How to choose the best tenant for your rental?

Having a residential property is one thing, finding the right tenants is another altogether. As a landlord, you must have given a thought to how to choose the best tenant for your rental property.

While the thought of earning a rental income from your property is an enticing one, some tenants have the potential to make your life a living hell. With the high demand for property to rent ever increasing, it is essential that you take as much time as possible to ensure that you find the most suitable tenants.

landlord choosing a property key after learning how to choose the best tenant for your rental

How to choose the best tenant for your rental

Here are some of the best tips to help choose the best tenants for your rental property:

  1. Credit history

Any landlord should be concerned with a potential tenant’s ability to pay the rental amount. In this regard, you may want to check the credit history of all potential tenants. You will need their personal and employment details in order to do this, along with their written permission. The good thing is that the letting of the property is at your discretion and not the tenants. If a tenant is unwilling to share their credit history, this could be a sign that they have something to hide.

Due to the sensitive nature of credit records, only certain organisations can access it. Fortunately, many of these third parties will happily conduct a credit check on your behalf in exchange for a small fee. Before committing to an option, make sure to carefully read through what they’re offering, as some cheaper services may not provide the information you require.

A potential tenant’s credit history should give you a good idea of whether they historically have a good payment record, any debts, what their employment history’s like, and whether the rent is affordable for them.

In rental agreements involving a guarantor, the guarantor should also be credit checked.

  1. Permanent job

If an applicant does not have a permanent job, it is highly likely that they will start defaulting on rent payments in a matter of months. You do not want to start dealing with evictions within a few months of a tenant coming into your property.

You also should beware of tenants who are constantly moving jobs. They are never the best candidates. Most credit checks should reveal a tenant’s employment history, which is another reason they can be so important. Alternatively, you could ask to see the prospect’s employment contract or a recent payslip.

If you feel uneasy about the potential tenant’s employment but they otherwise pass your checks, you could propose using a guarantor or asking for a higher rent payment in advance. This can help to put you in a more secure position, reducing the risk if they’re unable to keep up with consistent rental payments.

  1. “Right to rent”

Legally, before someone moves into your property you must check if they have the “right to rent”. This will confirm whether they have permission to rent a property in the UK.

In many cases, this will simply be a case of checking their passport or residence document. If they prospective tenant can’t supply either of these, there are alternative ways for them to prove their right to rent, including a digital platform.

  1. Rental history

Another important aspect of tenant screening is finding out their rental history. If a person had problems paying rent elsewhere, it is very likely that they will have the same problems again.

If you can find their previous landlords, you may want to know their prior history before deciding whether to rent them your property. To discover this, you could ask for a reference from their previous landlord.

You also need to know why they are moving house. If they have been evicted, find out why.

prospective tenants and an agent

  1. Use an agency

A letting agency is a great way to avoid the stress that comes with finding suitable tenants.

Other landlords can help you find the most suitable agency. Before you reach an agreement with an agent, make sure you understand the cost implications and how comprehensive the service is. Some important questions to ask might include:

  • What trade associations or bodies are they registered with?
  • How familiar are they with the local rental property market?
  • What will the protocol be for any property management or maintenance issues?
  • What checks do they make regarding new tenants?
  1. Take your time

It is always tempting to want to fill up any available space as quickly as possible. This can have some implications on the quality of the tenants that you will end up with. Take your time to decide which tenants you feel comfortable letting your property to.

If you have ended up with the wrong tenants, all is not lost.

Get in touch with the Able Investigations team and we can help advise you on your situation as well as how to choose the best tenant for your rental. Call us on 0845 370 7401 or fill out our contact form.

Originally posted 2017, Updated March 2022

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