Landlords: Check Up On Tenants In Case Tenants Check Out On You!
This is a guest post by Tulloch Priest of Priest Properties.
When you have a potential tenant interested in renting your property, it’s well worth while spending the time checking their references thoroughly.
Although you may pride yourself on having good instincts about potential tenants, and are probably anxious to let the property as soon as possible, it’s surprising what is sometimes uncovered and that perfect tenant may prove to be far from ideal after all.
Tenant referencing takes time and effort, but it’s something that cannot be rushed. If you have the time you can carry out the reference checks yourself, but it can often be easier to leave the job to letting agents who know exactly what to look for and where the pitfalls lie.
Getting the Basics
When a tenant applies to let the property, you should get some basic details from them including their full name and address and previous addresses for the last three years, some form of official ID and their National Insurance number. Ask them for their landlords name, address and telephone number, and also their current employment details, including whether or not they are self-employed, how long they have been in their present job and their salary. Personal information should include their date of birth, whether they have a partner and children, if they have any pets and if any of the potential occupants are smokers.
You also need their bank details and will need to know whether or not this is a joint account, and it’s usual to ask for three months of bank statements. Other relevant details include whether they have any County Court judgements against them or if they have ever been made bankrupt. It’s also wise to ask why they are looking around for another property, and if they were registered on the electoral roll at their previous address, and if not why not.
Checking up on References
This might seem like a tremendous amount of detail to ask, but it’s all necessary. One of the most important references to follow up is their current employer. Make sure you verify the contact details and address given by the prospective tenant are correct, as some tenants have been known to falsify this information and to give the contact number of close friend who will give them an immaculate reference.
When following up on their current landlords details make sure you check with the Land Registry website to ensure they are correct. One of the most important questions to ask is if their present landlord would be happy to let another property to them. You also need to know for sure that there are no outstanding County Court judgements against them or that their credit record is pristine, so you will need to carry out your own credit check.
Even after thoroughly checking potential tenants, there is no guarantee that they will turn out to be perfect as people circumstances can and do change, but at least you will have tipped the odds in your favour. Luckily the majority of tenants are reliable and decent, and will adhere to the terms of the agreement; it’s only a tiny percentage that creates major problems.
Tulloch Priest is the owner of Priest Properties letting agents in Nottingham.
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