Every landlord wants the ideal tenant that is tidy, organised, uncomplaining and, regularly pays his rental dues and plans on staying for the long term. But with every category of tenant – young active professionals, students, old couples, families, housing benefit recipients – comes different kinds of lifestyles, priorities and personal idiosyncrasies.
While as a landlord, when deciding on who rents your property, you should be careful of unfair discriminations on the basis of, for example, race or colour, religion, sex and disability; you must however do thorough background checks. This may be the difference in whether your prospective tenant will make your life easier and help insure your business investment or make it a living nightmare.
Here are six key guidelines to help you save time and money, avoid costly evictions and damage to your property when renting out your property.
Be detailed with your background checks
It takes a long time to really know anyone, including your prospective tenant. But you can cover much ground by being detailed with your background checks on them to understand the kind of person they are or predict the kind of tenant they would turn out to be. Don’t be scared of being thought of as intrusive, as you are only ultimately protecting your hard-earned investment.
Your thorough background checks based on the pre-rental contract forms should help you confirm their credit rating and ability to pay based on their verified income. Ideally, your tenant’s monthly earnings should be three times the monthly rent. Even when they have a good score on this point, you should also verify to see if they are not habitual defaulters and have a history of paying their bills on time.
You should also perform a criminal background check. Any civil judgments for bankruptcies? You can find out in from public court record, using bio-data supplied. Further check for consistencies. Is the information supplied like employment history and previous addresses consistent on all the forms? Does it suggest they are always switching addresses or jobs? That’s a red flag there.
Check with Previous Landlords
Review their rental history by checking up on one or two previous landlords of your prospective tenant. Find out why if they were forcefully evicted or left on mutual agreement. Did they pay their rent when due? Did they give the mandatory notice 30 days notice before leaving? What kind of tenant where they, both from the perception of the landlord and other tenants? Did they damage any part of the property before leaving? Ask all the questions that will clear every doubt you have.
Also note that although there are no specific rules about the number of occupants to a bedroom, you must not forget that the more people per flat, the more noise and the greater the wear and tear on your property.
Lastly, go with your instincts. Observe your prospective tenant’s personality, engage them in some personality-testing conversations without them knowing and trust your guts.