Every landlord’s dream is a tenant who never has any complaints, looks after the property they are living in and always pays their rent on time. Unfortunately, not all tenants fit this description, but you can increase your chances of finding a good match by following the tips in this guide.
Do your research
First of all, assess the rental market in your area and see what other owners of buy-to-let property are offering. If others are renting out properties that have little sign of wear and tear and don’t require any maintenance, you need to bring your property up to this standard if you want to be able to charge the same rent.
Using a letting agent
Whether you are very busy or just don’t have the inclination to search for tenants yourself, a letting agent could be the answer.
Agents can then arrange viewings and meet prospective tenants at your property to show them around. They can then act as an intermediary between you and the prospective tenants to come to an agreement over the level of rent and length of tenancy.
Reliable letting agents will inform you if they don’t believe a prospective tenant is suitable, but others are just focussed on getting their commission, so it is wise for you to meet your prospective tenants before anything is signed.
Doing it yourself
If you don’t want to pay someone else to find tenants for your property, you can do it yourself. There are a number of online letting agents that you can use to advertise your property.
Submit the details of your property, plus some good-quality photographs and the online letting agent will post an advert on potentially hundreds of property websites – usually, the more you pay, the more sites your advert will appear on.
Some online letting agents also include tenant reference and credit checks plus bespoke tenancy agreements in their fees. A high proportion of tenants find properties to rent via the internet, but you should consider covering all bases by putting adverts in local newspapers and notice boards in local shops.
Also ask your current tenants whether they know anyone who is looking for a property to rent. You could ask them to put out a message on Facebook or Twitter to see whether any of their friends need somewhere to live.
When it comes to viewings, many people prefer to view properties out of normal working hours, so they don’t have to take time off work. This could suit you too if you also have a 9-5 job, but it is really up to you how flexible you want to be with viewing times.
Know your facts
If you are conducting viewings yourself, make sure you are prepared for the kind of questions prospective tenants will ask.
It is up to you to know everything about your property, from what the neighbours are like and what days the bins are collected to how much the council tax is and where the nearest shops, schools and bus stops are. You shouldn’t just see viewings as being for you to meet and select tenants, they are for you to show off your property and encourage people to select you as a landlord, too.
Ask the right questions
Use the BuyToLet.com ‘Basic information on potential tenants’ form to note down key details about the people who express interest in your property, such as name, age, employment status and job title.
Spend time chatting to the people who look around your property so you can get a feel of what they are like as people, it is difficult to tell instantly whether someone is reliable or not, but listen to your instincts.