Being a landlord is hardly an easy job. Far from simply buying a property and then expecting it to print money for you, becoming a landlord requires a clear knowledge of, and careful adherence to, local property laws regarding maintenance and the treatment of tenants.
A large part of being a successful landlord is choosing the right tenants for your property. Not everyone who applies to rent from you will make an ideal tenant, but how do you tell the best from the worst?
If you are planning to buy property management services from a local estate agent, you can usually count on them to find tenants on your behalf. However, it is still important to ask what kind of checks they do, if any. There are plenty of horror stories of agencies who failed to look beyond a tenant’s ability to simply pay rent, resulting in noisy nights, property damage or even legal consequences.
Before going forward, be sure to keep in mind that it is illegal to discriminate against potential tenants on grounds of race, age, gender or disability.
A good tenant does more than just pay rent on time (though many don’t even manage to do this with any consistency). They will also clean the property regularly, report any repair or maintenance issues and avoid causing any kind of trouble with their neighbours. The ideal tenant will fulfil all of these obligations while also being able to comfortably provide you with the necessary documentation and references to give you complete peace of mind.
So, exactly what should be on your checklist when interviewing or screening potential new tenants?
Once a tenant has satisfied all of the above, it is worth asking one final question: do they have anything to ask you? This can be a great way to establish a rapport and it can even give you a better idea of how experienced and responsible a tenant they would be.
In particular, be prepared to answer questions on: