10 questions landlords need to ask a prospective tenant

10 Most important questions you need to ask any prospective tenant before letting a property.

1. Can the tenant provide a copy of a passport?

It is essential to identify your tenant for legal reasons. Always keep a copy of I.D documents for your tenant in the file. You must check that a tenant or lodger can legally rent your property. You should make a good quality photograph; for passports, copy every page

2. Can the tenant provide a guarantor?

When things go wrong, and your tenant has turned bad, it is crucial to have a guarantor to call on. It is vital to request a guarantor, who owns their own property. Ensure, you carry out a credit check, on the guarantor too.

If the guarantor has their own property, check by carrying out a land registry search to make sure they are the owner, as claimed.

A guarantor is someone who agrees to pay the rent if the tenant defaults. A guarantor can be for example a parent or close relative.

3. Can the tenant provide three months payslip?

It is vital to check the tenant can afford to pay the rent. Request pay slips and or bank statements. Check the documents carefully to see if they seem genuine.

4. Can the tenant provide their social media profiles?

Letting agents some times check prospective tenant’s social media accounts as part of their vetting process. You can check the tenant’s social media profile(s) by checking; this might through up a red flag.

5. Can the tenant pay the deposit and the first month’s rent?

Sometimes a tenant may not have the money required to move in. When it comes to signing the tenancy and paying the money you may end up the tenant is coming up with excuses, why part of the money is not to hand. Ask the tenant if they have the money to move in.

6. Can the tenant provide you with employment references?

Obtain references from the tenant’s employer. You should request information from an employer like how long they have been employed. Obtain previous landlord reference and contact the landlord, if possible, speak to the tenant’s former landlord.

7. Is the tenant employed or in any probation period?

These questions are essential to ensure your tenant can service the tenancy in the future. Employment must be on a permanent basis. You may have a problem if the tenant has just started a new job, and are still in your probationary period.

8. Has the tenant been evicted before?

A tenant is very rarely going to tell a landlord they have been evicted or is due to be evicted. If you have been provided, with previous landlords contact details. It would help if you were on guard; in rare cases, the landlord has found out the ex-landlord pretending to be the landlord was not the landlord.

Taking on a tenant that has just been evicted in some cases can be a nightmare scenario for landlords.

9. Does the tenant have any pets or intent to get one?

A tenant may not disclose they have pets, ask the tenant if they intend to get any?

If you do not want pets, then ensure you ask the tenant if they have pets or not. Write in the tenancy no pets permitted.

10. How many people will be living on the property?

Too many people living in the property will cause all sorts of problems: excessive condensation, faster deterioration of fixture and fittings, including flooring. Landlords need to be aware of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act and the legal obligations under an HMO.

In the tenancy, list the occupants, who are going to reside in the property, other than the named tenants. Also, state the maximum number of permitted persons who can live in the let property. Listing the occupants will limit any contention in the future.

Author: Marc Attwater

Date: 1st of March 2020

Source: British Landlords Association

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