Table of contents
Why do you need a good tenant?
Characteristics of good tenants
How landlords find the best tenants
Landlord reference checks
Questions to ask prospective tenants
In 2022, there are 4.4 million private rented households in the UK. There is a large pool of tenants in this country and that is not going to change for the foreseeable future.
With such a large prospective pool of tenants available, landlords must pick the right ones to fill their properties! This is a handy guide on tenant selection and some crucial parts of the process all landlords must take seriously to ensure a smooth and hassle-free tenancy on your property.
Why do you need a good tenant?
The reasons a landlord would want a reliable and trustworthy tenant in their property are aplenty.
A reliable tenant will often save you the hassle and stress of chasing for late rent payments. When selecting a tenant, you want to be 100% certain of a tenant's affordability for the property, as rent defaults can lead to very awkward (not to mention costly) rental evictions and legal proceedings.
If you're incredibly house proud like me, you will want to minimise any potential damage to your house that possible!
There are actions landlords can, and should take, when seeking to find quality tenants.
So what are the characteristics to look for when searching for the right tenant?
An efficient tenant makes entering the tenancy as smooth and fast as possible.
A promising sign of an efficient tenant is when somebody responds promptly to your queries, shows up for appointments on time, has good communication skills, and asks the right questions about the property.
Efficiency lends to the impression that the tenant is likely to be on time with rent and report any problems as soon as they arise. Furthermore, the quicker the viewing and securing of the property occurs, the quicker that all-important turnaround time between tenancies finishes.
It is no secret that the cost-of-living crisis is rearing its ugly head in countries all across the world at the moment and as such people are prone to falsify documents in the rental application process in order to secure housing they cannot necessarily afford. This significantly exposes landlords to financial risk.
Although a tenant may seem honest in person, landlords must run checks on the tenant to ensure the residential and financial information they have provided leaves them with no nasty surprises later down the line.
Homeppl offers the best tenancy referencing service available, simply because we can detect 100% of fraud in tenants' documents.
This gives landlords complete confidence that their potential tenants are not providing them with misleading information, which can quite often lead to defaults. Ultimately, a thorough & advanced tenant check results in the most informed decision, with the greatest amount of security, being made when picking the best tenant for their property.
How to find the best tenants
Here are the most common ways landlords being their search for the perfect tenant.
The most popular means of finding tenants is through a letting agent. A letting agent's sole role is to market the property for the landlord. With their history of tenants, marketing know-how and usually longstanding presence in local and national communities, the reach of letting agents in certain areas can feel limitless.
Letting agents usually charge a one-off fee, roughly one month's rent of the property, to find the right tenant. This usually comes in the form of a ‘Find a Tenant’ package where letting agencies will upload your property to popular platforms such as Rightmove in order to find suitable tenants.
Their services can extend to managing the property as well as dealing with the paperwork and legalities. However, this is usually attached with further fees from up to 8%-15% of the rental value.
Letting agents afford landlords the most valuable luxury there is... time. Finding tenants and managing properties and making sure all the legalities are in order can be incredibly time-consuming... especially if you have a full-time career to contend with or you live abroad! Letting agents will take care of the nitty gritty, whilst the landlord can focus his/her time on other priorities.
These include popular online marketplaces for rental properties such as Rightmove, Zoopla & Gumtree.
With the rise of these online platforms, fees which can sometimes be deemed 'extortionate' or 'unnecessary' posed by letting agents are no longer needed. Although only letting agents can upload properties onto the website, you can utilise a much cheaper alternative, an online letting agent who only charges a small fee for uploading your property.
Rightmove and Zoopla are the top two competitors in marketing rentals and therefore are essential when looking for tenants. After your property has been uploaded, you can manage and arrange viewings with prospective tenants yourself should you wish. One does have to be careful regarding regulation. Gumtree has sometimes been dubbed the digital Wild West of house hunting with a very apparent lack of regulation that seems to govern the more common online marketplaces.
Whether or not as a landlord you choose to use a letting agency or not, running tenancy referencing checks is essential in avoiding the immense risk of signing on a tenant that cannot afford your property. With the tenancy qualification that Homeppl offers, you are granted the guarantee in selecting a tenant who can afford the property whilst being covered by our rental income protection guarantee that we offer on each tenant for rent amounts as little as £1.
Social Media and Self Promotion
With the huge rise of marketing through social media across all platforms, it can work super effectively when looking for new tenants. Self-promotion on the correct platforms can lead to a vast number of enquiries and there is an endless number of community groups on Facebook set up specifically to guide the exchange of messages between tenants and sources of information pertaining to available properties.
These groups are usually set up and segmented by geography. For example, the 'Rental properties available in Hackney Wick' group covers a popular renters spot in East London.
However, with the huge number of properties available, you must have a marketing strategy to be successful. Firstly, finding the correct target audience is essential in identifying how best to market to the tenant. Being incredibly detailed in your description of the property is vital in attracting the correct tenant for you, whether that be families, single tenants, students or pet owners. Furthermore, professional photos of your property with decor are an excellent tool for enticing the best tenants.
Running referencing checks on prospective tenants
As previously mentioned, a defining factor in finding the perfect tenant is the referencing check that examines the proof submitted that they can afford the property and will pay their rent on time.
When is the best time to arrange a reference check?
Checks are often ran once the tenant has decided that they would like to submit an offer to become the formal tenant of the property. There are checks you can make as a landlord prior to this part of the process, a google search or a check on social media for instance.
However, once a tenant's offer has been accepted by the landlord, this is the point at which it is now a legal requirement for landlords to conduct reference checks.
Checks can come in various different forms and the level of depth/accuracy of these screening processes can greatly differ.
The Homeppl reference check puts each tenant through 150+ qualification tests and is the most accurate solution on the market. Where other companies will stop at phone verification for income and prior tenancy history, we use advanced document analysis, behavioural analysis and open banking referencing to assess the true financial risk attached to every tenant. You can read more about our process here.
We strongly advise all landlords reading this to take this stage of your pursuit for a new tenant incredibly seriously.
Great questions to ask prospective tenants
When talking to prospective tenants, a great way to gauge if they'll be the perfect fit for your property is to ask some preliminary questions to understand more about them and their lives. These questions could surround their work lives, their interests etc, such as 'What is your current job?' and 'How long have you worked there?' or perhaps 'what sports do you enjoy?'
If anything, you want to have a good relationship with the person who is renting your property.