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Tips to finding the best tenants

Anybody who has been a landlord will at some point have dealt with a difficult tenancy I’m sure… perhaps the tenant(s) didn’t pay their rent on time or they didn’t look after the property properly. Then there are the dreaded void periods…

 

Ultimately, you want to find good quality tenants who will save you time and money. However, being a landlord is a full time job, so you need to be organised and have good communication skills. A good letting agent can of course take all the hassle away, and provide a pool of good quality tenants looking for apartments - which is why so many landlords now use them. However, if you decide to go it alone, here are a few things to look out for to help ensure you find the right ones…

 

Do background checks. Ask to see recent bank statements, find out where they work and if it’s full- or part-time, and speak with their employer to corroborate. Ask for references from previous landlords to check they paid on time, were clean and tidy, and neighbours didn’t complain about them. Use a credit reference agency and check their criminal history too.

 

Check I.D. Legally you have to make sure your tenants are allowed to be in the UK – it’s called a ‘right to rent.’ Ask for copies of passports and any immigration paperwork, otherwise you risk a hefty fine if it transpires one of your tenants is an illegal immigrant.

 

Get a security deposit. Don’t give anybody keys until you have received a deposit. Ask for the equivalent of a month’s rent upfront, and remember you legally have to register these with a protection scheme. 

 

Write an inventory. The inventory list will help protect everybody at the end of the tenancy. Be sure to include all marks, scrapes etc on fittings, fixtures, furniture, damages to the walls for example or signs of wear and tear. Make sure you have all signed it before handing over the keys. 

 

Have a written contract. For the protection of you and your tenants, a shorthold tenancy agreement signed by all parties is advised.

 

Choose a stable tenant. Check prior addresses and employment history – have they moved around a lot?

 

What is their personality like? Get an idea of their character by getting to know them, then trust your gut instinct. Tenant demand is strong in Bath. If you get a bad vibe off somebody, don’t panic - you will find others.