10 questions every landlord should ask prospective tenants
One of the most important elements of being a landlord is finding the right tenant for your property. This can be a long process and you can never be 100% certain that you have found the perfect tenant. However, with certain questions and criteria you can ensure you find the most fitting occupier for you and your property, reducing the risk of any future problems.
Here are ten questions that you should ask every prospective tenant:
- Why are you moving?
The answer to this question can highlight all sorts of alarm bells. What you want is a genuine reason; perhaps they are changing location as they have a new job or they need more room due to an expanding family. Clearly if a potential tenant answers this questions with “I got evicted”, you won’t want them moving in in a hurry.
- Will you have the deposit and first month’s rent ready before you move in?
If the answer is no then they are wasting your time. You should never allow anyone to move in unless they do. And never negotiate this with a likely tenant, if you do this could become a trend for the entire relationship, potentially leaving you out of pocket.
- Do you have a permanent job, are you on a contract basis or are you in a probation period?
Realistically, you’re looking for someone who has a permanent and steady job. Contract work may mean there is a gap between when one contract ends and another begins, and who knows if they will have thought ahead to save rent money. Whilst it is likely your tenant will pass the probationary period, there is a risk that they could lose their job with one week’s notice if they don’t fit in.
- What is your monthly income?
Similar to the above question, this is key in determining whether a prospective tenant can afford your rental costs as well as monthly living costs.
- Can your employer and former landlord provide references?
This could give you an idea of what a potential tenant’s lifestyle is like, how reliable they are and to confirm their financial income. If they are not willing to provide references this should set alarm bells ringing as they may have something to hide.
- Do you have any pets?
If you have a ‘no pet’ policy, a yes to this question will quite quickly rule out a tenancy. However, if you are open to allowing pets in your rental property you may want some more information about what type of pet they have, you may even want to visit their current home, to check the impact on the property.
- Can you tell me what your lifestyle is like?
This does not only relate to whether a likely occupant likes to party hard (although you may want to know this too). You could also ask whether they work night shifts, whether they play loud instruments, and whether they have friends over at all hours. All of which could determine their suitability to your property and its area.
- How long a lease are you looking for?
It is best practice to begin with a 6 month lease. If a tenant asks for anything less than 6 months, walk away. You don’t want to go through all of the hard work now, just to go through the entire renting process again in 3 months’ time.
- Do you have a rental guarantor?
This is always helpful to have as an added security blanket. In the unlikely event that anything does go amiss with a tenant’s payment then you always have a back up to ensure you are not left being owed money.
- Do you have any questions?
This sets a positive precedence for the entire owner/occupier relationship. This also gives the potential tenant the chance to uncover any reasons that may deem the property unsuitable for them.
Alternatively you could leave all the above to us. With our Bespoke fully managed package we can take care of the above for you. Simply get in touch or register your email address with us for a call back.