Many landlords enter the world of property wanting capital yield and asset appreciation only to find a myriad of tenant problems.
- To avoid problems before they arise is to screen the tenant thoroughly. Make a checklist of that you need to qualify the tenant thoroughly.
- Make sure you ‘interview’ your tenant thoroughly:
- Addresses the have lived at
- Previous landlords details – and present – make sure you get the telephone number
- Pay Slips if working
- National Insurance number ( Call Baggy 07971 241120 and he will why tell you how to use it!)
- A guarantor if they are young or on housing benefit
- A Credit Reference check
- Call the present and previous landlords – I have on a number of occasions called ‘landlords’ – that weren’t! If you’re unsure of whether they are or not then you could do a Land Registry search on the property to ensure they own it!
- A vital question to ask present or previous landlords – whether the tenant has been in arrears before – if so how much and how long for. Even the best of tenants can find themselves unemployed or been hit by an unexpected bill.
- If you are unsure don’t bother creating at a tenancy – I have had tenants beg me for a place only to destroy the property, not pay rent and end up in the courts for an eviction – I was left £6,000 worse off!
- Always try and get a ‘Guarantor’. If there are rental arrears, damage to property, or other issues then you can refer to the ‘Guarantor’ for a recourse – be it financial or as a ‘go-between’.
- Get an employers’ reference if you need ‘belt and braces’ – but historically I have only used these to track down those that have done a ‘Runner’ from the property. But ensure you have the details of the employer.
- Get a Credit Check done and a criminal reference if you feel you need it. Most Referencing Agencies will be able to do this all for you.
Once ‘armed’ with these records set up the tenancy agreement. Once the tenant is in situ, and you are not using an agent, visit the property once every three months to ensure that everything is OK – remember to text, email, or mail them that you will be calling at the property at least 24 hours before. This will cultivate a relationship of trust and good communication. Make sure you create a file for the property and maintain accurate and up to date information.
That’s the good housing keeping, but it’s not all that way sometimes and tenants can turn into major nightmares. If it is going to happen – it’s because of one major reason – 80% of the time it is because you have not done the screening properly and getting the property rented is your utmost rational for not doing the screening.
However, if it’s not that then it’s due to late rent or an issue with the maintenance of the property. Late payment needs to be ‘nipped in the bud’. A visit to the property and a friendly chat, so as to ascertain the reasons for late rent and to create a payment schedule for arrears and whether it is long term and you need to arrange housing benefit. However, if the rent remains unpaid for more than 14 days you are within your rights to repossess the property.
For matters related to property cleanliness, and/or damage a polite word and a written request will resolve matters. If it continues then a harsh warning is needed.
If you become aware of an unruly problem tenant behavior, which is causing offense to neighbors for parking or noise violations – then refer the matter to the police.
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