5 Handy Screening Topics for New Tenants

Every landlord wants to get good, reliable tenants. Your chances of achieving that are greatly increased by not rushing into tenancies and getting some basics right at the outset. It’s best to leave your personal opinions about individuals aside, by focusing on some core issues and knowing the right questions to ask can really help you to find the right tenant for your property. We’ve compiled a shortlist.

Get a credit history report

First and most important is to get a credit check done. There are multiple sources from where you can get the report. It will provide a wealth of information about the tenant’s financial status and history and reliability.

Have they ever been evicted?

Generally, a credit score is not affected by evictions but the eviction having occurred will be on a report and can stay there for up to seven years. So, a clear recent history is a good indicator of rent reliability.

If there has been a problem, be upfront and ask. There may be a reasonable explanation. There are always two sides to a story. For example, the eviction may have happened due to a lack of funds several years ago, the knowledge that your tenant has a steady job now may be enough to disregard the fact that they were once evicted for late payments. You can make a judgement having had it explained.

Do they have pets?

Your property and fittings may be pet friendly and you may have no objections. But if you do, it’s best to have this question answered up front. If you are OK with pets make sure you have specified that there is to be no fouling of garden space. You may have to be specific about what kind of pets you are comfortable with having on the property. Do checkout the latest regulations, the rules have recently changed.

are many legitimate reasons why a tenant might break their agreement, so it’s How long do they plan to stay?

How long do they plan to stay?

A good question to ask is if your dates align in terms of how long your tenants plan to live in the property. If you are looking for more long-term renters, it’s good to discover whether your new tenants are planning to relocate to another country in the next 6 to 18 months. Also, many people are saving to buy a property today, so it can be worth checking their timeline for purchasing a place of their own.

If you don't mind having a high turnover in your rental property then this doesn't really matter. However, if your schedule is quite busy and you can’t spare the time to find new tenants every 6 months, it may be better to hold out for long term renters.

Do they have any unique requirements or expectations?

Asking your tenants what they expect is a good way of showing them that you are willing to work with them and accommodate their needs. This will lay a strong foundation for your tenant-landlord relationship.

Also, knowing whether your tenant requires something specific or unusual can help to determine whether your property is the right fit for their needs. For instance, if they run a small business and need more than one parking space for a van, then you can inform them of the usual capacity for cars on your street or nearby.

How many people will move in?

This is important for many reasons, not least of which is the legal aspect of letting properties to multiple people. Always check how many people will be staying in the property as well as their ages and their relationship to the applicant.

Mid-term inspections

Having set your tenancy in motion, don’t forget to keep it on track by conducting regular mid-term inspections. It is usual to have the initial check at around 3 months with follow-ons 6 or so months later. Our free inventory app allows you to create quick mid-term inspections.

Be sure to make appointments well ahead of time for inspections. You are required to give at least 24 hours’ notice.

Panos, 16 April 2021

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