As a landlord, you’d like to think you have control over the success of letting your private rental property. The truth of the matter is that the degree of success you are able to achieve will depend on the tenants you choose to let live in the property.
Whether you just rent one property or have a whole portfolio, the people living in those properties can determine how little, or how much, stress you may have to deal with.
Vetting gives you control
You don’t have to be helpless. If you carry out proper checks on the prospective tenants – for example by using a comprehensive referencing service – you can avoid some of the nightmare situations you will have heard about.
What kind of issues can problem tenants cause? It ranges from unnecessary requests, like changing lightbulbs, to more serious issues like rent arrears and property damage.
Make sure you meet potential tenants
The best place to start with vetting is to meet potential tenants in person and talk to them. The ideal opportunity is when they come to view the property and it won’t then seem intrusive or create the negative impression that you are a ‘nosy landlord’.
What a meeting like this allows you to do is observe the tenant and sometimes a gut feeling is more important than anything your research might tell you.
Don’t underestimate the importance of previous landlord references
Getting a full tenant reference is essential but don’t overlook references from previous landlords as they can be a great way to weed out potential nightmare tenants. You should be concerned if tenants omit information that prevents you from contacting previous landlords – or resist the suggestion of providing details and/or references.
Even if you don’t have any problems getting a reference, there is a potential snag you should consider – some landlords might deliberately give a glowing reference to a terrible tenant in an effort to get them out of their property. While relatively rare, it does happen.
To avoid this unpleasant pitfall, consider going further back for references and getting more than the bare minimum. Don’t just contact their last landlord, talk to the one before that as well. After all, when it comes to your property investment, you can never be too careful.
Patience is the key
There is always the temptation to just get someone in the property – reducing void periods is high on the list of priorities for any landlord serious about making a success of their buy-to-let property.
However, with the rental market growing at its current rate, there are always going to be more potential tenants. Even if this wasn’t the case, it’s never worth rushing to put a tenant into your property that you aren’t sure about.
The short-term gain of getting rent from your new tenant might be appealing, but a nightmare scenario will make you pay in the long-term.
So just remember – you don’t have to take the first person who walks in the door!