April 30, 2015

12 Ways to Avoid a Bad Tenant

This post was written by: Francesca Shaw

avoid-a-bad-tenant legal blog banner

We’ve all heard the horror stories. Your freshly turfed back lawn decommissioned into a canine rodeo, or perhaps your three bedroom in Hounslow re-decorated to be a 24/7 halogen green house.

Many Landlords have been unfortunate to suffer the fate of the bad tenant, leaving what seemed like a viable and good source of income into an inescapable debt and years of stress.

Yet there are preventative measures to make sure you find the right tenant who will care for your property, pay on time and cause you little hassle.

So how can  you avoid a bad tenant?

 1: Collect all their contact details and maybe even the details of immediate family.

Verify these details, this may sound common sense, but many do not. You’ll want to be able to track them down or their family, if they decide to disappear.

2: Make sure their Identification is thoroughly checked.

Collect their forms of relevant identification, ensure it is valid and retain a copy.

3: Conduct credit checks and references, from Employers, Banks or Suppliers.

Make sure your perspective tenant is able to pay their bills on time, a credit check from the bank or an employer will clear this up. If they’re self-employed check their suppliers that they may have credit on.

4: Sign a guarantor for rent arrears.

This can especially be important for students or first timers, using their parents or immediate family can ensure that you’re not out of pocket on unpaid debt.

5: Obtain a good deposit and protect it in a government scheme.

Obtaining a deposit from the tenant, needs to be given to a government backed tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) who will hold the deposit. More info here

6: Interview your potential tenant.

Having a lengthy and perhaps intrusive list of questions can really determine what sort of person you’ll have living in your property. It’s worth finding out about habits such as smoking, or whether they keep pets.

7: Find out more about their work.

We spend most of our lives at work and it is what defines us. So finding more about them in the workplace can shine light on the person. Contact their boss, or their recent customers.

8: Don’t always rely on your intuition.

Just because the tenant has a nice smile or made you laugh, doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll care for your property. Make sure the more important aspects are ticked off, before you let your sixth sense do the talking.

9: Ask for the rent in advance.

Add a little more security against the tenant that’ll be moving into your house, you’ll also gauge if they’ll have issues with paying if problems arrive even at this crucial point.

10: Collect thorough photographs of the property.

If any issues arise and the tenant claims that “It was already like that” you’ll know it wasn’t with photographic evidence.

11: Write up a list of all furniture you have left in the building.

Make sure nothing goes missing, it would even be worth noting down the value of each piece in case damages occur.

12: Have a written tenancy agreement.

This is one of the most crucial steps, a written agreement can’t always stop issues, but it puts in place preventative measures to make sure you’re safe. This will protect you from any future issues that could arrive with your tenant.

If you’re in need of a thorough tenancy agreement Aston Bond has extensive knowledge and experience in the area and will be happy to help you write one up. For more information call us on 01753 486 777