Posted by Admin - 14/06/2016
When screening prospective tenants, it is important to make sure you ask the right questions.
Below we have compiled a list of what we think are beneficial things to find out.
It is important to ensure that you know the tenants monthly income. If they are reluctant to give you this it should raise concerns that they may not actually be able to afford the rent. It may also be a good idea to find out what sort of employment they are in. For example if they are in a zero hour contract there is no guarantee of their monthly income and they can be made unemployed with very little notice.
You should ask your tenant their reasons for moving. If they say there was animosity between them and their former landlord you may want to think twice about proceeding with the referencing process as they could be a serial nightmare tenant. However if their reasons are due to a landlord selling the property or career progression these are likely to be genuine.
If the tenant is unable to provide references from their employer and former landlord (also the landlord before the previous) this could be a major warning signal and unless they are able to provide a legitimate reason you should probably discontinue referencing.
You can call the tenants bluff by asking them if they have ever been evicted. The likelihood is they will try to lie and say they haven’t but dependent on how good a judge of character you are you may be able to tell by their reaction to the question.
A good question to ask would be whether or not the tenant will have their deposit and first months rent available at the move-in stage. If they do not then this will be a great waste of time.
Don’t be afraid to ask the tenant if it is ok for you to visit them in their current property. It will give you a clear indication as to how they may treat your property. Extreme wear and tear will raise a red flag and you may decide against taking on this tenant.
Try to ask the tenant about their lifestyle. This could be out of pure interest however it is good to know whether they play any instruments or enjoy hosting a party or two (see our Noisy Neighbours blog for ways around these sorts of neighbours).
Ask the tenant if they have any pets. If they do you may want to ask for a slightly larger deposit and you could also ask for a pet reference. For more information on accepting tenants with pets check out our Pets in Properties blog
The most important thing to do when vetting a tenant is to check their ID to ensure they have the Right to Rent in the UK.
To encourage communication between yourself and the tenant it might be a good idea to ask them if they have any questions themselves. This may make them feel more comfortable with you as their landlord and ultimately more respect towards you.
Lastly it may benefit you to check out a tenants social media. If you use a proper social media vetting tool it will search for keywords such as debt and loan and will affect their score on the vetting. Check out this article from The Telegraph for more information on social media vetting. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/investing/buy-to-let/landlords-check-facebook-and-other-social-media-to-vet-tenants/