As a landlord you dream of finding the perfect tenant – one who’ll pay all the bills on time (including the rent), keep the apartment/house clean, inform you immediately of any maintenance issues and basically treat your property as if it’s their own. Even better, how about someone who loves where they’re living so much they sign up year after year?
Well, it’s not as much of a pipe dream as you think. In fact, it’s very possible. All it needs is some proper vetting beforehand, together with the knowledge of how to market your property so that you’ll target the right audience for you every time.
Marketing your property
Presumably you’ve thought about who your ideal tenants will be beforehand ie students, a young professional couple or a family etc. If so, advertise in a location where they are likely to look. That could be via an estate agent in the area, a flyer in a local newsagent’s window/upmarket, trendy café, or on a community website. Or all of them. Just try and picture the lifestyle of your potential tenant and where they would be likely to see the advert.
- If it’s young professionals you’d like as tenants then it might be an idea to think about a corporate let, especially if you live in a city where large business organisations are based. This way you would be guaranteed an income for at least one year initially.
- For students, contact the college or university in your area and ask to be put on the Accommodations Register. This will involve quite a bit of vetting on their behalf but you’ll be assured of at least nine months rent (just make sure you get a parent as guarantor).
- Families (who will look online and in local estate agent windows) are a good bet in the sense that they tend to stay for longer in a property, especially if they have children as they’ll want continuation with schooling. But do be prepared for lots of maintenance issues (in fact, set up a fund especially for this).
Vetting your tenants
Credit checks are essential (except in the case of students who probably won’t have one, hence the guarantor). These can be done via an agency or by yourself. Confirmation from the prospective tenant’s current employer is essential, so too is the go-ahead from their bank. This allows you to check all paperwork provided in the tenancy application is in order. If they’ve rented before also ask for a reference from the most recent landlord.
You should already have an idea of what the individual is like from showing them around your property, but definitely don’t go by gut instinct alone (it doesn’t stand up in court). Having said that, if you don’t feel you click with the individual then there’s no point going ahead as you’ll be having dealings with them over the course of their tenancy.
Prior to signing the tenancy agreement for your property ensure you receive a deposit of one month’s rent together with the first rent instalment.
Keeping that perfect tenant
Now that all your diligence has paid off and you have indeed found the perfect tenant, how do you keep them? Well, put yourself in their position. Would you like the landlord coming round every few weeks to do an inspection or turning up unexpectedly to ‘check they’re ok since he/she was passing’?
If the tenant reports a maintenance issue – however small – get on to it right away to show you respect and appreciate their concern (it may be a more serious issue next time, after all).
And finally, leaving some flowers/wine or a ‘New Home’ card in the property prior to your tenant moving in is a nice touch and will make them warm towards you. Why, you in turn make even become the perfect landlord!