Tenant checking must be a landlord's priority

If you want to be a success as a landlord, then one of the most important things you need to do is to find the right tenant. When you're thinking of letting out a property, you must vet and check out the references of your prospective tenant thoroughly.

Research undertaken by the Residential Landlords Association has shown that where no tenant checks have been made, landlords are seven times as likely to end up taking court proceedings.

So, here are the five steps you must take to take to vet your tenant properly:

Five essential steps to vetting your tenant.

With the current economic climate, it's more vital than ever that landlords check out their tenant and make sure that they are in secure employment. Due to the credit crunch, unemployment is starting to rise and you don't want tenants who will be out of a job in the midst of the tenancy. As a consequence, your tenants may want to move out of your property into cheaper accommodation, causing you an administrative and expensive headache, or the tenants may default on the rent.

Tenant referencing - Find out how our Tenant Checking Service can help.

The worst case scenario is that your tenants may stay put in your property and not pay the rent at all, which means that you may have to go through the lengthy process of eviction, which can take months, and there may be a chance that you may never recover your money.

Thinking of evicting your tenant - Read our expert guidance on how to evict tenants here.

Eviction - Find out how our Tenant Eviction Service can help.

In this present unpredictable environment, if you had to choose between two very good tenants - one tenant who is in a shaky sector or another who works for the public sector (e.g. as a teacher or civil servant), it's probably best to opt for the latter.

If you use a letting agent to find tenants, make sure that the agent is reputable. There are many rogue letting agents who don't do tenant referencing properly and, as a result, lots of landlords get their fingers burned.

Remember that it will be you, the landlord, and not the agent, who will lose out financially if the relationship between you and your tenant turns sour. So ask if you can see the references that the letting agent has obtained.

And if your letting agent tries to deter you by citing the Data Protection Act, ignore them. Your tenant should have authorised for you, the landlord, to see their references when they filled in the application form to apply to rent out your property.

More information

Published on: July 1, 2008

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