Renting out your property to potential tenants is a significant decision for any homeowner. Whether it is your first time looking for renters, or you have done this plenty of times before, it doesn’t change the importance of finding the right candidates to move in.
The characteristics of an ‘ideal tenant’ varies for every property owner. Some people’s top priority is on-time payments, while others focus entirely on how little damage tenants will cause to the property. Other landlords will make their decision largely based on how long the person(s) is looking to rent for, while some homeowners are more concerned with whether a tenant is willing to put down a sizeable security deposit.
The questions you ask will impact your ability to identify whether someone is the right candidate. If you ask the correct questions, there could be no problems at all – but if you don’t, the likelihood of things going wrong is increased.
What questions should I ask potential tenants?
What is your monthly income?
It is important that you get a clear understanding of a potential tenant’s financial situation. You should find out their monthly income, as this will give you a clear sense of how much ‘leeway’ they have to pay their bills. For example, if they are only able to afford your property by the skin of their teeth, then you may decide that this counts against them.
What is your employment situation?
You should also find out the security of their job. For example, if they own a start-up company which has only existed for two months, this is arguably less reliable than someone who has been employed at a successful large company for several years. For people who are self-employed, their income can sometimes be more volatile, although this is of course not always the case.
Are you able to make a security deposit?
It is worth finding out whether the potential tenant is able to put down the required security deposit. If they are unable to do so, or stall when you ask about this, then this may be an unnerving sign for when you need to get your monthly payments from them further down the line.
Why are you moving?
It is advisable to get a clearer sense of the potential renter’s past circumstances, too. For example, why are they moving? If it is because they were evicted from a past property – be that because they failed to make payments, or because their behaviour was deemed unacceptable – then this is a major warning sign.
Do you have any pets and are you a smoker?
Another crucial area to cover when asking your questions is about the living behaviour of everyone that will be living there. For example, does the family have any pets? If they do, then this could have a strong impact on your decision.
You may also wish to find out whether anyone will be smoking in your property; whether any of them are drug users; or if they frequently listen to loud music. While it is not always easy to find out this information (and potential tenants are unlikely to be forthcoming with these details if it makes them less likely to get your place) you can try contacting former landlords to find out.
Do you have any references?
If your potential tenant doesn’t have a past landlord who can give them a positive reference, then you may interpret that as another warning sign.
The above suggestions are just a few of the questions you could ask potential tenants. Your primary objective is to find out everything required to make an informed decision about which renters to select. As long as you cover all the details important to you, then you increase your chances of a successful decision.
How should I question my potential tenants?
You are not alone if you are wondering how exactly you should question your potential tenants. Are these queries something you need to put in writing, or is face-to-face acceptable? It is important to know your landlord rights in a situation like this.
How you choose to ask these questions to candidates is up to you. Many landlords simply make these queries face-to-face and take a mental note of the answer, and it is common for homeowners to ask potential tenants these questions over the phone, too.
On the other hand, it has been known for other homeowners to create a Google Docs form which they ask applicants to fill out. This latter option helps you to quickly and easily weed out the candidates who don’t meet your requirements.
There is no legal requirement for you to ask your question in any of these specific ways – so you should just choose the route which makes the most sense to you.
Should I trust a letting agency with finding potential tenants?
If you decide to hire a letting agency to take care of finding potential tenants, then you are far from alone. This is a route chosen by vast amounts of landlords across the UK so they can find reliable, co-operative renters without the hassle of interviewing each one themselves.
Many letting agencies will interview candidates for you and give you their feedback on which people they recommend. Often, this will come with a ‘summary report’ for each candidate so you can see their key details, and then make a decision.
Hiring a letting agency can be an excellent option because not only does it reduce your stress, but you can benefit from their experience and expertise in finding trustworthy tenants.
You should carry out thorough research to find the best letting agencies possible before jumping to a decision. You may want to check online reviews, ask friends in the area for recommendations, and speak to letting agencies over the phone for a quotation for their services.
If you are a homeowner looking to sell a tenanted property, then We Buy Any Home can help. Contact us today for a no-obligation offer on your house.