House shares: consider property and tenants carefully

by Sarah Ashcroft

Landlords thinking of renting out rooms in a house or flat share for the first time need to ensure that they take the necessary steps to get a good tenant.

Malcolm Harrison, property industry expert speaking on behalf of Let Insurance Services, said that it is always a mistake to take on tenants on trust.

"The vital thing is, particularly when it is a buoyant market, to make absolutely certain that you take out proper references on your tenants. Don't take it on trust," he explained.

Most tenancy agreements will ask for references as part of the process of applying for a property, so where the tenant has provided the information, it is important to use it.

However, he said the best way to get a strong selection of potential tenants is to pick the buy-to-let property very carefully in the first place.

Mr Harrison advised looking at an area objectively to decide on whether it has a lot of commercial activity or if it is a good location for commuters as these factors will ensure demand stays strong.

"Brighton, for example, has got a university, it has got all kinds of organisations which supply tenants. The first thing is to decide where you are going to go, then aim at the middle market because you'll get a higher return. In the middle market you are going to get more applicants," Mr Harrison said.

He explained that Brighton, and many other places that have a university and are close to a major city, have both the regular student activity as well as a large floating population, meaning landlords should rarely be stuck for tenants for long.

But, where demand is strong, landlords are in a strong position to refuse an applicant if they do not provide suitable references, and this is the course of action that is most advisable.

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Published on: June 19, 2012

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