass muster then onto full referencing we go.

I wrote a small article about it on our website back in November.

A full reference is our insurance policy when letting out our landlords properties!

Mary Latham

16:55 PM, 16th February 2012, About 12 years ago

Its good to know that there are Agents who protect landlords from themselves.  Many landlords have had such great tenants that they cannot imagine what a bad tenant can get up and this is why, in my opinion, they don't do all the checks.
We don't know what we don't know

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