Its a bit of a buyers market in most areas now so you can afford to be choosy about your tenants. There is no excuse for just taking the first person who comes along because you are worried he may be the ONLY person who comes along!
You want to choose someone who is not going to be troublesome, who will pay regularly and who will look after the property for you. How can you do that?
Here are some tips:
1. Meet them personally and sum them up
Many landlords develop a sixth sense for picking good tenants. You will probably get a feeling about them. Don’t discount this – if you feel uneasy about them, choose someone else.
However this must not take the place of proper checking – remember that Con men can be very persuasive – thats their job!
2. Take references
The normal references are:
- Bank (to make sure they actually have a bank account)
- Employer (to make sure they have a job as this will be paying your rent)
- Former landlord
3. Take some references with a pinch of salt
Of these remember that the former landlord may not want to say anything negative if they are desparate to get rid of them, and the personal referees will probaby be primed to say nice things.
Sometimes it is a good idea to ring up the former landlord and speak to them. The tone of their voice when they answer ceertain questions and the things that they don’t say, may tell you a lot
4. Double check all contact details
For example a fraudster may give you a false contact telephone number so when you think you are speaking to the employer you may be speaking to his accomplice!
So check as much as you can. I have read one landlord who takes the view that all details should be considered false until they have been checked!
You can check addresses and phone numbers of employers in Yellow pages or on the internet. Also consider using the Google street view just to check that the business office is where they say it is!
5. Be sure and do credit referencing
There are many companies that do this now and their prices are usually very reasonable – particuarly when you consider how much money you would lose if you had to evict a non paying tenant! For example
If you do these five things, this does not guarantee that all your tenants will be perfect, but they will go a long way towards weeding out the problem ones.