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Choosing the Right Tenants: Tips from some of the UK’s top landlords

POSTED: 6th July 2015
IN: Landlord helpful guides
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With Ministry of Justice figures revealing that tenant evictions reached a six-year high in Q1 of 2015, the need for landlords to select potential tenants carefully has never been more apparent.

undefinedThough the vast majority of tenants are ‘good’, first impressions can be deceiving and problem tenants can (and do) happen to any landlord, regardless of property type and location. Carrying out meticulous groundwork before accepting potential tenants helps landlords to protect their buy to let investment and save themselves a great deal of time and money in the long run.

To help new landlords achieve peace of mind for their investment, we’ve sourced a few tips from some of the top landlords in our digital community.

Look for longevity

Tessa Shepperson, owner of the Landlord Law blog, advises to be wary of tenants who move around a lot. In a blog detailing her top ten tips for new landlords, Tessa advises:

“It can be quite expensive to find a new tenant, so I suggest that landlords try to find tenants who will stay longer in the property. That’s good business sense.”

With the costs associated with a changeover of tenants encompassing everything from repainting the walls to keeping up with mortgage payments during void periods, nomadic tenants can end up costing landlords in the long run.

“It can be quite expensive to find a new tenant, so I suggest that landlords try to find tenants who will stay longer in the property”

Tessa Shepperson

Don’t skip reference checks

One way to establish whether tenants have staying power is to run a comprehensive background check, including all-important credit checks. Not only does this give an indication of how they much have moved around in the past, it also gives landlords a good indication of their potential tenants’ character.

Speaking to the Bank last year, property investment mogul, David Lawrenson, spoke about the value of reference checking tenants fully before allowing them to rent your property. He warned:

“I’ve had some nightmare experiences. Reference check the tenants fully; talk to previous landlords to find out whether the tenant was well behaved. You need to make sure they can afford to pay, so check their income and typical expenditure by asking to see bank statements.”

“Reference check the tenants fully; talk to previous landlords to find out whether the tenant was well behaved.”

David Lawrenson

Let to the tenant that best suits you

In principle, renting out a property anywhere in the UK follows a fairly standard procedure. However, there is a world of difference between renting out to varying types of tenant.

Of course, the type of tenant a landlord attracts is largely dictated by the property on offer. A four-bedroom detached house in a leafy suburb near Ofsted-approved schools is likely to attract families, whereas a city-centre based one-bed flat will more likely appeal to couples and young professionals.

The HMO Landlady, Serena Thompson, shares a similar view to Tessa on avoiding short term lets - but her real bugbear is a particular group of tenants: students. Writing on her blog, Serena states:

“At the end of every summer holidays I see the same student landlords racing around town, paint brush in one hand, screwdriver in the other desperately hoping this intake won’t break the bannisters or pull the kitchen cupboards off the wall.

“They think I’m mad to accept a lower, all-inclusive room rate, but I think they’re mad dealing with fussy, over protective parents whose children are too precious to carry out household chores.”

“They think I’m mad to accept a lower, all-inclusive room rate, but I think they’re mad dealing with fussy, over protective parents whose children are too precious to carry out household chores.”

HMO Landlady

As a landlord it’s important to be realistic. Like Serena, many landlords find that it’s necessary to adjust their expectations of profitability depending on their willingness to deal with the typical behaviour patterns of different tenant-groups.

Landlords are entitled to let their property to whichever applicant they prefer, so there’s no harm in selecting whichever tenant best suits the buy-to-let business they want.

Over to you

Buying a property to let means more than just finances - it takes time and dedication to maintain just one home, so ensuring potential tenants are fully vetted before being handed the keys to a property is no light-hearted task.

However,the vast majority of tenants just want a place to call home. By carrying out thorough research and making sure that the rules of the tenancy short-hold agreement are clear and concise, new landlords can save themselves a lot of potential stress and hassle in the long run.

The content published on this website is intended to provide information only. The reader should seek advice from experts on the subject matter and independently verify the accuracy and relevance of any information provided here before relying upon it or using it for any reason. You can view our terms and conditions here.

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