More people are choosing to rent out their properties today. There are plenty of reasons for doing so, and becoming a landlord can be profitable and see a good return on property investment.
However, finding the right tenant is vital, and many landlords fail to realise just how important this area is. This is perhaps truer with newcomers to the buy-to-let arena, and the potential ROI can dwindle quickly if bad tenants are chosen.
Studies differ, but the average rent in London is somewhere in the region of £1,700. As a landlord, you may reasonably expect anyone who can afford this kind of monthly rent to be a desirable tenant.
Unfortunately, many problems do not become visible until after the tenancy ends. Damage to property, poor upkeep, and a failure to leave the home ready to rent out again can prove costly to a landlord. This can lead to the owner having to use specialist services such as upholstery cleaners in London, deep cleans, and make repairs.
How popular is renting a property privately today?
Renting property in some countries is seen as the norm, even more so than buying in some areas. Under 50% of Germans own their home, and renting is largely a necessity due to property prices.
The UK Government’s survey on private landlords revealed that nearly 20% of all households were in the privately rented sector in 2021. But, in 2022, rented accommodation was in even greater demand. It has been estimated that around 8.7 million UK homes are in the buy-to-let sector now.
Why is it important to find a good tenant?
Once your tenant is renting it is likely that you won’t see him or her every week but periodic inspections are recommended by industry experts. Yet, some landlords only inspect properties at the end of the tenancy, or when a problem arises and is reported by the tenant.
It is a good idea in practice to visit your property every quarter or at least twice a year. This reduces the chances of you finding more serious problems further into the tenancy. Not all property issues will be a tenant’s fault. Seasonal changes and storms can cause property damage not just the people dwelling there. But, there are some solid reasons for investing time in finding the best tenants you can.
A good tenant will take care of your property
You have invested money and your heart into creating a beautiful space. The wrong tenants can undo that work over time. A good tenant will take care of the home, and treat it as if it were their own.
Empty properties are at risk
If your tenant is prone to skipping out on contracts then you could find your property empty before you have a chance to advertise it and look for new occupiers. Empty properties can attract burglars – especially fully furnished ones, and vandalism.
They won’t cost you money
Sadly, there have been more than one case of the tenants from hell in the UK. And one landlord had to pay £20,000 to repair their home after finally evicting their personal tenants from hell.
They will perform an end-of-tenancy clean
Leaving the home ready to rent out once more means that you get a better return on your investment. If you are paying a mortgage on the property then ideally you will have very little space between tenants leaving and arriving. A professional clean at the end of the tenancy helps.
What to look for in a good tenant?
Your ideal tenant will stay long-term to save you advertising frequently, they will pay the rent on time, leave no other bills unpaid, be respectful of the neighbours, and keep the home clean.
There are plenty of ways to keep apartments clean, and most tenants want to live in a comfortable environment. However, apart from inspections, you have no way of knowing whether your tenant is regularly cleaning the home to your standards. You also cannot know if your prospective tenant will pay the bills on time just by looking at them. Therefore, certain checks are usually carried out, most often by a letting agent.
Before allowing anyone into your lovely home, you must see the following:
- References from the previous landlord
- Evidence of financial stability and means to pay rent
- Proof of employment
- Credit check
Ideally, you would also be able to see that your tenant doesn’t have a history of breaking contracts, but a good reference from the last landlord should be enough. Bank statements, pay slips, and perhaps a letter from an employer can help to satisfy concerns over being able to pay the rent. Credit checks are normally carried out by letting agents with the tenant’s permission too.
To find a good tenant you need to go through some steps including knowing how to decorate a spare room for renting, or the whole property for that matter, so that you can attract viewings.
How do you find a good tenant?
Many people rent their homes privately to avoid the costs that come with letting agents. For others, having a rented home managed fully is much more preferable, and reduces any potential problems with the tenants. It also puts a certain amount of responsibility on the letting agent to ensure the right tenant is chosen, and the proper checks carried out.
Nonetheless, you can also help to attract the right tenant. When searching for a property the location is always crucial. How you decorate and present the property is also important even when renting.
You will need to get your space ready, and firms don’t just recommend end-of-tenancy cleans, but can help landlords too. Apart from making sure the home has nice decor, ensure the appliances are in good working order and clean the property too. A well-decorated, clean home in a good area is going to attract a bigger pool of potential tenants to choose from.
How do you keep a desirable tenant?
This is another aspect that a considerable amount of landlords fail to take into account. Once you have the right tenant in place, it is preferable to keep them rather than have to search for new ones regularly.
Make sure that when you wish to carry out an inspection you give the tenant a reasonable amount of notice. Respecting your tenant’s privacy is important.
Carrying out maintenance and fixing problems in a timely fashion is also helpful in developing a good tenant-landlord relationship.
And don’t forget to secure the deposit in one of the approved schemes within the legally set time frame. This will help to develop trust. As will carrying out gas safety checks on boilers, and providing copies of the records.
The importance of having a good tenant cannot be understated. Many benefits are obvious, such as having rent paid on time. But, others may not become clear until the tenancy comes to an end.
A good tenant will report problems that need fixing which means the property is kept in good condition, and they will also leave the place spotless and ready to lease again. Putting in the wrong tenant could cost you thousands of pounds in damage, and leave the property empty while repairs are made. In the worst scenario, you may even be forced to evict a bad tenant.